Summer 2021 | Issue 47
Becoming the President of IPS is an honor and privilege. I want to acknowledge and thank immediate Past-President Susan Scherer, MD, and Past President Hossam Mahmoud, MD, for their leadership and mentoring.
Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief as masks get put in the drawer for now, and we try to establish a new normal. Unfortunately, this positive news comes as so many Illinois families grieve their losses. The year forced us to see the rates at which Black and Brown people are dying from health care inequity, violent policing, and intra community violence. We have lived through a year of protests, rioting and insurrection. IPS is committed to doing the important work to address systemic racism, violence, and poverty, especially as it impacts community and individual trauma.
Our IPS Council and Committees are dedicating time and energy to become an anti-racist organization. Our Mission Statement, “To advocate for the highest quality care for patients with psychiatric disorders which include substance use disorders, to represent the profession of psychiatry, and to serve the professional needs of its membership,” bends under the weight of our state and national crises and suggests we need to re-engage in strategic planning. Yet IPS has begun to respond. Under the leadership of Dr. Mahmoud, IPS revised our By-laws to lower barriers for IPS members to nominate themselves or others to our governing Council. We strive to have the Council reflect the diversity of our communities. In addition, I am excited to partner with and support Adrienne Adams, MD, and Joshua Eloge, MD, Co-Chairs of the newly formed Anti-Racism Committee. Both efforts are promising reflections of the commitment IPS is making to look internally, as well as being effective mental health advocates for all citizens of Illinois.
IPS has a long history of effective legislative advocacy for psychiatry through our Government Affairs Committee, and its Chair, Ken Busch, MD. We are focusing on a few key pieces of legislation. IPS is strenuously opposing SB2272. This legislation would allow psychologists who are licensed to prescribe psychotropic medications in Illinois to treat children, the elderly, and prescribe schedule II medications. While IPS will make the case that our psychologist-prescribing colleagues lack the education and training to treat these vulnerable populations, psychiatry is left to answer who will. We know a significant percentage of psychiatrists are older and are expected to retire soon. Demand for a spot in a psychiatric
residency program is increasing among medical students but the number of psychiatry residency programs remains unchanged. Our IMG colleagues are getting left out of residency programs. This reduces the number of psychiatrists who practice in underserved areas, for example, to fulfill J1 visa requirements. IPS will be a leading voice to promote access to psychiatric care which is safe and evidence-based.
In 2019, IPS achieved some success on the path to increasing access to safe and effective psychiatric care when the Illinois legislature passed a bill drafted by APA, requiring the Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) and the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services (HFS) to pay for collaborative care codes. The Collaborative Care model integrates behavioral and physical health care. Collaborative care is an evidenced-based model of health care delivery where primary care physicians consult with psychiatrists to provide safe and effective treatment of psychiatric disorders. We believe use of the Collaborative Care model needs to expand through Illinois.
In a slightly different vein, I am pleased to say IPS has stepped up our game to address practice issues IPS members face, from residency through retirement. With the determined leadership of Kristen Malloy, IPS has offered a series of virtual events, titled “Psychiatry Outside of Clinical Practice." We have had a tremendous turnout thus far, as we dove into important aspects of signing contracts, operating a private practice, becoming a legislative advocate, making sound financial investments, and aspects of retirement. Keep an eye out for information on all of the rest of our 2021 events, including the IPS Annual Meeting. These programs represent the combined efforts of many IPS Committees: Private Practice Committee, Chair Michael Raida, MD; Early Career Psychiatrists Committee, Chair Chandan Khandai, MD; Retirement Committee Co-Chairs Gunnbjorg Lavoll, MD, and Martha Zuehlke, MD; Resident Committee Chair, Lala Park MD; and the Program/Events Planning Committee, Chaired by Joy Houston, MD.
These Committees welcome your participation! Contact our Executive Director, Meryl Sosa, if you want to find out more or join one.
Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable summer,
Steve Weinstein MD, DFAPA
President, Illinois Psychiatric Society