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,
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
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
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."