CA Therapists Request Honesty, Accountability & Better Representation from CAMFT.

We, the undersigned, petition the Board to take action to improve the culture of CAMFT towards transparency, fiscal accountability, engagement and responsiveness to its members. We ask CAMFT leadership to:

  • Develop greater attunement to the reality of our profession by engaging and polling the membership directly through a sub-committee that surveys the membership prior to lobbying for new laws and business codes.  
  • Discontinue the practice of closed door meetings and classification of files that are not directly related to personnel issues.
  • Publicize the “classified” 2015 audit committee financial report and the Chief Financial Officer’s financial report.
  • Remove the non-disclosure agreement and anti-trust agreement clauses from all Board and Committee contracts.
  • Join the NASW and the APA in advocating for fair reimbursement rates for therapists. Hire lawyers who understand and are capable of advocating for reimbursement parity. 
  • Hire an Executive Director who is an MFT

Sign our petition now!

                                    ______________________ 

We’ve won changes with CAMFT before!

You may remember that in 2013, CAMFT deceptively proposed a bylaw revision that would have redefined its purpose from an organization representing MFTs to a generic mental health organization. Thousands of CAMFT members signed a petition requesting a new vote, and over 95% of the participating clinical members voted to reinstate the former bylaws. Additional advocacy through petitions succeeded in allowing members to elect five SaveCAMFT candidates to the State Board. 

What you can do! 

Take Action:

  • Review and sign our petition here on change.org!
  • Share this petition and message throughout your social networks.
  • Contact and engage with your Local Chapter Leadership and other MFTs, inviting dialogue about these subjects.
  • Ask questions!

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Our Stance:

Issue: Need for Transparent Communication and Committed Representation of Our License  

In 2012 the Board of Directors voted to change the bylaws so CAMFT could include mental health providers who were not MFTs in its membership. In doing so, the Board abandoned their role of advocating specifically for the MFT license. The Board originally intended to explain these changes to the membership, but in early 2013, the Board and the Executive Director held a closed-door meeting and decided not to shine a light on these changes when they initially asked members to approve the proposed Bylaws.

Solution: Discontinue closed door meetings with the exception of personnel-related matters and poll the membership before advocating for change. Communicate clearly and honestly with the membership about the nature and spirit of any proposed changes, laws, or business codes before taking action on them.   ___________________________________________________________________

Issue: Need for Transparency and Fiscal Accountability

In 2016 both the internal audit committee and the Chief Financial Officer’s report on CAMFT’s finances for 2015 were classified and replaced with a financial report signed by the Director of Finance, Ron Hynum.  Along with the practice of closed door meetings, this behavior has created an atmosphere of dishonesty and untrustworthiness. For an organization whose sole purpose is to advocate for our profession, it seems unconscionable that they would need to hide anything from us, in particular, how they are spending our money.

Solution: Secrecy and dishonesty can no longer be tolerated. Discontinue the practice of classifying files and closed door meetings that are not directly related to personnel issues. Publicise the 2016 audit committee report and the CFO report. Revoke and discontinue the use of non-disclosure agreements for all Board and committee members.    ___________________________________________________________________

Issue: Need for Leadership that Understands the Needs of Our Profession  and Represents the Membership’s Interests


In 2015 the controversial law AB1775 was passed, dramatically changing mandated reporting requirements. CAMFT wrote and lobbied for the passage of this law, describing it as a “technical fix” to mandated reporting regulations. Many members did not approve of this law. Unfortunately, by the time they found out about it the law had already passed. To not engage the membership about such an impactful subject before advocating for this law demonstrates how out of touch CAMFT is with the needs and interests of the membership and how disengaged the association is in understanding how best to advocate for us.

 A recent example of this is the new telehealth business and professions code. This new business code states:

 “If your client is travelling to another state and wishes to engage in psychotherapy or counseling via telehealth with you while he or she is away, you need to check with the state where your client will be to see if this is permitted.”

How is it that CAMFT fails to see that denying a client in crisis access to their therapist because they are “away” is a violation of the spirit of our ethics codes?

For more information please read Richard Leslie’s article on the CHP Insurance website. {Link to article} 

In 2008 CAMFT declined to get involved with the movement to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, {link to article} the law that permitted states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage. While CAMFT’s stance was that this was not a clinical issue, many of the membership disagreed. The question is, who gets to decide, CAMFT or the membership?

We seek leaders who understand that socio-cultural issues are always clinical issues, and will therefore poll the membership in order to act on members’ behalf regarding fundamental issues such as race, gender expression, sexual orientation, cultural heritage, and other issues related to oppression and/or inequality.

“Ethics Code 1.1.1 HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL PREJUDICE: Marriage and family therapists are aware of and do not perpetuate historical and social prejudices when diagnosing and treating patients because such conduct may lead to misdiagnosing and pathologizing patients.”

“Ethics Code 3.6 CULTURAL SENSITIVITY: Marriage and family therapists actively strive to identify and understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of their clients by gaining knowledge, personal awareness, and developing sensitivity and skills pertinent to working with a diverse client population.”

Solution: Poll the membership. Communicate honestly and clearly. Advocate for membership’s interests. Align decisions to the ethical standards of our profession. 

__________________________________________________________________

Issue: Actively Engage in Increasing Salaries and Reimbursements for Clinicians


If we are truly a profession, that one can have as a career -- not a boutique occupation classified as a hobby on our tax returns --  we need to be compensated appropriately. After up to 10 years of schooling and training and tens of thousands of dollars in expense, interns are often required to work for low or no pay and licensed clinicians are systematically under compensated.

There are two overarching cultural issues that are also at stake here. First the MFT profession is predominantly occupied by women, and therefore not valued as much as professions predominantly occupied by men {NYT article}. Secondly, insurance corporations have not raised the reimbursement rates in over 30 years, and some companies have even lowered their reimbursement rates. This has occurred despite the fact that the administrative workload for therapists has increased and become more complicated, while insurance corporations have enjoyed increased profits.

Federal regulations require insurance companies provide reimbursement parity. CAMFT could take an active role in tracking and helping to enforce this. Instead, it has chosen to take a hard stance on anti-trust laws, refusing to even speak to the membership about issues concerning employment and insurance corporations’ reimbursement. In fact, CAMFT has gone so far as to establish a ”gag-order” on such discussions and threaten its own membership when we bring up the issue. While CAMFT justifies its actions by citing anti-trust laws, the APA and the NASW choose to hold a less conservative interpretation of the laws and actively campaign on behalf of their membership for reimbursement parity.

Solution:  Adopt a more moderate interpretation of anti-trust restrictions. Advocate for increased reimbursement rates for therapists. Hire lawyers who understand and are capable of advocating for reimbursement parity. 

 

 

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