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New NAATP chair looks forward to healthcare reform

May 18, 2009
by Brian Albright
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Cathy Palm begins a two-year term as national discussions accelerate

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) has selected Cathy L. Palm, MBA, CPA, as its new board chair. Palm, executive director of Tully Hill Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Tully, New York, was NAATP’s vice-chair and this week takes over from outgoing chair Edward Diehl, president of Seabrook House in Seabrook, New Jersey.

Palm, who has worked as an executive in the manufacturing and accounting industries, was one of Tully Hill’s founding board members and has been involved with the facility since 1989. She joined NAATP's board in 2000 and has served as the association's national conference chair, treasurer, and secretary. The NAATP chair serves a two-year term.

As NAATP chair, Palm says her focus will be on continuing to provide value-added services (such as the annual benchmarking and salary surveys) to members, and on having a voice in high-profile public-policy issues.

"We've made a commitment as a board and as an organization to be included in public- policy conversations around parity, the national health record, and the larger issue of healthcare reform," Palm says.

Key among the topics NAATP wants to see addressed in those discussions are privacy and confidentiality requirements for electronic health records, as well as access to cost-effective addiction treatment.

In the short term, Palm sees the economy as the biggest challenge facing the recovery community.

"Facilities that are in the self-pay market are experiencing some challenges right now, and we all have to be mindful of our business decisions," Palm explains. "Those in the public sector need to advocate that their states continue to fund those public programs."

NAATP announced Palm's election during its annual conference in Florida this week.

Brian Albright is a freelance writer. Photo: Cathy L. Palm, MBA, CPA