From MPA's President-Elect Steven M. Vincent, Ph.D., L.P. - MPA's Progress Serves and Needs All of Us

In October of this year, Minnesota is scheduled to open its on-line insurance exchange, part of the health care reform measures in the Affordable Care Act that passed Congress in 2009.  They have been working their way through the courts and the regulatory process ever since.  In January, Minnesota will begin its Medicaid (known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance) expansion to cover more people, many of whom have no insurance now—another provision of the Affordable Care Act, also frequently referred to as Obama Care.  MPA’s work at the capitol in St. Paul, in collaboration with many others, helped to provide an increase of 5% in Medical Assistance rates that goes into effect on September 1, 2014.

Also, as I reported last month, MPA’s bill passed in this year’s legislative session, and now psychologists are included with psychiatrists and advanced practice psychiatric nurses as mental health professionals who can be paid by Medical Assistance for providing consultation to primary care providers.  At the same time, Minnesota is working its way towards establishing a structure for Behavioral Health Homes, a version of Healthcare Homes that focuses on serving people with serious and persistent mental illnesses.  Integration of primary care and psychological services are a central tenet of such homes.

And with respect to yet another change, progress continues on implementation of the 2007 state law requiring all health care providers, including psychologists, to have interoperable electronic health records (EHR) in place by January 1, 2015.  The term “interoperable” means that the EHR can communicate with other EHRs.  MPA’s Electronic Health Record Task Force has been working diligently to identify the needs and concerns of psychologists relating to these requirements.

The Common Threads

In all of the topics mentioned in preceding paragraphs, and in many other topics impacting the science, teaching and practice of psychology, there are at least three common threads.  First, very significant changes are coming that will have broad impact on individual psychologists, on the discipline of psychology, and on society.  Second, these changes are complex in many ways and involve structural, financial, technological, and human factors.  Third, MPA is working actively to assist psychologists and the people of Minnesota with the changes that are happening and will continue to happen.

The Call

The opening paragraphs above describe many accomplishments of MPA, and simultaneously point to much that still needs to be done.  These accomplishments have resulted from the active engagement of MPA members in legislative affairs, state regulatory committees, and MPA’s own committees and task forces.  Through all of these activities, MPA has served all of us.  To continue to serve, MPA needs all of us to be engaged.

Here’s what each of us can do.  First, make sure we are MPA members.  Our strength is truly in numbers.  If you have not joined MPA, please do so.  If you are a member, thank you and please make sure to renew your membership.  Over the last five years, MPA has seen a significant decline in members, as have almost all professional organizations, but we are starting to reverse this trend, and every membership provides strength.  Second, stay informed about MPA, and through MPA learn what is happening that impacts our discipline.  Third, get involved with MPA activities in any and every way that makes sense for you—educational events such as First Friday Forums or the President’s conference coming this Fall; participation in divisions, committees or task forces; or consider running for a seat on the Governing Council.


MPA is making a positive difference and can do even more with the active participation of all psychologists.  The reasons for participating are valuable and valid:  participating makes things better for the person participating; participating strengthens psychology, to which we are each indebted for what it has given us; participating improves and strengthens our society.  Please engage with MPA for all of these reasons.

Steven M. Vincent, Ph.D., L.P., works with Behavioral Health Services, CentraCare Health System ([email protected]).  Dr. Vincent is the current president-elect of MPA, having served two terms on the Governing Council from 2003 to 2009, and as a Legislative Committee Chair from 2004-2012.   Steve was also on the Governing Council of the American Hospital Association Section on Psychiatric and Substance Abuse services from 2010 through 2012.  He is the founding chair of the Minnesota Hospital Associations Mental Health Task Force.

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