Founded in 1949, the Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS), a 501(c)(6) non-profit association is a professional, non-profit medical specialty organization with 900 psychiatrists. WPS advocates on behalf of members and their patients, provides quality continuing medical education programs, and educates the public on mental health issues.

WPS covers the National Capital Area with regional chapters representing the District of Columbia, Suburban Maryland (Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties) and Northern Virginia (the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church and Arlington and Fairfax Counties), and is a District Branch of the internationally recognized American Psychiatric Association (APA).


Browse the WPS September 2022 Newsletter!


Our Magazine:  Capital Psychiatry
Summer 2022 Issue


Sponsored Content

Malpractice and Liability in Psychiatry Textbook

PRMS is proud to congratulate our talented risk managers on an exciting accomplishment! Our Director of Risk Management, Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD, and Associate Director of Risk Management, Dave Cash, JD, LLM, each contributed a chapter in the new textbook, “Malpractice and Liability in Psychiatry.” Get your copy here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-91975-7


 April Fact vs. Fiction Resource

You’ve been treating a 10-year-old patient for a number of months.  He has always been brought in by his father, who has told you he is divorced from the mother, and that she is no longer involved in the patient’s life.  Out of the blue you get a call from the patient’s mother who just found out that you are treating her son, and is upset about the medication you are prescribing.  She demands a copy of the child’s record.  When you explain to her that the father had given consent for the medications, she tells you she and the father have joint decision-making authority for all medical care.  She further tells you she wants to be involved in her son’s care, but the father is preventing this.  She offers to send you a copy of the custody order.  You contact the father who assures you that he is the one with sole physical custody, and only he can consent to release of the record; he also tells you that nothing in the custody order changes that and there’s no need for you to review the order.

What do you think - fact or fiction?

ANSWER: Fiction!

You need to see the custody order as it will likely spell out which parent(s) must consent to treatment, and who can access the patient’s record.  Typically, unless parental rights have been terminated, both parents can access treatment information, even a parent without custody. If parents are in disagreement over consent to treatment and/or release of treatment information, and these issues are not addressed in the order, the parents should seek resolution from their attorneys.

Psychiatrists treating minors may want to consider the following:

  • When a new appointment is made for a new patient who is a minor, ask if the parents are divorced.  If so, advise that a copy of the custody order will need to be brought to the first appointment. Without the order, the psychiatrist may not be able to see the patient because there is no proof that the parent bringing the minor has the legal authority to consent to treatment.
  • Manage the expectations of all parties.  Explain your process for keeping parents informed about their child’s treatment.

Save the Date!

More Information Coming Soon!

2022 WPS Fall Symposium
Topic: Trauma & Mental Health: Risks, Resiliency, Recovery
Date: Saturday, October 29, 2022
Time: 8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Where: Online via Horizon Virtual Venue

 Upcoming WPS Events 

Critical Conversations: Preventing Mass Shootings and the Special Challenge of Suicide

Rescheduled Date to be Announced
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM EDT via Zoom

Other Events of Interest

 The WPS Awards Dinner was held on May 12, 2022, at Maggiano's Little Italy in Chevy Chase.

View the 2022 Award Winners

Do You Want to Reform Prior Authorization in DC?

Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced B24-6555, Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Allen, Bonds, Lewis George, and Gray. The bill is supported by MSDC and modeled after the American Medical Association's prior auth guidance. Learn more at our prior auth webpage, www.msdc.org/priorauth.

We have been fighting this issue for ten years, and this may be our best chance to pass these reforms. Below are four ways you can help fix DC prior auth today.

  1. Share your prior authorization (horror) story
  2. Contact the Council (and let MSDC know)
  3. Spread the word
  4. Add your name to our special prior auth update list
Click Here to Read More