Board Meeting Highlights March 2014

March, 2014

The following notes highlight discussion and action from the March 14-15, 2014, CAMFT Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C.

(Note: The Board of Directors spent March 12-13, 2014 lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on the issues of LMFTs within Medicare and the VA.)

CAMFT Board in DC

2014/2015 Board of Directors Election
Deputy Executive Director, Cathy Atkins* reported on the upcoming Board of Directors election. She discussed the low voter turnout rate that CAMFT (as well as most other Associations) routinely experience, and some of the ways CAMFT is attempting to increase voter turnout for this election. She noted that ballots were mailed on March 3, 2014 and voting Clinical members should receive the mailing no later than March 27, 2014. Visit CAMFT's website to learn more about the candidates .

Executive Report
Ms. Atkins reported on staffing and operations at CAMFT. The Board received reports on The Therapist, continuing education programs, marketing and public relations, and the CAMFT website.

Ms. Atkins discussed CAMFT’s new program providing student members malpractice insurance, free of charge. She reported on the positive feedback CAMFT has been receiving by members and schools.

Also discussed was the status of CAMFT’s new programs for 2014. Two CAMFT sponsored Law & Ethics workshops will be held in Berkeley and Los Angeles, on March 29, 2014 and August 15, 2014, respectively. Two CAMFT sponsored Advanced DSM-5 workshops will be held in Anaheim and Santa Clara, on June 20, 2014 and August 1, 2014, respectively. Four CAMFT Connects meetings are in the process of being planned for summer and fall 2014.

Ms. Atkins reported on the numerous ways in which CAMFT has begun celebrating CAMFT’s 50th Anniversary. Also discussed, was the official celebration which would be occurring on May 1-4, 2014, at CAMFT’s 50th Annual Conference, in Indian Wells (Palm Springs.)

In closed session, the Board discussed personnel issues.

Ms. Atkins reported on the status of CAMFT’s federal legislation (S 562 and HR 3662) requiring Medicare to reimburse LMFTs as providers. CAMFT continues to obtain additional co-sponsors of these two bills, many of which were a result of the Board’s direct lobbying efforts of Congress during their recent Washington, D.C. visit. The Board was also presented the final research report on the projected actual cost of allowing LMFTs to be reimbursed providers with Medicare—the findings were as CAMFT hoped and indicate a reduction of actual costs originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Also discussed was CAMFT’s efforts to remove the COAMFTE requirement for LMFTs to work within the VA. CAMFT has been lobbying Congress, specifically Representative Sam Farr, over the last few years on this issue. Especially exciting was the news that following Board Chief Financial Officer, Victoria Campbell and Secretary, Leah Flagg-Wilson’s grassroots local outreach to Rep. Farr (a senior member of the Appropriations Committee), he presented a congressional direction paper to the Sub-Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (overseen by the Appropriations Committee) requesting that the VA begin hiring LMFTs, and specifically removing the COAMFTE hurdle. This is a very encouraging development and we will keep the membership appraised of any developments.

Ms. Atkins reported that CAMFT had secured three authors for its 2014 California legislative priorities: SB 1012 (Wyland), which removes the five hour maximum per week of supervisory hours; SB 1148 (Yee), which mimics the psychologist statute codifying the length of time a therapist must keep patient records; and AB 1775 (Melendez), which brings the child abuse reporting laws up-to-date with the internet age, and includes the downloading of child pornography as a mandatory report.

Discussed was CAMFT’s continued priority to be a visible and active stakeholder within the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) as the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. Following CAMFT’s advocacy on this issue, the DHCS recently reached out to CAMFT to discuss their application for a state plan amendment, which would include LMFTs as direct Medi-Cal providers.

The Board reviewed updates about the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Ms. Atkins discussed the recent addition of three positions in the LMFT examination unit of the BBS, which will decrease exam application waiting times from 9 months to 90 days by the end of the year. Also discussed, was a recent joint venture between CAMFT and AAMFT to review and assess how to better structure the hours of experience LMFTs must complete for licensure in a manner which does not result in excessive wait times.

After receiving feedback from the Chapters regarding the pending Chapter agreements, the Board voted to extend the comment period six months, until the September 2014 Board meeting. In the interim, the Board directed staff to solicit additional comment from the Chapters, as well as direct chapters to view Executive Director, Jill Epstein’s webcast on the agreements.

CAMFT staff clarified confusion surrounding a statement made in the December 2013 Board highlights stating the 2014 “proposed budget” had the first operational surplus in seven years. Not only is the 2014 “proposed budget” showing a surplus, but CAMFT has in fact been operating in the black for over 5 years—an achievement very difficult given the economic layout since 2007. The Board expressed their appreciation of staff’s management of CAMFT’s finances. The Board also reviewed the 2013 auditor’s report on CAMFT’s financial statements.

Committee Reports
The Board received reports from the following Committees: Ethics Committee, Nominating Committee, Continuing Education Provider Approval Program Task Force, Annual Conference Planning Committee, Crisis Response Education and Resource Committee, Honors Committee and Bylaws Task Force.

The Board selected prominent past CAMFT leaders to form the newly created Leadership Council. The Council was created to serve in an advisory capacity to the Board on current issues surrounding CAMFT, the Board and staff, and any big ticket items affecting the Association. Selected to the Council are: Jack Kennedy, J.M. Evosevich, H. Dan Smith, Carol Campbell, Mary Ellen McTamaney, and Lois Abrams.

The Board discussed the status of CAMFT applying to become a Continuing Education Provider Approval Program once the BBS ceases approving providers. CAMFT will be applying to become an Approval Agency in July 2014 and if approved, will begin accepting applications in late summer/early fall. The Board added the following members to the Continuing Education Provider Approval Program Task Force: Ellyn Herb, Anna Osborn, Michael Murray, Linda Lawless, Patsy Phillips, Barbara Pannoni, Kami Storck, and Lisa Gioia.

The Board discussed the current process of the President chairing the Nominating Committee. The Board voted to instead place the Past President as Chair to allow for more experience and historical perspective. The Board also reviewed the Nominating Committee report--of the 14 original candidates, 9 were selected to appear on the ballot, 6 of whom accepted the nomination. Please visit the CAMFT website to review the candidate statements.

The Board voted on and approved Palm Springs Unified School District Mental Health Program to receive the 2014 Outstanding School and Agency Award. This award will be presented at CAMFT’s 50th Annual Conference in May 2014.

The Board voted to create a Bylaws/Strategic Planning and Member Engagement Task Force to provide feedback to the Board on better ways to engage membership on the formation and implementation of bylaws and strategic planning changes. The Task Force will be made up of 6-7 members, with 4-5 members being non-Board members. A call for nominees will be made shortly.

Membership Dues Increase
The Board deliberated on the issue of increasing member dues. Based on the increasing costs of business administration, new programs recently created for members, and additional legal staff hired to counteract the long waiting times to speak to the Legal Department, the Board did believe a dues raise was critical. However, the Board determined that before it voted to raise dues, more member input was necessary on this issue, and they would reconvene for a vote in September 2014.

Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting will be held June 7-8, 2014 in San Diego. For more details, please visit the Board of Directors section of the CAMFT website.

*Executive Director, Jill Epstein, was in attendance by conference call for the Board meeting.



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