Access to Psychologists & the Impending Psychological Pandemic
PAA is continuously advocates for easier access to services that psychologists offer. The PAA Position statements: ” The services of psychologists for the assessment & treatment of mental health problems and disorders of Albertans should be covered under Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan” and “All Albertans regardless of income should have access to psychological services” were the guide for the letter attached here.
PAA CEO Dr. Judi L. Malone together with CAP CEO Dr. Richard Spelliscy approached The health minister of Alberta, The associate minister of health, and the Deputy Minister of Alberta health to share the findings of a public opinion poll that took place last fall. Nanos research findings demonstrate that Albertans want improved access to psychological services. The current Pandemic has amplified this need significantly.
The key Alberta specific findings are summarised here:
Barriers to Accessing Care from a Psychologist
- 80% of Albertans report that they cannot afford to pay for psychological services themselves
- 69% of Albertans say that’s because psychologists aren’t covered by the AHCIP
- 43% of Albertans report unreasonable wait times psychologists in the public health system
- 65% of Albertans say that’s because psychologists aren’t covered by their employee benefit plan
- 62% of Albertans say wait times to see a psychologist are too long
Additional COVID-19 Barriers
57% of Albertans (and 56% of Canadians) report that COVID-19 has had a negative or somewhat negative impact on their ability to access mental health care by psychologists. Nationally, when psychological care was accessed during COVID-19 47% report it was provided through private insurance, 26% from the public health system and 26% paid out-of-pocket.
Improving Access to Care
86% of Albertans (88% of Canadians) support or somewhat support improving access to psychologists through the publicly funded health care system.
84% of Albertans (83% of Canadians) say psychologists working collaboratively with other health professionals, such as a family physician in primary care teams, is a very good idea or a good idea.
77% of Albertans (76% of Canadians) think that better access (more funded psychological access) through their employer, a health benefit plan is a very good or good idea