Steve Brasington, M.D. (top right), president of the Psychiatric Society of
Virginia, and Eric Steckler, M.D., president of the Northern Virginia Chapter
of the Washington Psychiatric Society, address the Board last month as part of
a program in which district branch officers discuss local issues with APA
Trustees (see Board Address Combat Care in Veterans).FIG1
Brasington, who is director of mental health at Portsmouth Naval Base
Hospital, urged APA to educate nonmilitary psychiatrists about the unique
needs of veterans, particularly those who have served in combat, and about the
culture of the military. He also said that members of his district branch want
APA's advocacy efforts to convince the government to shift its health care
emphasis from cost to quality of care. He emphasized as well that after the
massacre at Virginia Tech, he and many other district branch members are
concerned about the easy availability of guns.
Steckler called on APA to devote more of its programs to addressing the
needs of psychiatrists in private practice, including reviving the
private-practice caucus, and urged the Board to take steps to combat insurers'
increasing demands for preauthorization for psychiatric care. He also said
that "APA needs to find ways to accommodate and encourage more dialogue
among competing interests in APA."