Agreement ends APAPO practice assessment dispute
Following is the text of a Jan. 28, 2015, press release from the American Psychological Association (APA) about the agreement ending the APA Practice Organization Practice Assessment dispute.
WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association (APA) and four plaintiffs represented by the law firms of Tycko and Zavareei LLP and Wexler Wallace LLP have reached an agreement to settle their dispute about the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) practice assessment. The settlement establishes a $9.02 million settlement fund to be used to pay claims made by current or former members of APA who have paid the practice assessment since dues year 2001, as well as attorneys’ fees and certain other costs. Details of the claims processes will be communicated to eligible persons. If the settlement is approved by the court, it would end all litigation about the practice assessment and allow all parties to return to focusing resources on advancing psychology as a science and a profession and serving patients.
APA/APAPO and the plaintiffs disagreed about whether the APA dues statement could mislead practice members concerning the annual practice assessment. The practice assessment is an annual amount paid by those APA members who are licensed and who wish to belong to the APAPO, in addition to their APA membership. Beginning with the 2016 APA dues cycle, the practice assessment will be renamed “APAPO Membership Dues.” Joining APAPO has never been required for membership in APA, and that will remain the case moving forward. Other changes will be made to the APA dues statement to underscore that APAPO membership is a recommended option — due to the advocacy work the APAPO does on behalf of the profession — but is not a requirement for APA membership.
“We are pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement with the named plaintiffs to settle this dispute and are hopeful the settlement will be approved promptly by the court,” said 2015 APA President Dr. Barry Anton. “APA and APAPO were never happy to be in litigation with their members. While we do not concede that there was any wrongdoing on our part, this agreement allows us to end the dispute and return to focusing our full attention on the goals and mission of the APA and the APAPO.”
“Practitioner members will be particularly pleased that APAPO can now devote itself fully to its mission of protecting and defending the professional and economic interests of psychologists through its legislative, regulatory and marketplace advocacy activities. Working to ensure that patients have access to psychologists’ services and that those services are fairly reimbursed is a fundamental part of the APA Practice Organization’s advocacy agenda,” said Anton.
“We believe that this is an excellent resolution of this litigation,” said plaintiffs’ counsel Hassan Zavareei. “First, the defendants will further clarify their dues statements to make absolutely clear that APAPO dues are completely optional for APA members. Second, APA members who believe that they were misled into paying the APAPO dues will be able to receive compensation.”