Council of Representatives

The Council of Representatives reaffirm its 2004 policy statement in support of civil marriage for same-sex couples, maintaining current membership dues, increased APA publishing revenues, the presentation of the 2010 Raymond D. Fowler Award, and two pending lawsuits against APA

By Lorraine W. Greene, PhD, ABPP

Dr.Walter Penk and I attended the August Council of Representatives (COR) meeting in sunny San Diego. There were several committee reports and council took action on a number of recommendations. The first COR action at this meeting was to reaffirm its 2004 policy statement in support of civil marriage for same-sex couples. President Goodheart talked about why it was important to make the statement here and now and to show the association's unwavering support of marriage equality.

One of the most controversial actions was to approve a proposal to modify the council plan and keep the number of representatives from state, territorial and provincial organizations and APA divisions at 162 while ensuring that each group has at least one vote. It appears that under the current plan there are states that are in danger of not having one representative, while there are Divisions that have multiple seats. Division 18 leadership has consistently asked members to vote 10 for Division 18 to ensure we have at least two council representatives. Since the approval requires changes to the bylaws the approval of the full membership and voting by all APA members will also be required. You should have received your ballots at the time of this newsletter.

The COR also agreed to hold membership dues steady through the end of 2013.

The preliminary budget for 2011 is estimated at $103,193,200 in revenues and $103,311,800 in expenses. This deficit is expected to be corrected prior to the next COR review of the 2011 budget in February. A substantial part of the revenue comes from APA's publishing revenues, and 60% of the publishing revenues is from the sales of licenses to the associations electronic databases. The association's publishing revenue has increased from $45 million in 2000 to $80 million 2010.

A total of seven Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology added or approved are: industrial-organizational psychology, sport psychology, psychopharmacology, personality assessment, professional geropsychology, clinical neuropsychology, and behavioral and cognitive psychology.

Dr. Penk and I had the privilege to witness the presentation of the 2010 Raymond D. Fowler Award for service to the association to 44 year member and former board of director, Dr. Matty Cantor, and to witness Dr. Dorothy Cantor, receive the Presidential Citation for her years of service to the association and leadership of the American Psychological Foundation.

I regret that this was Dr. Penk's last council meeting with his term ending in 2010. He has been a great role model and mentor, but most important, a wonderful representative for Division 18. I will truly miss him. I am also very fortunate to serve with Dr. Dolly Sadow, our newly elected COR. I am looking forward to working with her in 2011.

Other activities following the COR meeting included an announcement by President Goodheart that she has appointed the Good Governance Project team members, chaired by Sandra Shullman and Ronald Rozensky. The group will be working with consultants, Cygnet Strategy, LLC. Over a period of a year, team members will gather information from all "communities of interest and key stakeholders," and then assess what the association may need to insure it's effectiveness in governance. There will be more to come about the team's activities and how Division 18 can contribute to the discussion over the next few months. 

The final section of this report is to keep you informed of two pending lawsuits filed against the APA. Some of you may be aware, that on October 21, 2010 a class action lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia regarding the fees associated with the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO). I am submitting for your review, a statement from APA and APAPO Board of Directors.

Statement of the APA and APAPO Boards of Directors

Practice Assessment Funding Allows for Critical Advocacy Work for Psychology and its Consumers

As some governance members may already know, two lawsuits have been filed against APA and the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) alleging that the Association deliberately misled members with respect to the practice assessment fee. We want to state in the strongest of terms that the allegations in the complaints are false and completely without merit. APA and APAPO have never misled their members into paying dues or assessments.

The APAPO was created to allow for more psychology advocacy activities in broader and more extensive ways than APA can engage in, including advocacy for higher Medicare reimbursement rates and for legislation favorable to psychology practice. Despite the erroneous claims within the lawsuit, the existence of APAPO allows for more advocacy spending for all of psychology and is consistent with APA’s 501c3 (non-profit) status.

The assessment fee was created in 1985 by the APA Council of Representatives as a required special assessment paid by licensed practitioners to fund professional practice advocacy activities. In 2001, the APAPO was created as a 501c6 organization to allow for practice advocacy activities beyond what APA, a 501c3 organization, can do. Payments made under the special assessment, later renamed the practice assessment, were directed to fund the activities of the APAPO.

Currently, APA members who are licensed to provide health care services are billed the practice assessment. These APA members are expected to pay the assessment (most do) and those who do are members of the APAPO and have access to special benefits.

The nine-year history of the APAPO is very much a success story. Advocacy activities in support of professional psychology and consumer access to quality psychological services have greatly increased since the Practice Organization was created. Those achievements include:

  • Helping to pass a federal law ensuring full parity for the evaluation and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

  • Protecting reimbursement rates for psychological services including the restoration of Medicare psychotherapy rates.

  • Pursuit of inclusion of psychologists in the Medicare “physician” definition.

  • Supporting successful lawsuits against abusive managed care practices.

  • Protecting the doctoral degree as the standard for entry into independent practice as a psychologist.

  • Advocating for appropriate roles and scope of practice for psychologists in hospitals and integrated care settings.

  • Creating the health and behavior procedure codes for psychologists’ reimbursement in physical health and integrated care settings.

Practice assessment fees have directly supported these important victories! Based on a 10 year average, 79% of the APAPO budget, i.e. collected assessment fees, was fully dedicated to advocacy and other direct program initiatives.

We are very much aware that the need to represent and advocate for psychology’s interests in the legislative, marketplace, regulatory and judicial arenas continues to exist and must remain a priority for APA and APAPO.

Every member of the 2010 APA and APAPO Boards of Directors has paid the practice assessment at the level appropriate to his or her work pattern, i.e. the number of hours spent in actual health service delivery or supervision. Our collective message is that we very much believe in the legitimacy and value of funding the advocacy work of the APAPO and believe the benefits to professional practice and the patients we serve provide a substantial return on our assessment payments.

  • Carol D. Goodheart, EdD, President

  • Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, President-elect

  • James H. Bray, PhD, Past-president

  • Barry S. Anton, PhD, Recording Secretary

  • Paul L. Craig, PhD, Treasurer

  • Norman B. Anderson, PhD, Executive Vice-President and CEO

  • Rosie Phillips Bingham, PhD

  • Jean A. Carter, PhD

  • Armand R. Cerbone, PhD

  • Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD

  • Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD

  • Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD

  • Rachel N. Casas, PhD, APAGS Representative

I hope this communication is informative. I also hope that you feel free to contact me at anytime, for it is indeed a pleasure to serve as your representative.