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Association News
Assembly Tackles Diverse Agenda at N.Y. Meeting
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 11 page 25-25

While the focus of the Assembly's meeting was on issues related to health care economics and the Assembly's functioning and role in APA, the representatives did take on a major clinical issue. They voted overwhelmingly to urge APA to drop the multiaxial system in the next revision of DSM.

Introduced by Roger Peele, M.D., the Area 3 representative on the APA Board of Trustees, the proposal notes, "Over the last two decades, the multiaxial system has not caught on. Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurances, except under carveout circumstances, don't expect multiaxial diagnosing." In addition, Peele emphasized, "There is no evidence that most practitioners make use of it when they are free not to."

The Assembly voted to remove the multiaxial system from the diagnostic manual unless "clear evidence" emerges that the system has benefited patients with mental illness. The Assembly referred the issue to the Committee on Psychiatric Diagnosis and Assessment, a component of the APA Council on Research.

On the health care economics front, the Assembly voted to urge the APA Board to adopt a position statement emphasizing that the federal government should earmark the same percentage of the health care budget for mental illness and substance abuse services as the percentage it annually devotes to providing services to patients with other types of illnesses.

Introduced by Area 1 Deputy Representative Jeffrey Geller, M.D., the action paper noted that the government's funding priorities have for years shortchanged mental health services, and with states cutting their mental health budgets in recent years, services are further threatened.

The Assembly also voted to ask the representative from each of APA's seven Areas to identify a psychiatrist in each district branch within the Area who would represent that state on an APA Medicaid Advisory Group.

On other proposals, the Assembly voted toFIG1

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is the recipient of a Speaker's Award from Assembly Speaker Prakash Desai, M.D. Behind Maloney are (from left) Assembly Speaker-elect James Nininger, M.D., New York County Representative Herbert Peyser, M.D., and Desai. Nininger and Peyser are constituents of Maloney, who was honored for her advocacy in Congress on mental health issues such as parity, confidentiality, and patients' rights. Maloney said there "must be full parity at the federal level," adding that the Bush administration just provides "lip service" to the need for parity legislation without following through with serious support. 

The draft summary of the Assembly's actions is posted in the" Members Corner" section of APA's Web site at<www.psych.org/members/index.cfm> under "Assembly."

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is the recipient of a Speaker's Award from Assembly Speaker Prakash Desai, M.D. Behind Maloney are (from left) Assembly Speaker-elect James Nininger, M.D., New York County Representative Herbert Peyser, M.D., and Desai. Nininger and Peyser are constituents of Maloney, who was honored for her advocacy in Congress on mental health issues such as parity, confidentiality, and patients' rights. Maloney said there "must be full parity at the federal level," adding that the Bush administration just provides "lip service" to the need for parity legislation without following through with serious support. 

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