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By: Mary Mavromatis, MD

As I discussed last month, we have had many changes to adapt to in the last few months and even more to come in the next few months. We have, of course, switched over to the new CPT codes, but there are numerous reports of insurance companies that have denied patient claims despite the coding changes put in place to insure parity. The New York State Psychiatric Association (NYSPA) has joined a class action suit against United Health Group for alleged violations (such as limiting outpatient psychotherapy for patients who were suicidal!). The APA is also investigating abusive and illegal practices and is requesting its members to document any abuse or failure on the part of insurance companies in providing appropriate reimbursement to patients or physicians. At the end of this letter you will find directions and a website for reporting and documenting your experiences (even if they are positive). I encourage you to do so. We will also receive more instruction and updates on the new CPT coding from Seth Stein at our dinner meeting on April 19th. Mr. Stein will also take questions on other medico-legal issues that have been of immediate concern to our members such as the NY SAFE Act and how it affects us.

The major upcoming change is of course the introduction of the DSM V at the APA meeting.  APA is sponsoring 2 of our branch members, Dr. Nigel Bark and Dr. Russell Tobe (our president-elect), to take a course in DSM V designed to train them to return to our membership and train us. By the way, if you receive any solicitations for courses that will be given before the official debut of the DSM V at the APA meeting, the APA asks that you notify them about this.  We are hoping to bring this information and training to our membership as an additional educational program, hopefully sometime in June. We are exploring whether this could be done as a lunch program(s) for those of you who are unable to attend our dinner meetings. We are also exploring whether there would be any interest in presenting this program in a location other than Rockland County. Please let us know if there is any interest out there!

I am very pleased to announce recent honors awarded to our members. Congratulations to Dr. Richard Brand on his advancement to Life Member status, Dr. Mukesh Jhaveri on attaining Life Fellow status, and Dr. Lawrence Levitt on being entered on a special list of 50 Year Distinguished Life Fellows and Life Members! Dr. Jhaveri and Dr. Levitt will be honored at the 2013 Convocation of Distinguished Fellows at the APA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Saturday, May 18th.

This will be my last letter to the membership as WHPS president. My term will be officially up at the start of the APA meeting in San Francisco. Our new nominated president, Dr. Russell Tobe, will be officially elected at our dinner meeting on April 19th and will represent us at the APA meeting as district branch president. I am very excited about his leading our branch for the next term. I will be introducing him at the dinner meeting and also in our next issue of esynapse.  I feel it has been a privilege and a pleasure serving our membership over the last 2 years. It was more personally rewarding than I could have imagined. It has given me the opportunity to form friendships and relationships that I hope to continue. We are fortunate to have so many bright, talented, innovative, dedicated, and forward thinking members on our executive board. My special thanks to them for having made my job so easy-Dom Ferro, Lois, Kroplick, Jim Flax, Raj Mehta, Nigel Bark, Russ Tobe, Marc Tarle, Jane Kelman, Mona Begum, and last but certainly not least, Liz Burnich, our executive director. My thanks also to past members of the board-Diane DiGiacomo and Susan Hoerter-who pitched in to help when it was needed.

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