The American Psychiatric Association’s Assembly convened just prior to the APA’s annual meeting in Toronto on May 15th -17th. The spring meeting is the busiest and most political of the meetings. I represented the IPS as your representative, Dr. Bob Smith was the deputy rep this year, Dr. Dave attended as Area IV’s deputy rep and Dr. Francis Sanchez attended as Area IV’s minority representative.
There has been a great deal of discussion about how to best reorganize the APA to ensure representation that is fair to both densely populated areas and rural areas who have very low numbers of psychiatrists but who must be prepared to tackle difficult political agendas. The Assembly voted to approve the proposed reorganization, which will change Iowa’s representation by allowing us two representatives and doing away with our deputy representative. This is an excellent result for us because it will enable us to send two representatives to both the fall and the spring meetings and allow us to be represented in two different reference committees. It is important to have as many voices as possible on reference committees because just as in most legislative bodies it’s the committees that do the work and make the decisions that guide the body as a whole.
Two Midwestern (Area IV) states have passed legislation to encourage tele-psychiatry and Iowa and several other states are considering similar legislation. The APA is very much in support of this as a solution to the ever present access to care crisis that perpetuates the scope of practice battles occurring in states across the US.
On Sunday morning Dr. Lois Margaret Nora, M.D. President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Board of Medical Specialists spoke to the Assembly. Dr. Nora is a neurologist and so is also boarded by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She spoke to the controversies of part four of the Maintenance of Certification requirements. She explained how the ABNP was striving to make this part of MOC more meaningful and flexible for all physicians especially psychiatrists. She was articulate and intelligent and approachable. If part four of the MOC still chafes a bit I would encourage you to read her responses to the questions posed to her during the Assembly.
This is my final “Your Voice” column, as I will be moving to Minneapolis in July. I hope to leave this fledgling tradition as a legacy to my brief time as your APA representative. I wish you all the very best, Laura Van Cleve