The Moffic Award For Ethical Practice in Public Sector Managed Behavioral Healthcare

Future nominations are welcome at any time to Dr. Moffic at

Introduction and Background

In the late 1990’s, as managed behavioral healthcare entered the public sector and community mental health, we became familiar with the ethical challenges already apparent in the private sector, such as the rise of “business ethics”, gatekeeping, restrictive interpretation of medical necessity, alterations in informed consent, decreased confidentiality, limits on authorization for payment, and unlicensed utilization review, among others. To address these issues, one of our Founding Board Members, H. Steven Moffic, M.D. wrote The Ethical Way: Challenges and Solutions For Managed Behavioral Healthcare (Jossey-Bass, 1997).

Associated with his presentations on the topic, Dr. Moffic began to become more familiar with the real-life struggles to address these issues. Unrecognized courage, success, and models of ethical practice were encountered wherever he presented. In order to stimulate national recognition of high ethical practice in such settings, Dr. Moffic and the AACP enthusiastically decided to establish The Moffic Award For Ethical Practice In Public Sector Managed Behavioral Healthcare. The award included at least $1,000 and recognition at the annual Psychiatric Services meeting. In recent years, an anonymous AACP leader has donated another $1,000 annually.

A large number of excellent candidates, including clinicians, administrators, and institutions, have been nominated over the years. The following is a list of the awardees with a brief description of their accomplishments. They are described in more detail in annual articles in Psychiatric Times (available upon request). The selections were made by the AACP’s Ethics Committee, co-chaired by H. Steven Moffic, M.D. and David Moltz, M.D.

2002 AWARDS:

  • Christie Cline, M.D. MBA, Medical Director , Behavioral Health Services Division, New Mexico Department of Health, for administratively leading a positive and difficult transformation of public managed Medicaid in the state of New Mexico.

  • James Sabin, M.D., Director, Center for Ethics in Managed Care, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, for his writings on balancing the needs of individual patients and societal resources.

2002 Most Honorable Mentions:

  • Barbara Burns, Ph.D., Director, Services Effectiveness Research Program, Duke University Medical Center, for her longstanding and influential analysis, advocacy, and consultation to improve public sector managed behavioral healthcare programs.

  • Leighton Huey, M.D., Chair, University of Connecticut Department of Psychiatry, for advocating and developing an innovative model of psychiatric education that goes beyond managed care principles to emphasize a comprehensive network of cost-effective public sector systems.

2001 AWARD:

  • Michael A. Hoge, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University, for taking on the politically onerous task of helping to shape programs to respond to the best aspects of managed care, and for creating a managed care system that demonstrates how care can be managed ethically and still succeed financially.

2001 Most Honorable Mention:

  • Joel S. Feiner, M.D. for his long career of day-in and day-out ethical practice, most recently as clinical and training director of Mental Health Connections in Dallas, where he continued to improve clinical care for the most severely mental ill, even as managed care cost-cutting challenged his unique inpatient services.

2000 AWARDS:

  • Noel Drury, M.D., as “A Clinician Model” for leading a successful coalition challenge to Magellan Behavioral Health in Montana, while continuing his dedication to public sector patient care.

  • The Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc. and Peter Davidson, M.D., Medical Director, as “An Organizational Model” for developing new ways to be ethically cost-effective, including forming a cooperative relationship among agencies that incorporated prevention and outreach to those at risk.

  • David A. Pollack, M.D., as “A Political Model” for extending his political skills with a Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship in Washington, D.C. and at the same time contributing significantly to legislation concerning mental health and managed care.

  • Andres Pumariega, M.D., Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Eastern Tennessee State University, as “An Academic Model” for leading a national effort to incorporate cultural competence into public sector managed behavioral systems.

  • Roy C. Wilson, M.D., Director, State of Missouri Department of Mental Health, as “An Administrative “Model” for his leadership in slowly and carefully transforming his state’s Medicaid Managed Care system.

1999 AWARDS:

  • Clifton Tennison, Jr., M.D. and the Helen Ross McNobb Center, for courageously struggling to provide essential services to those most in need, while Tennessee’s mental health system was decimated by an ill-advised managed care initiative, and for successfully working at the same time to transform that system.

1999 Most Honorable Mentions:

  • David E. Dangerfield, D.S.W. for his leadership in the successful development of the capitated Prepaid Mental Health Plan for the Medicaid population in Utah.

  • Ryan Finkenbine, M.D., Charleston, South Carolina, a recently graduated psychiatric resident, for his emerging leadership in developing a Psychiatry Access Center that successfully and ethically incorporated managed care principles.

  • Paulette Gillig, M.D., Ph.D., for her work in establishing a network of rural services in a managed care environment in Ohio.

  • David A. Pollack, M.D., for his tireless efforts to incorporate mental health needs in Oregon’s managed care-based health plan transformation.