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 November 2022 Newsletter


Our Magazine:  Capital Psychiatry
Fall 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


November Fact vs. Fiction Resource

I will be retiring from practice soon and have decided to give my paper charts to the patients.  I’ve researched record storage options; when I mentioned to a colleague the outrageous cost, they shared their plan to eliminate that cost by giving the record to the patient.  I really like this solution because in addition to saving money, I will not have to deal with requests for records. Upon researching further, quite a few retiring psychiatrists are doing this, so I feel this is an appropriate plan.

What do you think - fact or fiction?

ANSWER: Fiction! Regardless of how many of your colleagues are doing this, it is inappropriate for at least the following reasons:

  • Failure to retain records may violate state law.

For example, as noted by the Florida Medical Board: 
According to Rule 64B8-10.002(3), FAC : A licensed physician shall keep adequate written medical records, as required by Section 458.331(1)(m), Florida Statutes, for a period of at least five years from the last patient contact; however, medical malpractice law requires records to be kept for at least seven years.

  • Failure to retain records may constitute unprofessional conduct. 

For example, New York law includes the following within the definition of professional misconduct: 
Failing to maintain a record for each patient which accurately reflects the evaluation and treatment of the patient…. Unless otherwise provided by law, all patient records must be retained for at least six years. Obstetrical records and records of minor patients must be retained for at least six years, and until one year after the minor patient reaches the age of eighteen years;

  • Failure to retain records may violate your professional liability insurance policy.

While coverage issues are handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the specific circumstances, most policies exclude coverage for “…error or violation of law committed by an insured or any person for whose acts an Insured is legally responsible.”  So, for example, if a state law mandates that physicians retain medical records for up to six years, and a physician fails to do so, coverage for any claim that is related to this could be denied by virtue of this policy exclusion.

Also, policies may have a cooperation clause precluding an insured from taking any actions that could limit the insurance company’s ability to defend the case.  Not retaining the record could be such an action.
But even if coverage is intact, by giving up control of the original records to the person who is most likely to make a claim regarding the care documented in them, a physician could be very severely jeopardizing their defense.  The record could be altered, or there could be chain of custody issues resulting in the record being inadmissible.

Register Now!

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

November 30, 2022
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM EDT via Zoom
 Register Here!

WPS 2022 Annual Meeting: Toward a Better Understanding of Your LGBTQ Patients
You will enjoy a business meeting, break with exhibitors, and a wonderful presentation by Dr. Daniel Hicks, DLFAPA

December 5, 2022
6:30 - 8:30 PM EDT
Virtual on Zoom

Register Here!

WPS/CLM Event: Interventional Psychiatry in Outpatient Practice

December 15, 2022
:00 - 8:00 PM EST
Virtual on Zoom!

Register Here!

 WPS Member News  

2023-24 Elections:
Help Shape the Future of WPS Today!

Nominations have closed - Congratulations to everyone who submitted a nomination and to all those who were nominated! 

WPS Members: Write for Capital Psychiatry Magazine Now!

Accepting Submissions for the Winter Edition until December 15, 2022. 
Email [email protected] with questions or submissions.

Check your inbox for more information!

 Past Events of Interest

2022 WPS Fall Symposium was held on Saturday, October 29, 2022. 
Trauma & Mental Health: Risks, Resiliency, Recovery

Be on the look out for the next WPS Presidential Symposium in the Spring on April 29, 2023 where you can earn CME credit and learn about another timely topic!

 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