Summer 2017 Issue


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APA District Branch Report

Psychiatric Society of Virginia District Branch Report to the Area V Council Meeting
American Psychiatric Association
May 19-21, 2017

John P. D. Shemo, MD, DLFAPA
PSV Representative to the APA Assembly

Varun Choudhary, Adam Kaul and I attended the 86th meeting of the APA Assembly held in San Diego on May 19-21, 2017.  I also attended the meeting of the APA Practice Guidelines Steering Committee on May 22 where I served as Chair of the Assembly Liaisons.

As is our usual practice, we did have reports from persons in APA leadership positions.  Saul Levin, MD, our CEO and Medical Director, discussed issues related to the APA being very “alert” to maintenance of certification issues, including their expense and time demands. He also discussed the position of the APA that mental health must be an essential health benefit under any version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). He pointed out that with approximately 37,000 members, the APA is at a historical high in membership. Psychiatry is now the third largest specialty in the American Medical Association.

Anita Everett, MD, our rising President, also addressed the Assembly. I have known Anita since her years of medical education and am so impressed with her development as an eloquent and thoughtful advocate for our patients and our profession. 

As is the central role of the Assembly, we reviewed numerous position statements and action papers which I will try to briefly summarize:

Mountainside SoftwareThe first “therefore” in this paper presented a plan to deal with this situation if it were to recur and to open the door for the reestablishment of a viable member driven referendum process. I will note that this plan retained the requirement that a vote of 40 percent of the eligible voters would still be required to pass a referendum. I am certainly not looking for the development of a process to allow “minority mandates” to occur. Ironically, this very phenomena may now occur in our officer elections due to, as noted above, at times, there is less than a 20 percent voter turnout. A second “therefore” in the paper requested that if the Board of Trustees for a fifth time does not act on this Assembly-passed paper, that they prepare an alternative option for reinstituting a viable referendum process to be presented to the Assembly at our next meeting. An amendment was added to this second “therefore” requiring that Assembly liaisons be appointed to sit with the Board to address this issue. It will be interesting to see if, despite the (again) overwhelmingly positive vote of the Assembly in favor of this paper, the appointed Assembly members turn out to be those who, in fact, oppose the paper. This concern is based on the stipulation that the Assembly members who are to sit with the Board of Trustees will be selected by members of the Board of Trustees. It was my observation that those limited number of Assembly members who have opposed this paper tend to be those positioning themselves for eventual roles on the Board of Trustees.

A number of APA Position Statements were retained, revised, or retired.  Some of interest include:

Obviously, I could have written an essay on the intricacies of each of these actions of the Assembly, but I hope this outline supports the recognition that the APA Assembly is committed to providing support for the work of our members and the well being of our patients.

As always, Adam,Varun and I are committed to bringing your concerns to the attention of the APA Assembly and the Board of Trustees. If you have observations or concerns which you feel need to be addressed, please contact us.

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