Director of Professional Affairs Information

The OPA Board of Directors voted at their March 2017 board meeting to approve the development of a Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) Position.  The DPA will have specific responsibilities related to cultivating and maintaining relationships with the major third party payers that Oregon psychologists interact with.  It is our hope that the DPA can advocate for our profession in a way that ensures our ability to thrive and meet the needs of the communities we work with.  

Interested candidates for the Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) position should send a letter of interest outlining the candidate's qualifications and a curriculum vitae to

Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) Job Description

Job Responsibilities:

  1. To advocate for members by meeting with insurance representatives to discuss fair reimbursement, psychologist value and specific member concerns
  2. To keep members informed of new rules that affect payment for your services
  3. To respond to member concerns about and reimbursement issues
  4. The DPA position reports directly to the OPA Executive Committee of the OPA Board of Directors.
  5. The DPA position will work in collaboration with the OPA Professional Affairs Committee (PAC).

The successful candidate for the position will be a psychologist with clinical practice experience. The psychologist must be licensed in Oregon and a member in good standing with OPA and OBPE.  Experience advocating for the profession of psychology preferred.  This is an independent contractor position that will be renewed on an annual basis.

Expectations and Responsibilities:
Attend OPA Board of Director meetings for scheduled presentation of activities (not expected to attend entire meeting), attend OPA Board of Director’s Annual Board Retreat, attend American Psychological Association Practice Leadership Conference (PLC), and present an annual update at OPA Annual Conference.

Provide the OPA Board of Directors with a summary of activities and issues as follows:

  • Provide a written report to the Board of Directors ahead of each Board of Director’s meeting.
  • Provide an annual report on the past year’s activities to the Board of Directors at the annual board retreat
  • Provide an annual update to the membership at the OPA Annual Conference (complimentary registration)
  • Direct and coordinate PAC efforts in conjunction with the PAC chair and attend meetings as needed.

Develop working relationships with insurance companies, third-party reimbursement management companies, and state regulatory agencies (e.g., Department of Insurance) to protect psychologists’ interest(s).

Direct and coordinate PAC efforts in conjunction with the PAC chair and attend meetings as needed.  Provide OPA membership with information related to third party payers and health companies. This may be in the form of regular articles in the Bulletin, listserv postings, CE workshops, or other means as appropriate.

Other Helpful Activities:

  • Network with other state DPAs, advocacy staff, and APA leadership.
  • Advocate with the Legislative Committee and Regulatory Agencies to make public statements regarding OPA’s interest and relationships to third party payer issues.


Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) FAQs

1.      What will a DPA do that OPA is not already doing?  Why do we need an additional position in OPA?

Answer:  As a paid, part-time, independent contractor with OPA, the DPA will have dedicated time to devote to a variety of important issues related to the practice of psychology.  These include...

a)      Having regular meetings with various insurers throughout the region so OPA can advocate with insurance companies about reimbursement and the value of psychologists' services.

b)      Educating membership in a timely matter regarding insurance/reimbursement themes and how to advocate for pending legislative issues which may impact our profession.

c)      Assimilating information from providers that pertain to insurance, reimbursement, and policy issues as a means to advocate more effectively and efficiently with various insurers, legislators, and other relevant entities.

d)     Working with the OPA President and Legislative Committee to coordinate OPA volunteers and committee/subcommittee members to ensure priority responsiveness to legislative matters.

e)      Coordinating with the American Psychological Association (APA) to advocate at the local, state, regional, and national level, access national and/or APA resources, and collaborate with other states for progress in issues that arise in Oregon.


2.      What are the specific goals for the DPA and what are the anticipated results?


  • Oversee PAC's efforts to provide consultation to OPA members concerning problems with third party reimbursement.
  • Work with members and the OPA lobbyist to bring these issues to the attention of insurers and regulators such as the Insurance Division, in coordination with the lobbyist, and with legislators.
  • Work with insurance companies, managed care and other care management and third party reimbursement programs to protect psychologists' interests.
  • Gather information from APA resources and from other state and provincial psychological associations.  Lead PAC's efforts to actively and regularly distribute information of value to OPA members through a variety of channels.

Anticipated results:  Increase visibility of psychologists in Oregon to ensure adequate reimbursement, representation in decision making conversations that impact psychologists and the communities we work with, increase advocacy efforts aimed at promoting the practice of psychology, and elevate the value of psychological services in the marketplace. 


3.      What strategies will a DPA use to be more successful than OPA or local psychologists in their negotiations with health insurance companies to try to make sure they have adequate representation of psychologists, reduce reductions in reimbursement fees for psychologists, and enhance overall customer satisfaction between health insurance companies and psychologists as providers?

Answer: A psychologist staff person in the role of DPA would develop and maintain long-term relationships with legislators, regulators, and other coalition groups and professional groups.  These relationships need years to develop and often outlast the ability of any one volunteer to sustain the commitment.  In these times of rapid changes in the health care industry, these relationships are crucial.  Long-term advocacy and relationship building with these entities would allow OPA to have a greater influence in issues related to reimbursements and access issues. 


4.      I work for an organization that advocates for me, does my billing, and interacts with the insurance companies.  What will the DPA do for me that my organization is not already doing?

Answer:  One of the goals for any organization is that their providers are sustainable.  In order to advocate for psychologists within an organization, we need to be sure we can educate others about the unique skills we possess so we can advocate for equitable reimbursement.  Our salaries tend to be more than some other clinicians.  If we are not able to explain the value of our services, it will be easier for employers to replace us with lower level clinicians who can be reimbursed at lower rates.  The DPA will also help to make sure that specialty level clinicians have reasonable reimbursement for their work so they are also available when we need to make a referral, particularly for intensive therapy or psychological assessment.


5.      What is the fiscal impact of this type of part time position, and what is the long term strategy for how this position will be funded?

Answer:  OPA does not currently have funds for this position.  Consequently, we are using a recent pledge campaign to help launch this position.  In the long term, we will need to fund this position through a dues increase.


6.      How many other state associations fund a DPA and how have the DPAs been shown to be useful/effective?

Answer:  Approximately 20 states have a DPA position.  DPAs provide the continuity to effectively and efficiently translate members' needs and concerns into action over time.  Elected leaders and governance, during their term in office, work closely with the DPA.  But those leaders are volunteers and a DPA provides a staff role whose primary job is to provide continuity in the staff leadership to implement the advocacy needs of the association.


7.      What does the OPA Board of Directors foresee for Oregon psychologists if we do not hire a DPA?

Answer:  Our concern is that we will not be able to advocate for psychology as a profession adequately.  If this occurs, we worry that we will see more of the concerning trend we are seeing now; reductions in reimbursement rates, lack of psychologists on provider panels, and the absence of psychology's presence in meetings with key organizations such as health insurance companies.