Donations to the Practice Protection Fund (PPF) directly contributed to the Texas MFT Victory last year. In September 2008, the Texas Medical Association filed a lawsuit against the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapy (TSBEMFT) over two rules TSBEMFT had promulgated. TSBEMFT, the licensing board for MFTs in Texas, had issued a rule that MFTs could provide diagnostic assessments and another rule that all services provided had to be based on a diagnosis or evaluation of a client. The Texas Medical Association was challenging these rules and claiming that diagnosis was not within the scope of practice for Texas MFTs.
The impact of losing the lawsuit would have negative repercussions for the profession, not only in Texas but across the United States. The Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (TAMFT), with assistance from AAMFT, joined the lawsuit as a defendant with TSBEMFT. To represent the interests of the MFT profession, AAMFT stepped in to retain the services of a law firm in Texas, Baker Botts, and to cover the costs associated with the lawsuit.
The AAMFT Practice Protection Fund was created in 2013 to help pay for items related to serious threats to the profession and for major initiatives, particularly concerning threats to the MFT scope of practice. It is also utilized for pay for opportunities to advance the profession at the federal, state and provincial level. As the litigation costs started to rise, funds from the Practice Protection Fund were used to pay for costs of the lawsuit. From 2013 to 2017, over $240,000 in contributions from AAMFT members to the Practice Protection Fund were used to pay for these necessary litigation expenses.
On February 24, 2017 the decision came down from the Supreme Court: The TSEBMFT rule that allowed MFTs to provide diagnostic assessments was upheld. Victory at last!
Your donation to the Practice Protection Fund made this victory possible. Please help AAMFT continue to fight against threats and propel the profession forward by donating today.
Laura Evans, AAMFT State Government Affairs Manager