Optum Recognition of the CGP
Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA; Farooq Mohyuddin, MD, CGP, FAGPA; Kathleen Ulman, PhD, CGP, DFAGPA; and Marc Azoulay, MA, LPC, LAC, CGP, Public Affairs Committee Members
The AGPA Public Affairs Committee works to disseminate information about the benefits of group therapy and to insure access to quality group therapy care. As part of this mission, the Committee’s advocacy work includes building relationships with insurers to engage in a dialogue regarding quality of care and issues of reimbursement. As part of this outreach, we are pleased to report that Optum, a division of United Behavioral Health, has approved “Certified Group Psychotherapist” as a specialty in the list of clinical expertise that clinicians can attest to upon joining their network. This action has occurred following the Public Affairs Committee’s outreach to Optum, which included the provision of information on the benefits of group therapy and the need for experienced providers to ensure the quality of services.
In the Optum network, a specialty listing means that the provider has obtained additional training and/or experience to provide the designated services. Providers must attest to and provide documentation of such criteria for it to be added to their provider profile, which will appear when individuals who have Optum as their insurer search for providers.
This is an important step in recognizing our expertise and value, an important point as we want to increase access to high quality in all that we do. We hope to create a strong platform upon which we can advocate for appropriate remuneration for group therapy. (It will not impede in any way, provision of group therapy services by providers who do not have the CGP.)
The specialty will be stated as “Certified Group Psychotherapist,” and it is applicable to group therapists of all disciplines. Group therapists must have certification by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists and need to submit a copy of that certification when they apply to Optum for specialty recognition in their network.
For those applying to be a new provider in Optum’s network who are Certified Group Psychotherapists, applications on Optum’s Provider Express website will include the Certified Group Psychotherapist in the Optum Attested Expertise under Physician and Non-Physician Specialties. Information on joining Optum can be found at: https://www.providerexpress.com/content/ope-provexpr/us/en/our-network.html.
For CGPs who are already contracted in the Optum network, you must update your information in order to have the certification noted in your file. Use the Expertise Attestation form and fax the signature page and the required documentation (a copy of your CGP Certificate) to Network Management so the requested expertise can be added to your profile. If you have questions or difficulty doing this, you can contact your network manager directly (if you know who it is) or call 877-614-0484 for assistance.
This recognition of group as a specialty through Optum joins the recent recognition of group psychology and group psychotherapy as a Specialty Designation through the American Psychological Association as another successful step in AGPA’s work to have group psychotherapy recognized as a valuable and specialized treatment that requires scientific and professional knowledge and skills to deliver a quality service. The recognition of the CGP by Optum as the qualifying credential for the specialty for all disciplines underscores the value of the certification. If you are not yet a CGP and interested in obtaining it, information can be found online at https://www.agpa.org/cgp-certification/how-to-apply or you can contact the AGPA office at 212-477-2677.
We are eager to continue to outreach on behalf of the AGPA members to third party payers and other systems to advocate for the benefits of group therapy and its proper remuneration. Please reach out Diane Feirman, CAE, Public Affairs Senior Director at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have contacts or suggestions for outreach.