From MPA's President-Elect Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., L.P.

Hello to all, my name is Steve Girardeau and I am your president-elect for MPA.  I will serve my presidential year in 2017 beginning my presidency at the same time as the individual we elect to be our next national president.  I offer the observation not because I think my presidency will be as important or impactful for the nation but to connect the processes of the national, state and local elections to our national and state associations. 

In both arenas there has been a great deal of polarization and acrimonious shouting about issues rather than a drive to participate in a rationale discourse on the issues that face us both as a nation and more to the point of this article, as an association.  MPA has weathered a difficult year, the year of EHR implementation, thanks to the strong leadership of Scott Palmer.  The most striking news of 2015 being that quite a few vocal individuals who had not been all that involved in MPA seemed to believe that MPA was a silent partner to the Minnesota Department of Health in the creation and implementation of the EHR mandate.  Having been active in the legislative committee and governing council, and having attended MPA conventions in the years leading up to 2015, I was surprised at their surprise.  MPA had informed the membership of the process as it proceeded, requested feedback, and provided informational content at the conferences in those years.  There was little notice paid and little concern expressed.  It was only after implementation was upon us and there was a direct impact on people’s immediate practice that there was surprise, disappointment and frustration that, “something should have been done.”

I bring this up not as a judgment; as a profession we are fighting increasing costs, decreasing reimbursement in inflation adjusted dollars, and pressures from other professions in the marketplace.  There can often seem to be little time or energy to address issues that seem far away and not about our immediate practice.  This is the reality of our profession at this time. 

I do bring this up as a cautionary tale; the implementation of EHR while difficult for our profession is nothing in comparison to the changes that are coming down the road for the provision of health care in general and for the provision of mental health care in particular.  New models of care and new models of payment are the direction that payers are heading.  ACOs, behavioral health homes, and population health are the wave that is building out to sea.  If we do not participate in the forming of these changes, this wave is one that will not be the kind and gentle wave that we had with EHR, it will be a tsunami which could forever alter that landscape of heath care and our participation in it.  This is not something anyone should be surprised about, but do you even know what ACOs, behavioral health homes or population health really are?  If not, I suggest you learn.

I was brought up in an environment of participation in the world.  The belief I grew up with was that if you did not vote through your participation, you cannot complain about the results.  I would add to that the belief that if you participate enough in the processes of the world, the world will be more like you would want it to be and so there is little to complain about. 

We at MPA will do our part to keep you informed about the world.  The participation part is up to you.

Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., L.P., is the Director of Clinical Services of Mental Health Systems, member of the MPA legislative committee and General Member of the MPA Governing Council, and a member of APA, MPA, and ABCT.  He provides psychological services in residential, community mental health centers, private practice and intensive outpatient settings with a wide variety of at risk and underserved clients.  He is the current president-elect of MPA and training director of the APPIC internship training site.


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