MPA President-Elect Remarks

These are my first remarks in my role as President-Elect, and serve as a prelude to my year as President beginning January 1, 2018. I plan to use this forum to keep MPA members informed both about what the organization is doing and how it is doing it. My comments will appear on the website approximately every other month, and at times more frequently as is warranted. In each of my reports to you, I will provide some depth on a particular aspect of MPA and how it works. In today’s comments, I give my sense of what we are about, what we focus on, and what we believe. I also briefly mention some pressing matters regarding reimbursement for services and briefly discuss our annual meeting set to occur in April of 2018. I close by again introducing you to the Harrington Company, our new Association Management Company (AMC), and to our new Executive Director, Michelle Herr.

What are we about? Unlike a business, a practice, or an academic setting, our association is a group of psychologists who choose to affiliate through being members. Our purpose is to support both the field of psychology and the profession of psychology. Most of our members are professional licensed psychologists; it is important to promote the development of professional psychology and to protect our profession when needed. We also are part of a larger group of psychologists who embrace the broad aspirations of our field. This means we will speak out on broader issues that are important for all of us. Our recent statement on the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an example of our underlying beliefs and commitment to freedom from violence, discrimination, and support for free and respectful speech. We want our tent to be large and broad and provide a warm welcome to all psychologists - especially those who come from differing cultural backgrounds. We desire to be a diverse, inclusive, and respectful group that strives to assist, as feasible, in reducing unequal and inherent disparities in our various communities. These beliefs are a fundamental part of MPA’s core values.

Current events. This past year, we reconstituted our Payer Committee. This committee is extremely important because we are in a time of turmoil regarding reimbursement for services and changes in the insurance landscape. Most recently, the focus has been on Blue Cross Blue Shield. BCBS appears to be both cutting rates and planning to recover (referred to as claw back) previous payments made to providers. This news was the focus of an extensive article in the Star Tribune on Wednesday, September 6. MPA representatives (Trisha Stark, Robin McLeod, Steve Girardeau) recently attended a meeting sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to discuss not only BCBS problems but general payer issues, including network adequacy. A wide range of stakeholders were in attendance, including State Department of Commerce representatives and journalists. While MPA cannot represent a particular group of providers (this would violate Federal antitrust statutes), we can and did raise concerns about the impact of slashed rates on access to care for clients and patients, as well as the problems with narrow networks. MPA will continue to be heavily involved in this process. Steve Girardeau (Current MPA President) provided a summary of the issues and of this meeting on September 12. This topic will be addressed in future communications, both on the MPA website and through our network of listservs.

Annual Meeting. I am delighted to report we will be having an exciting and content-rich Annual Convention on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West (in Plymouth - the same location as this past year). Our theme is “Sharpening Clinical Skill to Enhance Client Care.” I have been attending the Annual Meeting Committee as a participant and co-chair with Mary Louise Stevens over the summer. The committee is dedicated to providing a timely conference with many presentations that focus on clinical skills and practice across the broad spectrum of clients. We are currently in the process of soliciting our plenary speakers and presenters. The solicitation for presentations has gone out (with instructions on how to submit), and I encourage all of you to consider submitting a proposal to the committee. Instructions can also be found on the MPA website.

I know many of you from my work with MPA over the years, and look forward to working with you in my new role next year. I am equally aware there are many people in the organization whom I don’t know or only recognize by name. I hope to meet as many of you as I can. If you want to discuss a topic related to the organization, please send me an email at [email protected] or call me on my mobile phone at (612) 418-1952. I encourage all of you to participate in the organization and I am happy to receive any comments, field questions, or address concerns from you. Please reach out.

I close by noting we are now almost one month into our new relationship with The Harrington Company and our new Executive Director, Michelle Herr. As this year comes to a close, Michelle will be working more closely with all of us. We are delighted with our new relationship with The Harrington Company and with Michelle. Michelle can be reached at our new MPA number: (952) 928-4657. The MPA office is now located at 4248 Park Glen Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416. Park Glen Road is located just south of Highway 7 and just east of Highway 100 on the west side of town.

Bruce Bobbitt, PhD, LP, is MPA’s President-Elect, and is set to serve as MPA President beginning January 1, 2018.

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