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Petition for Reinstatement of AOTA Board Certification in Mental Health

May 29, 2024 | Advocacy, Call to Action

Dear Idaho OT Practitioners and Students,

The Idaho OT Association has been participating in the AOTA Mental Health Special Interest Section Consortium, to support increased inclusion of the profession of occupational therapy in mental and behavioral health services in our state and nation wide, problem-solving additional ways we can make this happen for advocacy and action.

One way that has been discussed is showcasing our value in mental/behavioral health treatment via re-instituting through AOTA the Mental Health Board Certification, to demonstrate to organizations and third party payers that we have the training to be recognized and reimbursed for OT services addressing mental/behavioral health diagnoses.

Please read the following message for further background information, with the link to sign a petition for reinstatement of the AOTA Mental Health Board Certification included.

As many of you are aware, the AOTA MHSIS launched a nationwide survey at the end of 2023 to gather data related to interest in reinstating the board certification in mental health (BCMH). The committee collected nearly 1,000 responses and nearly 80% of respondents indicated they would be ‘somewhat likely’ or ‘very likely’ to pursue the BCMH if reinstated. Additionally, almost 50% indicated they would be willing to assist with exam preparation (board certifications are now exam-based). The MHSIS subsequently sent a letter to the AOTA Board of Directors (BoD) in January of this year outlining the rationale for reinstatement along with the results of the survey. We requested a formal response. The MHSIS fully acknowledges that BCMH Is not a panacea for all of the challenges that OTPs working in dedicated MH paces face. For many, however, it will provide greater access to these spaces and greater access means more people and communities will benefit from occupational therapy services.

BCMH reinstatement was tabled at the first board meeting following the submission of the MHSIS letter due to more pressing issues. It was discussed at the most recent April board meeting. The MHSIS was not provided with a formal response but rather a copy of the April board meeting minutes which stated, “Cost of reinstating this would be more than potential participants. No action from BOD at this time.” The AOTA MHSIS has since responded and again requested a formal response. In this latest response, the MHSIS also made the BoD aware that we would be initiating a national petition for reinstatement of the BCMH. We are currently awaiting their response. A link to the aforementioned petition is below. If you are in support of the BCMH, we invite you to sign the petition and share it widely via your networks. Thank you.

1) You do not need to be a member of AOTA to sign this petition
2) You do not need to work in a dedicated mental health setting to sign this petition
3) You do need to be an occupational therapy practitioner or occupational therapy student to sign this petition

With gratitude for the OT community,