From MPA's President Steve Vincent, Ph.D., L.P.: A Celebratory Round Trip

A Psychology Celebration in Washington, D.C.

Having recently returned from APA’s State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Washington, D.C., I am again proud of both psychology and Minnesota.  Each year at SLC there are two awards ceremonies which honor, respectively, 1) winners of Psychology Healthy Workplace Awards [PHWA], and 2) individuals and state associations that have made significant contributions to advancing psychology through advocacy.  Minnesota produced winners for each of these ceremonies.

St. Luke’s Hospital Redux

St. Luke’s Hospital from Duluth won the national Psychologically Health Workplace Award in the category of large non-profit companies.  Making this award even more satisfying is the fact that it comes on top of last year’s PHWA to St. Luke’s for Best Practice, which it won for its program on safe patient handling.  St. Luke’s found the Best Practice award so gratifying that it chose to re-apply in pursuit of the overall award and came out a winner again.  St. Luke’s accomplishments are, obviously, a great testimony to their culture and to the value they place on the psychological well-being of their staff.  For MPA, this award is also a testament to the work done by the PHWA Committee, co-chaired by Jay McNamara, Ph.D. and Jenn Pollard, M.A.  By identifying psychologically healthy workplaces and guiding them through the detailed process of application, the PHWA Committee has brought honor to MPA and facilitated St. Luke’s receiving the recognition it deserves.  By recognizing and honoring psychologically healthy workplaces, MPA and APA reinforce those healthy behaviors that are so valuable because they not only contribute to healthy employees, but also because those employees carry that health with them to their homes, their families and their communities—making the world a better place.

Groundbreaking Legislation

During the second award ceremony at SLC, Minnesota State Senator Julie Rosen won APA’s national State Legislator of the Year award.  In the 2013 Minnesota legislative session, Senator Rosen sponsored passage of MPA’s bill, which makes it possible for psychologists to be paid by Medicaid (aka Medical Assistance) for providing consultation to primary care providers.  This is a huge advance for psychology as the era of integrated care continues to gather steam.  To say that other state leaders were impressed would be a dramatic understatement.  Presidents of several state associations approached me to ask how this was accomplished.  The answers are concepts that psychologists understand very well:  perseverance and relationships.  The perseverance—MPA worked on this bill for six years.  The relationships—those built by Senator Rosen and Trisha Stark, Ph.D., MPA’s Legislative Committee chair, with other legislators over many years.  Credit must also be given to Patrick Lobejko, MPA’s lobbyist, for helping us find Senator Rosen to sponsor our bill, again demonstrating the power and value of relationships.

Most of us are probably proud of living in a state with squeaky-clean politics.  A downside of such cleanliness became apparent when Senator Rosen could not come to Washington to receive her award.  With the Minnesota legislature in session, she was not allowed to accept airfare and lodging from APA, nor could she spend her own campaign funds for this purpose.  The happy ending is that Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., President of APA will be a keynote speaker at MPA’s annual convention and she will present the award to Senator Rosen on April 12 at our awards luncheon—yet one more great reason to attend the convention.

Celebrating the Past and Preparing for the Future

Even as SLC recognized MPA for past accomplishments, it also revealed how Minnesota and MPA are leading us into the future.  Electronic health records (EHRs) were a big topic at SLC, and it is clear that Minnesota has progressed further in EHR adoption than most states, quite possibly further than any other state.  The January 1, 2015 deadline for all healthcare providers, including psychologists, to have interoperable EHRs (that is, an EHR capable of exchanging information with other EHRs) weighs heavily on many psychologists.   MPA knows this and is leading efforts with the state, other behavioral health professions, and other entities to pursue all possible means of support for psychology practitioners.

A Psychology Celebration in Minnesota

Whether we look to past accomplishments or to future challenges and opportunities, it is clear that MPA serves both psychology and our state.  MPA offers psychologists a place for connection, protection and growth and an avenue to contribute.  Please take advantage of membership in MPA to both gain and contribute.  Our annual convention will take place on April 11 and 12 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth.  Not coincidentally, the theme of the convention is Connection, Protection and Growth.  Your attendance and participation will contribute to making the convention a vibrant and inspiring event that is both educational and celebratory.  Please come and make MPA’s Annual Convention as powerful as APA’s State Leadership Conference—celebrating the past and inspiring the future.

Steven M. Vincent, Ph.D., L.P., recently retired as Director of Behavioral Health Services, CentraCare Health System.  Dr. Vincent is the current President of MPA, having served two terms on the Governing Council from 2003 to 2009, and as 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 Association’s Mental Health Task Force.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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