MELINDA L. YOUNG, MD, DLFAPA CANDIDATE, 2019 AREA 6 (CALIFORNIA) TRUSTEE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
Being an effective Area 6 Trustee is like being a good cook - it takes more than following a recipe.
I know what members want and need from their membership in the APA. From long experience - with District Branches, State Associations, and the APA itself - I know how to get it done, either through existing channels or, when necessary, by effectively challenging the system.
I am a tireless advocate for members. I'm not afraid of taking a controversial stand in my advocacy for members.
My Priorities, on your behalf, as Area 6 (California) Trustee -
Real parity for psychiatric medicine: Psychiatry, psychotherapy, and physiologic interventions and management are medical interventions involving the brain, the mind and the body, requiring years of specialized medical and psychiatric training. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (the federal parity law) passed in 2008. Regulations to apply the law were promulgated in 2013. And yet we still don't have real and meaningful parity for psychiatric services compared to medical/surgical services.
APA must proactively establish appropriate requirements for coverage and reimbursement for psychiatric services, becoming the go-to source of parity information for legislators, regulators, the courts and the insurance industry.
APA, working with District Branches and State Associations, must continue to actively challenge parity violations of covered care and reimbursements through legislation, regulation (as it is doing with ongoing comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [CMS]), and legal action (as it has done with the Anthem Blue Cross suit in Connecticut).
Effective advocacy for psychiatric practice
APA must enhance its active advocacy with national legislative, regulatory, and judicial bodies, and in the court of public opinion.
APA must provide training for members in effective advocacy and public affairs skills to take the message home to our District Branches and State Associations.
Support for psychiatrists entering integrated care delivery systems
APA must provide and support effective training (during both residency and later practice) in general medical skills and effective leadership skills for leading integrated care delivery teams.
APA must effectively use its grant from CMS to participate in the Transforming Clinical Practices initiative, training psychiatrist members in the clinical and leadership skills needed to support primary care practices that are implementing integrated behavioral health programs.
Effective work with organizations that regulate our practice of psychiatric medicine:
Maintenance of Certification (MOC): Lifelong learning is of value; how the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology handles recertification isn’t. APA must work diligently with ABPN, developing relevant MOC requirements proven to be of value to physicians.
If recertification exams are necessary, ABPN must develop an ongoing process of recertification exams, relevant to a psychiatrist's actual practice, instead of the current single, expensive, high-stakes exam given every 10 years.
If recertification exams are necessary, ABPN must develop a single recertification exam for general psychiatrists and a single recertification exam for subspecialists, with the subspecialty exam integrating common sense general psychiatry knowledge with subspecialty knowledge rather than requiring that subspecialists take two separate exams.
APA must develop easily accessible products for members' recertification needs, relevant to each psychiatrist's practice, either through coordination between ABPN and large psychiatric care systems or straightforward materials, free of charge to members, through APA.
Broad range, readily available CME, both online through APA's new Learning Management System and through face-to-face meetings, deeply discounted to members.
Maintenance of Licensure (MOL): As the Federation of State Medical Boards moves toward requiring maintenance of licensure in each state, APA must work closely with AMA to engage the process.
Recruitment, engagement and retention of our diverse membership, with focus on Resident-Fellow Members, Early Career Psychiatrists and members of Minority and Under-Represented groups. Our strength is in our diversity.
APA must engage and mentor a diverse cross-section of young people considering the practice of medicine and psychiatry.
APA, working with other medical associations, must creatively address the outrageous expense of medical training that deters some of our brightest and most compassionate young people.
Individualized and robust support for District Branches and State Associations.
APA must continue its renewed State Legislative Advocacy Conference, annually training members from all states in effective state-based advocacy skills.
APA must consider re-instituting the Public Affairs training program, previously paired with the Federal Legislative or State Legislative Advocacy Conferences.
APA must continue to address all federal scope of practice battles and fully support all DB/SAs in all state scope of practice battles.
APA must recognize, acknowledge and support differing District Branch and State Association needs.
I welcome your comments and your concerns. Please feel free to contact me.