APA Practice Organization Listserv Rules and Standards
Subscribers and participants agree to abide by the following rules of the APA Practice Organization listserv:
Do not use the forum for illegal purposes, including but not limited to defamation, violation of intellectual property laws, violation of antitrust or unfair competition laws or violation of criminal laws.
a. Antitrust Concerns
The APA Practice Organization is by its nature is subject to antitrust issues, as the Practice Organization is almost by definition a group of competitors coming together to pursue common interests. Listservs provide a written record of statements that can create an antitrust risk even when there is no anti-competitive intent. Thus discussions about rates charged, efforts to exert collective pressure on payors, and fee-related terms of contracts with insurance companies are all generally prohibited.
- There should be no discussion of a) the fees set by psychologists; b) actual or implied agreements between psychologists on setting fees; or c) psychologists’ individual fee negotiations with an insurance company or other third party payor.
- Note that generally, applicable fees set and announced by insurers or other third party payors may be discussed — but only as long as the discussion is not accompanied by any commentary stating or implying: (a) that other psychologists should not accept the rate or should not deal with the payor (see also section on boycotts) or (b) what the rate should be.
- There should be no discussion suggesting that a psychological association can or should negotiate fees on behalf of members.
- There should be no discussion of specific economic factors that would allow psychologists to ascertain rates charged by competing psychologists, or to agree on staff wages or salaries they will pay. It is appropriate, however, to discuss methods of operation and similar matters that may assist psychologists in practicing more efficiently and effectively.
There should be no discussions that state or imply that psychologists should boycott or otherwise agree or act together to not participate with a particular insurer or other third party payor. This rule applies even if the boycott is based on factors other than fees.
It is a violation of antitrust laws to agree not to compete. Thus, discussions of division of territories or customers, or limitations on the nature of business carried on or services provided are not permitted.
For more information on antitrust policy, see the PracticeUpdate article "Avoiding antitrust issues on Listservs" and the APA and Practice Organization Antritrust Policy.
Referring to an article or news item with typical reference citations, providing a brief quote, or offering a link to legitimate online published content is permissible; list members should not post a full-text version of published material to the listserv. Not infrequently a list member wants to tell others about an article or news item related to the issues discussed on the list. However, sending the entire article to the list, without the permission of the author or publisher, results in a prima facie case of copyright violation. While there can be defenses to a claim of copyright infringement where the purpose of copying is clearly not for commercial purposes (e.g. "fair use" or academic teaching exceptions), those defenses are complicated, have been construed differently in different jurisdictions and are not necessarily applicable to listserv distribution.
c. Defamation and Libel
In exchanges on the listserv and when referring to others, avoid personal attacks and characterizations that question a person’s motives or qualifications. Sometimes a robust debate about ideas spills over into attacks on the proponents or opponents of the ideas. List members need to be reminded that a false statement that harms someone's reputation can be actionable as libel. There is a substantial difference between disagreeing with how someone did their research or treated a patient and accusing the person of fraud or incompetence. Because negative statements that impugn someone's professional qualifications can cause substantial economic and emotional harm, this is an area for careful scrutiny. Keeping criticism on an objective basis that is factually verifiable and skipping personal commentary about character, competence or motive minimizes legal risk.
Do not intentionally interfere with or disrupt other forum members, network services, or network equipment. This includes distribution of unsolicited advertisement or chain letters, propagation of computer worms and viruses, and use of the network to make unauthorized entry to any other machine accessible via the Forum.
Do not use the listserv for commercial purposes. "Commercial" as used for purposes of evaluating listserv messages means communications whose primary purpose is to advance the business or financial interests of any person or entity, or otherwise to promote a financial transaction for the benefit of the author directly or indirectly. Examples of prohibited communications include advertisements for products or services, notices regarding rental of office space, or direct solicitations of listserv members to purchase products or services. Examples of messages that may be of financial benefit to listserv members but are not prohibited because they do not inure to the financial benefit of the author include news of job listings or position openings, or discussion of professionally-related products or services where the listserv member conveying the information is not in the business of selling the products or services. Announcements that provide useful professional information to List members but may also have some incidental commercial benefit to the sender (e.g. an author who is a list member merely advising the List of publication of a professional book) typically would not be "commercial" for purposes of this restriction.
List owners and list subscribers are required to comply with all relevant federal Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Committee laws, regulations, guidelines and procedures, and engage only in legally appropriate communications regarding political activity (activity related to elections and candidates).
This list can be used to openly discuss all legislative (policy related) activities germane to the Practice Organization. This list can also be used to discuss some general political activities related to elections and the APAPO-PAC, but, this list cannot be used to advocate for a particular candidate or to raise money for a particular candidate or Political Action Committee (PAC).
Certain information about APAPO-PAC is permitted on the list serv. It is permitted to:
- Provide basic accurate factual information about a PAC.
- Provide information about the amount of money the PAC has raised, and from whom.
- Provide factual information about which candidates have been supported by the PAC.
For example, a communication on the listserv can:
- Announce the existence of a candidate, or the existence of a PAC and explain the laws and regulations that govern its activities.
- Provide information about how much money a candidate has raised, or how much money a PAC has raised, the number of contributors, and the number of candidates supported.
- Identify federal candidates who have been supported by a PAC, as long as the message does not suggest that financial contributions to the PAC would help elect or defeat those candidates.
What Is Not Permitted
- Statements of advocacy or support on behalf of a particular candidate other than information about the PAC as detailed above.
- Any request for financial contributions to a candidate or PAC.
- Providing information about a candidate or PAC that:
- Publicizes the candidate or PAC in a way that encourages contributions to the candidate or PAC.
- Provides information on how to contribute to the candidate or PAC.
- Encourages financial support for the candidate or PAC.
For example, a message on the listserv that commends individuals who have contributed to a specific candidate or PAC is not allowed because it encourages financial support.
Additional suggestions regarding listserv etiquette:
- Please sign each of your messages, including your email address so you can be reached backchannel.
- Please keep messages constructive, courteous and brief.
- If your email client includes and you utilize an option that repeats the message to which you are responding, please do not repeat any part of the message that is not essential. This will save considerable space (bandwidth) for everyone who receives your message.
- Think global. Though most of our members are from the U.S., some list members may not be familiar with American culture as U.S. members. Thus, try to avoid the use of Americanist terms that may not be well known internationally, or long and complicated sentences.
- Please be supportive of fellow listserv members and show mutual respect.
The information presented and viewed on this listserv may be selective, rather than exhaustive for some subscribers (depending which messages are actually viewed). Additionally, medical and psychological information is constantly changing. Listserv member's views regarding appropriate or proposed care or treatment are not those of the APA Practice Organization. The Practice Organization cannot guarantee the accuracy of information posted to this listserv or that it is the last word on any particular subject. You also should keep in mind that, due to your ability to select various messages for review, you may be accessing only a small portion of the relevant information about a particular topic. Thus, you should exercise particular care in forming conclusions based on what you read here.
For all these reasons, APA Practice Organization makes no representation or warranty about the completeness, reliability or accuracy of information that you obtain from this listserv. the practice organization also will not assume responsibility or liability arising from any error or omission or from the use of any information obtained from this listserv. all content on this listserv is provided "as is" without any express or implied warranties.
Because of potential liability risk issues for the various parties involved, caution should be exercised when posting, responding to or otherwise making use of listserv messages pertaining to diagnosing, recommending treatment or providing referrals.
Messages on this listserv may contain links to Internet sites which are not maintained by the Practice Organization. The Practice Organization is not responsible for the content of those sites and shall not be liable for any damages or injury arising from that content. Any links to other sites are intended as a convenience to the users of this listserv and do not imply the Practice Organization's endorsement of the linked site nor does the omission of particular links indicate disapproval by the Practice Organization.
Please save and/or print this message for future reference, particularly if you are new to listservs/forums.
Join the Practice Organization Listserv
This online community for Practice Organization members provides a space to discuss marketplace and advocacy issues affecting practicing psychologists. Unlike APA division listservs which are restricted due to APA's tax status as a charitable organization, psychologists on the Practice Organization listerv can talk about business, reimbursement, managed care, insurance and practice-related legal issues.
This is an opt-in listserv open only to members of the APA Practice Organization. Sign up for the APA Practice Organization listserv.