This month, two of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s top medical experts will be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for their outstanding contributions to the field of psychiatry. Dr. William Beecroft, medical director of behavioral health for Blue Care Network (BCN), will be named a Distinguished Lifetime Fellow, while Dr. Duane DiFranco, senior medical director of Health Care Value for BCN, will be named a Distinguished Fellow. The honors are well-deserved: Both serve on Blue Cross’ opioid task force, treat members in-person, and regularly share their wealth of knowledge with others. Be sure to catch them live on Facebook covering mental health and opioids as well as other topics.
About the Doctors
Dr. Beecroft’s role at Blue Cross covers a variety of areas including policy development. He is responsible for the day-to-day care management of members’ mental health benefits and has been involved in developing the clinical response to the opioid crisis for BCBSM and BCN. He is also a board-certified psychiatrist, with added qualifications in geriatrics and psychosomatic medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. His roots run deep in Michigan, having graduated from Michigan State University and practiced primarily in Lansing for more than 35 years. In his spare time, Dr. Beecroft also volunteers with nonprofit Wings of Mercy East, helping patients fly to and from the medical treatments they need for free.
Dr. DiFranco’s current function at BCN is primarily within the Health Care Value team, supporting decisions regarding how care is administered and mental health is treated. He is a graduate of both the University of Notre Dame and University of Michigan, serving on the faculty at the latter for 10 years before joining BCN in 2007.
About the Honors
The fellowship is the highest membership honor the APA bestows upon its members and only a select group of physicians receive it nationwide each year. It’s awarded to psychiatrists who have made major contributions to the profession. Honorees are required to have made an impact in at least five key areas: administration, teaching, scientific and scholarly publications, volunteerism in mental health and medical activities of social significance, community involvement,
and clinical excellence. “Lifetime” status is achieved when a doctor’s age plus total years of membership equal 95; however, the traditional honor can be bestowed to any APA member who achieves the proper criteria.
In addition to their contributions to the profession, nominees of the fellowship are also required to have at least eight consecutive years as a general member or fellow of the organization; certifications across several medical boards, supporting input and nomination from colleagues; involvement in medical organizations, community organizations or professional organizations; and recognized contributions across a handful of neurology medical boards, administrative roles, teaching roles and publications.
The doctors will be presented with their awards during the annual APA meeting in New York City on May 7.
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Photo credit: Brad K.