Jun 022013

An article titled “APAPO dues assessment draws new lawsuit” By James Bradshaw dated June 2, 2013(https://nationalpsychologist.com/2013/06/apapo-dues-assessment-draws-new-lawsuit/101886.html; obtained 6-2-2013) does appear to support the basic tenets of “Six Part Series : Healthy Change” Commenced in June 2011 in The Hygiology Post ®. The article ended the following way :

“The extra charge for practicing psychologists began in 1985 as a $50 ‘special assessment’ to support greater advocacy on behalf of practitioners. The annual assessment was renamed ‘the practice assessment’ when the APAPO was established in 2001 as a legally separate body with increased latitude for lobbying and has increased substantially since. The lawsuit notes that by 2011, the end of the period in question, the assessment was $140.

The crux of the lawsuit is that APA members were misled to believe for 10 years that paying the assessment was mandatory for practitioners to maintain membership in APA until a joint statement was released by the APA and APAPO boards in 2011 that said while the assessment is necessary for the APAPO to continue its work on behalf of practicing psychologists, no psychologist was ever denied APA membership or terminated from membership for not paying the added costs.

Before that many if not most practitioners believed they had to pay the assessment because it was billed with regular APA dues each year with no disclaimer that paying the assessment was optional.

‘The APA misrepresented to its members that as a part of annual membership renewal there was a ‘mandatory’ assessment, which it then allocated to the APAPO,’ the suit says.

The suit alleges that the system ‘skirted’ federal law that limits lobbying a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, such as the APA, can engage in by funneling those funds to the APAPO, which was organized as a 501(c)(6) with broader lobbying abilities.

An amount ‘exceeding $5 million’ was so allocated over the 10-year period, according to the suit.

In defending against the earlier suit the APA and APAPO contended members were never misled about the nature of the assessment, which has supported increased advocacy on issues such as parity, protecting the doctoral standard and reimbursement rates and supporting legal actions against abusive managed care practices.

Although the two organizations are legally separate, board members of the APA also make up the board of the APAPO. Beginning in 2011 dues notices carried a statement noting that the assessment is not tied to eligibility for APA membership.

The APAPO’s coffers have shrunk as a result of the brouhaha, which began in listserv exchanges in the spring of 2010 when an appeal for more members to pay the assessment revealed for the first time to many practitioner members that the assessment was not mandatory.

General membership in APA also has been plummeting in recent years in part because of the assessment controversy and in part from protests that the APA Council of Representatives did not pass a total ban on psychologists working at terrorist detention facilities after torture tactics were revealed until forced by a membership petition.”

The Hygiology Post ® welcomes feedback from readers as to whether the articles (individually and/or collectively) help fulfill its vision and mission.

Louis DeCola, Jr.                                    © 2013 The Hygiology Post ®