Board Meeting Highlights December 2014

March, 2015

The following notes highlight discussion and action from the March 13-14, 2015,

CAMFT Board of Directors meeting in Washington, DC.
Board Capitol Visit

(Note: Prior to the Board meeting, the Board spent two full days on Capitol Hill lobbying key California legislators about including LMFTs as Medicare providers and removing the barrier to employment of LMFTs by the Department of Veterans Affairs.)

Front row: Guillermo Alvarez, Antonia Bouyer, Leah Flagg-Wilson, Barbara Griswold, and Patrica Ravitz; Back row: Laura Strom, Larry Langford, Bob Casanova, Mark Perlmutter, Chris Trailer, Jodi Baldel, and Jurgen Braungardt

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Committee Reports

The Board received reports from the following Committees: Executive, Honors, Ethics, Political Action, Nominating, Continuing Education Provider Approval Committee, Clinical Editorial Committee, Public Outreach Committee, Annual Conference and Continuing Education, and Crisis Response Education and Resource Committee. The Board also received reports from the Educational Foundation, Leadership Advisory Council, CAMFT Connects Task Force, Bylaw Report Task Force, and the Chapter Advisory Council.

The Board reviewed and accepted a report from the Ethics Committee regarding a member proposal to amend the CAMFT Code of Ethics to include provisions that the practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) be declared unethical. The Ethics Committee concluded that it, like every other major mental health organization, found no basis for a per se ethical ban on the object or goal of therapy. The Committee did agree that that it is unethical for a therapist to conduct therapy with a predetermination that a particular outcome was required (an a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual orientation). The Board directed staff to create a proposed policy for the Board to review in June, 2015, that prohibits referencing SOCE and/or reparative therapy in advertising in CAMFT publications, including CounselingCalifornia.com. The Board intends to get member input once the policy is drafted.

The Board approved the following members to serve on the inaugural Insuranceand Healthcare Reform Committee through May 31, 2016: Gerald Anderson, Barbara Griswold, Ernest Isaacs, Stuart Kaplowitz, Steve Kassel, Vida Makowski, Jennifer Perkins, and Karen Ziccardi.

The Board approved the creation of a Legislative Committee with a purpose of analyzing legislative proposals for possible CAMFT sponsorship and making recommendations to the Board. The Committee will also review state and federal bills as they arise and will make recommendations. A call for nominees with prior experience with local, state or federal politics or legislative advocacy will be sent to the members in coming weeks.

After extended discussion the Board was not able to agree on a statement about the bylaws. The Board agreed not to pursue this issue.

The Board acknowledged the Elections Committee results of the 2015-2016 Board election:
President-Elect: Patricia Ravitz, LMFT
Secretary: Bob Casanova, LMFT
Director-At-Large: Liz Birch, LMFT
Director-At-Large: Jonathan Flier, LMFT
Director-At-Large: James Guay, LMFT
Pre-Licensed Director-At-Large: Mark Perlmutter, MFT Registered Intern

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Policies and Procedures

The Board adopted a Policy on Member Engagement, a Policy on Posting Policies on the CAMFT Website, a Policy on CAMFT Board Members at Chapter Events, and a Policy on Considering Members for Non-Presidential Vacancies on the Board. The Board also revised and rescinded a number of existing policies that were out of date or no longer relevant.

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Chapters

Chapter leaders will be able to make comments on the final proposed Chapter Agreement until April 30, 2015, via email to Jill Epstein.

The Board clarified that the intent of the current $500 stipend per chapter for proof of commercial liability insurance with CAMFT as an additional insured replaced the 2013 decision to offer $1000 stipend to Chapters who sign the Chapter Agreement to assist Chapter with coming into compliance with the agreement.

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Executive Director Goals

The Board went into closed session to discuss personnel issues and to set goals for the Executive Director for her current contract period.

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Staff/Operations

The CAMFT website launched on February 23, 2015. Testing for a new CounselingCalifornia.com is beginning and that site will launch in coming months.

Liz Bautista, Member Service Representative, resigned effective March 20 to pursue a new career opportunity.

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Finance

The Finance Committee and the Board accepted the February, 2015 financial reports. Total net assets as of February 28, 2015 were just over $7.8 million. The Board also reviewed the 2014 audit report, which indicated that the financial statements fairly presented, in all material respects, the financial positions and no material concerns were noted.

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BBS Update

The Board was updated on the status of the BBS Supervision Committee and the BBS Board meeting. Members were encouraged to participate in the BBS Supervision Committee meetings as the Committee is discussing sweeping changes supervision ratios, possible recognition of triadic supervision, and continuing education for supervisors. BBS calendar of meetings.

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Legislation

The two CAMFT legislative priorities identified by the Board in December, 2014, have been introduced as bills. AB 250 (Obernolte) clarifies that MFT trainees are included in the Business and Professions Code as appropriate telehealth providers. AB 690 (Wood) would include LMFTs as health care professionals eligible for reimbursement under MediCal for services provided at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

The Board also discussed other bills of interest. SB 128 (Wolk) is the “End of Life Option Act,” which covers physician-assisted suicide. The Board directed staff to survey members about this bill and the desire for CAMFT involvement.
SB 620 (Block) is the BBS bill that streamlines the experience requirements for LMFT and LPCC applicants by removing most of the “buckets.” While some aspects of the bill were troubling to some Board members, the benefits ultimately outweighed the concerns. The bill provides enhanced value to the license and removes the BBS’ administrative challenges of evaluating the complex assortment of minimum and maximum hours for different types of experience. This will allow interns to proceed to their examinations more expeditiously. CAMFT will be producing an article that provides details and an analysis about the bill. The Board recommended that pre-licensees who are concerned about specific provisions of the bill should contact the BBS directly, as the BBS is the sponsor of the legislation.

AB 832 (Garcia) is a bill that would provide the same reporting requirements to oral copulations and sodomy as is applied to sexual intercourse. The Board directed staff to survey members on issues surrounding this bill as well.
The Board reviewed input from various stakeholders and discussed the pending lawsuit against the Attorney General for Declaratory and Injunctive relief regarding AB 1775 (Melendez), which went into effect in January, 2015. The bill added “knowingly downloads, streams, accesses through any electronic or digital media” a child engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct as a mandated report under CANRA. The Board directed staff to develop an educational piece on the law and took no further action.

Texas Medical Association v. Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists and the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

In September 2008, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) filed a lawsuit against the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (the Board) challenging two Board rules defining MFTs' scope of practice. The Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (TAMFT) joined the lawsuit in 2009. One rule allows MFTs to make a diagnostic assessment using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM), and the other rule allows MFTs to base services on a diagnosis of a client. In January 2009, with assistance from AAMFT, the TAMFT intervened as a party in this lawsuit in order to help defend these two rules.

A district court judge upheld the rule that allows LMFTs to base services on a diagnosis, but struck down the rule that allowed LMFTs to make diagnostic assessments using the DSM. This decision was appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, in Austin.

In November, 2014, a majority of the judges on this Court of Appeals panel issued a decision that upheld the Travis County district judge’s prior decision. In March, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied the request for a re-hearing en banc. The case will now be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

CAMFT has prepared an amicus brief in support of the defendants. If the lower court decision stands and LMFTs in Texas lose the right to make diagnostic assessments using the DSM, opponents of LMFTs in California could use this decision to argue to our own legislature or state agencies that, since the Texas courts state that LMFTs cannot make diagnostic assessments, this should not be allowed for LMFTs in California. While this is unlikely to happen in California, given the long history of the MFT license and the number of LMFTS in California, it is not outside the realm of possibility.

The bigger issue for CAMFT is the implication of other LMFTs around the country losing the right to make diagnostic assessments using the DSM and how this could weaken the LMFT license in the eyes of federal legislators and agencies. While the court decision did not question the competence of LMFTs to diagnose or use the DSM, this distinction will be lost on most legislators and others who will only have a superficial understanding of the issue. This would greatly hinder LMFT efforts to be included as Medicare and VA providers.

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2015 Scholarship and Honors Recipients

The Board ratified the Educational Foundation’s selections for the 2015 Scholarships:

CAMFT Educational Foundation Scholarship: Sarah Dardick
Clinton E. Phillips Scholarship: Stacia Stamas
Ronald D. Lunceford Scholarship: Owonda Allu Epiphany
CAMFT Educational Foundation Grant: Rajani Venkatraman Levis, LMFT
The Board approved the following recipients for the 2015 Honors Awards:
Mary Riemersma Distinguished Clinical Member Award: Kathy Langsam, LMFT
School and Agency Award: Alternative Family Services

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Next Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held June 6-7, 2015 in San Diego, CA. For more details, please visit the CAMFT website.