Summer 2017 Issue
By Joe Mason, MD, MSW, DFAPA
Joe Mason, MD
Hope everyone is having a good summer. I wanted to update you all on the goings on of PSV as well as nationally in the APA . As you're all aware, we are still locked in an intense struggle to define and pay for a healthcare delivery system and the outcome remains in doubt. So far, the APA has opposed the House bill and, as of this writing, it is likely going to oppose the Senate version as each could lead to millions of insured Americans becoming uninsured. A feature of each is limiting federal contributions towards Medicaid and reducing federal oversight with the possibility for states to decide if they want to exempt themselves from the requirement to provide MH/SA services or pre-existing condition coverage. Though the ACA has many faults, it has allowed 23 million people who were previously uninsured to get covered. We cannot go backwards. Whatever ultimately replaces ACA needs to improve upon what we already have. Please get or stay involved and informed so that we in the medical profession are heard and considered in the ongoing debate.
While we're on the subject of politics, a reminder from the APA that we need to refrain from publicly diagnosing people even though we may be tempted. Not only is it considered inappropriate for ethical reasons, the "Goldwater rule" exists because he was successful in suing for libel, so we put ourselves in a difficult legal position when we exceed the bounds of our practice. We best serve our profession by speaking and acting rationally and thoughtfully when those around us are ranting and raving, so be mindful of the example we set as we are asked to comment on the mental health of public figures.
In keeping with the subject of disruption, stay tuned for our Fall Meeting in Virginia Beach, "Disruption: Managing in a World of Chaos," on October 27-28 at the Virginia Beach Conference Center. We have an excellent lineup of speakers, including Anand Pandurangi, Alison Jackson, Norman "Mike " Camp, Andy Thomson, Varun Choudhary, David Benedek and Sherry Todd. We have tried to arrange a program with a range of talks within the subject matter, including trauma, suicide assessment, resilience and mindfulness. The quality of presenters is outstanding. Please plan to join us at the beach in October.
From John Shemo, Varun Choudhary and Adam Kaul, our Assembly reps, there are updates on many action papers from the most recent Assembly meeting in March. John has had a paper approved by the Assembly for the past five sessions regarding the need to fix the referendum procedure, which currently requires that 40% of eligible voters participate. This figure hasn't been met in many years, so no referenda are ever able to pass. Hopefully, the Board of Trustees will finally take action. Another paper of interest that was passed concerned having APA advocate that healthcare is a "human right" and not a "goal." The words we use are important and this language is better reflective of what we promote and strive for. Thanks to Adam, John and Varun for their dedicated representation of PSV on a national level.
Finally, from a financial standpoint, we are doing well overall and are solvent as an organization, but we will be increasing dues this year for the first time since 2004. We have discussed this at Board meetings for the last several years. I can tell you that this is a frugal group which wants to keep membership high and we have resisted raising dues for quite some time. However, we currently charge less than most similar regional district branches (in several cases, much less), and revenues from industry have declined considerably in recent years. In addition, the semi-annual meetings have not generated as much money as in the past. Dues account for less than half of the society's annual expenses and we operate on a thin margin year to year. As a group that wants to be transparent and accountable in how we manage your money, we are happy to answer questions about the finances of the society, so don't hesitate to ask.
Enjoy your time off and travel safely. See you in the fall.
October 27-28, 2017
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel
& Conference Center
Virginia Beach, Virginia
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
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