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Ann Marie Sullivan, MD

Critical Issues for APA

Each of us, as a psychiatrist, is facing major changes: in everyday practice, in the systems of healthcare reform, in maintenance of certification, in reimbursement methods, in new models of integrated care, in the growth of electronic records, to name only a few.  The APA needs to be the association that we as members go to in order to understand, manage and grow with these changes.

The APA must be proactive in its support of members. A few specific and effective measures will help make the APA more relevant and supportive.
  1. APA has already made performance in practice modules at no charge to members and  should expand to provide all the requirements of MOC to members at no charge as a member benefit.   Members could then see the APA as their support throughout their careers to ensure that they remain current, up to date and certified in their specialty.   At the same time the APA needs to continue to strongly advocate for sensible requirements for MOC  that are useful  for psychiatrists and our patients.

  2. Our members need to be connected to their organization with meaningful, regular communication that includes their voice as well as information.  Electronic methods are now available for real dialogue between members and governance and staff and need to be available now.  Focus groups and local surveys need to be done regularly to get members needs known and to know what services are critical to them.  Communication needs to be individualized and tailored to the needs of specific groups such as ECP, MITs, practice groups and identity groups.

  3. The APA has a long and rich history in advocating at the national and state level for psychiatrists and their patients.  Parity legislation was such a victory.   It now becomes increasingly important that APA increase efforts at the state level as insurance exchanges and parity battles become more local, and as Medicaid cuts to state mental health funding grow.  Psychiatrists need APA support and expertise, and to be taught the necessary skills to be effective in their advocacy.  More active support needs to be available and effective at the local level.

  4. APA needs to support its state associations and chapters so that they can become an active link to members.  The Assembly needs to be more effective in making such connections and the APA needs to work in partnership with state associations, particularly in small states with limited membership, to assist members with the changes in health care reform.  With the DSM5 and practice guidelines the APA sets the mark for diagnosis and treatment, while local branches can become the focus of learning for members.  APA needs to provide guidance and support directly to members on electronic records, new coding changes, changes in practice arrangements and payment for their services. Such education and support needs to be timely and accessible.
As an officer of the APA I would work to bring these and other initiatives forward.  My experience in the APA as Speaker of the Assembly, Area 2 Trustee to the Board and partici pation in numerous committees including Budget, Conflict of Interest, JRC and a membership task force ,etc.  has given me a wide knowledge of the successes, issues and the potential  of the APA .  I have extensive administrative experience form my day job as a public sector healthcare administrator who works daily with the pressures facing practicing clinicians and our patients.  The APA is first of all a member organization that provides services for our members and advocates for our members and our patients.  In these changing times being relevant and timely in providing the services needed for our members is critical.
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