In a visible acknowledgement of clinical psychological science, the US House of Representatives has asked the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to facilitate the recognition of the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). In 2012, PCSAS received recognition and accreditation authority from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to provide accreditation of PhD programs in psychological clinical science. The VHA is in the process of modifying its regulations to permit graduates of PCSAS-accredited programs to train and be employed within the Veteran Administration’s (VA) healthcare system.
In a report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, the VHA was urged by the House Committee on Appropriations to officially acknowledge and disseminate the regulatory changes to increase the number of PCSAS mental health clinicians available to veterans using the VA healthcare system. Students from PCSAS-accredited programs would be eligible for VA internships, and graduates from such programs would be eligible to be hired as VA psychologists.
PCSAS was created to strengthen science-centered education and training in clinical psychology and behavioral health. Richard McFall, PCSAS’s executive director, began an outreach campaign back in 2008 to receive federal recognition and support of PCSAS, and financial development for implementing the system. PCSAS leaders have met with top administrators at key government science agencies in the areas of mental and behavioral healthcare and research, including the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; they have also met with a number of Congressional offices to promote the accreditation system. APS Executive Director Alan Kraut says that it’s unusual for Congress to name an outside organization in its Congressional reports, and highlights that this is great progress.
“It’s good for public health, our nation’s veterans, and psychological science,” he said.
Kraut added that as the VHA continues to evaluate PCSAS, APS will seek to add its recommendations to that evaluation.