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1983  Katherine DiFrancesca, Ph.D.

Thomas MacSpeiden served as our "Legislative Observer" and the legislative representative to the California Psychological Association from our organization.  He kept us apprised of the important issues and current events that affected psychology.

This was the era when Health Care Legislation was changing the face of health care delivery in the state of California.  Concern regarding the cost of health care was the looming issue. Reducing health benefits, developing and implementing preferred provider organizations and defining required health care services were big news with a great deal of uncertainty.  There was a push from the HMOs to delete outpatient mental health care as required health services.  This was defeated.  Similarly, Champus was trying to remove Residential Treatment Centers from reimbursement.  This also failed.

Nevertheless, the handwriting was on the wall.  Monies were running out for health and mental health programs, that consumers and health practitioners alike had taken for granted, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Champus.  County Mental Health, at the request of the County Board of Supervisors, was developing a plan to contract out to the private sector many of the mental health services. Champus regulations changed.  They would no longer reimburse for the treatment of bulimia or anorexia nervosa on either an inpatient or an outpatient basis-although they would pay for the physical affects of these disorders.  This was added to a long list of disorders that were no longer covered, including attention deficit and learning disorders, organic conditions, enuresis, etc.  Blue Cross excluded the eating disorders from preferred provider contracts.

There was alarm expressed regarding the unlimited power of insurance companies to decide what is and what is not treatable.  The California Psychological Association, Division I had formed a strike force to help deal with the implications of the Health Care Legislation.  In 1983 the Strike Force separated from CSPA and incorporated as a separate entity, the California Association of Psychology Providers - CAPP.  Drs. Jay Dess and Maurice Zemlick were founding members of CAPP and provided pivotal leadership in the important work of fighting for psychology to be a part of the evolving health care system.

On another front, psychologists were attempting to restrict the administration and interpretation of psychological tests by non-psychologists. (Defining a psychological test was an almost impossible task so as not to restrict business and educators.)  MFCC's and licensed social workers were opposed to psychologists' efforts.

Committee and Task Force Functions: Women's committee: Ilona Vail chaired this task force which sponsored an educational program for the general public and two open forums for Academy members, all of which were very successful.

Military Liaison Committee: Robert Horowitz chaired this active committee that sponsored two workshops and developed programs which were to travel to different military bases.

The Forensic Committee: Meredith Friedman and her committee sponsored a workshop entitled "The Psychologists Role in Custody, Dependency, and Developmentally Disabled Determination"

Volunteer Task Force: Charles Manuci took charge of the volunteer services task force and 21 Academy members served 20 community agencies.

Networking: This was a period of outreach to Courts and Attorney groups.  More and more psychologists were being hired as experts. The Psychiatric Society and the Academy of San Diego Psychologists had a combined dinner meeting.  I met with the President of the Psychiatric Society each month for lunch.  Kathleen Durning and Judy Phillips ran an ongoing, free support group for Navy wives. Frances Margolin was chosen to be a presenter on a Soviet/American Psychology Clinical Study Tour of the Soviet Union and wrote about her experience in the Newsletter.  She was chosen because of her research on alternatives to litigation in family courts.  Gloria Harris was the speaker at a Psychology Law meeting.  The topic: sexual harassment.

Other hot issues:

  1. The insanity defense and mental health experts testifying on these issues came under attack as a result of Hinkley.

  2. The California Supreme Court extended Tarasoff, expanding the liability of psychiatrists and psychologists for negligently failing to warn foreseeable victims of dangerous patients.

  3. Lead articles in the Newsletter included: Brief Strategic Psychotherapy by Robert Mashman; Expectations of a Woman's Therapist by Ilona Vail; Incest Survivors by Jean Campbell; The Cinderella Complex - Men and Women and Their Relationships by Rosalie Chapman; and The Seven Year Study of Vietnam POW/MIA Families - Implications for Psychotherapists by Edna Jo Hunter.

Leadership in 1983 included, Katherine DiFrancesca, President, Stuart Gilbreath, Past President, Russell Gold, President Elect, Steven Sparta, Secretary, Linda Wasserman, Treasurer, Robert C. Mashman and John Van Dyke, Members-At-Large, Charles Moore and Louis Gadol, Newsletter Editors. 


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