Association News
APA Board Finds TSPP Noncompliant
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 16 page 9-9

At its July meeting, the APA Board of Trustees determined that APA's Texas district branch, the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians (TSPP), has violated the APA policy of requiring membership in both a district branch and the national organization by supporting and promoting an organization that is in direct competition with both TSPP and APA and is therefore out of compliance with APA policies. The determination came after extensive negotiation between APA and TSPP.

At the October 2004 Board meeting, at the invitation of then-APA President Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., current and former TSPP officers explained the details of and answered questions about the controversial establishment of two new psychiatric organizations in the state: the Federation of Texas Psychiatry and the Texas Academy of Psychiatry (Psychiatric News, November 19, 2004).

TSPP officers stated that the federation is an umbrella body whose members are psychiatric and mental health organizations and other medical organizations in the state. The academy—one of the federation's members—is an organization for psychiatrists who do not belong to TSPP, which as a district branch requires dual membership in the branch and in the national APA.

APA officials said at the time that TSPP's relationships with and support of competing organizations appeared to violate APA's longstanding dual-membership requirement. By its most recent action, the Board has determined that TSPP is, in fact, out of compliance with established APA policy.

In a letter sent to APA members in Texas after the Board meeting, APA President Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D., and President-elect Pedro Ruiz, M.D., assured them that the status of their APA membership and benefits will remain unchanged. "Despite serious differences between APA and TSPP leadership which could result in changing the relationship between the organizations," they wrote, "we want to assure you that APA... will continue to provide the benefits and services that support your professional development and patient care."

They pointed out that in addition to the many benefits that individual members receive—access to free and discounted CME programs and the Managed Care Help Line, as well as such periodicals as the American Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric News—APA provides much support to district branches and state associations. For example, APA provides grants to DBs/SAs for advocacy work, which have totaled almost $1.4 million since 2000, including $110,000 for TSPP.

"APA is committed to preserving both its strong partnership with its district branches and the dual-membership requirement," Sharfstein and Ruiz stated in their letter. "We remain hopeful that TSPP's leadership will change its position and modify its current relationships to conform to established APA policies."

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