News & Updates

I am so delighted to be the 2015 President of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA).  I truly believe I am your President, representing psychologists in Minnesota during a time of significant change in the delivery of healthcare across Minnesota.  Already in my 3 weeks as your MPA President, there has been a lot of buzz about the Minnesota January 2015 mandate pertaining to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the Executive Summary of the Minnesota Mental Health Workforce Plan.

In the area of Electronic Health Records (EHR), MPA established an Electronic Health Records task force that has been very active in seeking to understand the demands of e-health so as to educate and make recommendations to our members and other mental health professionals.  MPA sponsored two education and training sessions on Health Reform and Electronic Records, in February of 2014 and in January of 2015, and psychologists continue to have many questions and concerns regarding privacy and security, as well as the information that needs to be included in an electronic health record.  This Minnesota Department of Health link provides some guidance for understanding this mandate and includes some recommendations for the adoption and effective use of EHRs.  This can be found at: Guidance for Understanding the Minnesota 2015 Interoperable EHR Mandate.

MPA will also do what it can in 2015 to address questions and concerns about EHR from our membership.  Our MPA 2015 Annual Convention, held at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth on Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28, will include two keynote speakers and a number of break-out sessions that are relevant to psychologists in a time of change. Included are break-out sessions on health care reforms as well as the Minnesota 2015 EHR mandate, and experts on EHR from MPA and the Minnesota Department of Health will be sharing knowledge and addressing your concerns and questions.  Please “SAVE THE DATE” for our MPA 2015 Annual Convention on March 27 and 28.

I am also very pleased to read the Executive Summary of the Minnesota Mental Health Workforce Plan.  Dr. Trisha Stark was the MPA representative on the Steering Committee for this project, and other MPA members including myself participated in break-out sessions across the state.  The proposed recommendations and initiatives are good for psychologists and good for the people of Minnesota.  Click here to access the executive summary.

Finally, I am very pleased that MPA is working hard to lobby our Senators and Representatives on issues relevant to psychologists.  For example, at the State level we will introduce language that would assure that psychologists and other mental health professionals can direct Behavioral Health Homes for people with serious and persistent mental illness so they can receive care that is coordinated or integrated with primary care.  We are supportive of a bill to increase the Medical Assistance payment by 23.7% to match the increase given to critical access providers in 2007.  Learn and even help us lobby.  Please save the date on March 12 for the Mental Health Day at the Capitol in Minnesota, and click here for more information on this event.

MPA is also sending a delegation to the American Psychological Association’s State Leadership Conference on March 14 – 17 in Washington, DC.  At this conference, our delegation will be visiting with our Minnesota Senators and Representatives on issues relevant to psychologists and mental health care at a Federal level.  For example, we will ask our senators and representatives to support legislation to add psychologists to Medicare’s “physician” definition, which will allow psychologists to provide services independently in all Medicare-covered treatment facilities.  We will also ask our representatives to help change Medicare’s payment formula for psychologists.  APA has tracked our Medicare payment rates for a number of years, and averaged together, Medicare payment rates for psychologists’ services have declined by more than 36% since 2007, adjusted for inflation.  MPA would like to see this problem fixed.

Special thanks to 2013 MPA President, Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D. and to 2014 MPA President, Steve Vincent, Ph.D., for their mentorship and their dedication for the education and training of psychologists, and for their passion in providing effective mental health care in the State of Minnesota.

If you are a member of the Minnesota Psychological Association, thank you!  If you are not a member of MPA, please join now.  Click here for a quick link to MPA’s membership page .

Scott Palmer, Ph.D., L.P., is the Director of the Behavioral Health Clinic at St. Cloud Hospital, an assistant adjunct professor at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, and is President of the Minnesota Psychological Association.  He is a volunteer member of the Red Cross, where he provides psychological first aid to survivors of local or national disasters.  He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and uses MI in his practice to help people move toward positive change.

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