2017 Legislative Updates

Robin McLeod, Ph.D., LP
Immediate Past President, Minnesota Psychological Association
[email protected]

December 14, 2017

Senator Jim Carlson Awarded Presidential Citation by Psychologists
Senator Carlson Advocated for Solutions to Regulatory Challenges

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn — The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) presented Senator Jim Carlson, who represents Eagan and Burnsville, with a Presidential Citation at a luncheon today. Constituents told Sen. Carlson of challenges they experienced with the regulatory board for licensure of psychologists. Sen. Carlson’s quick action and aplomb helped to engage a variety of stakeholders in a discussion resulting in legislative changes and improved working relationships between psychologists and their licensing board.

Sen. Carlson contacted MPA to inquire about concerns being voiced by his constituents. He then brought additional legislators into the conversation, as well as the governor’s office. Representatives of universities and psychology met with the Board of Psychology and engaged in crucial problem-solving. Concerns raised with the Board of Psychology have been addressed, and a rapprochement developed between the parties. Applicants now are becoming licensed more quickly with fewer unnecessary disputes. Minnesotans have improved access to psychological services while public protection remains the highest priority.

The psychology community was at loggerheads. With Sen. Carlson’s guidance, we were able to engage in dialogue and address unnecessary complexity in licensure and oversight processes and improve the availability of safe and effective psychological services. ” said MPA Past President Dr. Robin McLeod.

Jim Carlson served as a representative to the Minnesota Legislature from 2007-2011 and has served as a Minnesota Senator since 2012. The mission of the Minnesota Psychological Association is to serve the science of psychology and its applications throughout Minnesota so the interests of public welfare and psychologists are mutually enhanced.

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Contact: Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP
President, Minnesota Psychological Association
[email protected]

December 14, 2017

Representative Deb Kiel Honored as a Psychologists’ Legislative Champion, Named 2017 Legislator of the Year

Kiel brought groups together, facilitating understanding and compromise

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn — The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) presented Representative Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, their legislator of the year award at a luncheon on Thursday, December 14.  Rep. Kiel was instrumental in passing legislation to support the profession of psychology, ultimately improving access to psychological services for Minnesotans. 

Rep. Kiel’s legislation brought needed clarification to the requirements for psychology licensure.  While working on the bill, concerns arose that the language could negatively impact the work of life coaches, resulting in many frantic calls to legislators.  Representative Kiel brought representatives for psychologists and life coaches together, expertly defusing what could have been a contentious situation, allowing both groups to come to consensus so neither group’s scope of work was negatively impacted. 

“Representative Kiel’s quick intervention ameliorated a potential powder keg, which could have negatively impacted Minnesotans.  Her ability to bring together disparate groups and facilitate dialogue is priceless,” said MPA President Dr. Steven Girardeau.  

The legislation also included provisions to increase flexibility in the timing and content of diagnostic assessment services for individuals with mental health concerns, paving the way to greater access to care that better meets individual needs. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Minnesota Psychological Association,” said Rep. Kiel. “I will continue to advocate for legislation and policies that focus on mental health and the well-being of Minnesota citizens and professionals in this field.” 

Representative Kiel, first elected in 2010, is currently serving her fourth term in the Minnesota legislature. The mission of the Minnesota Psychological Association is to serve the science of psychology and its applications throughout Minnesota so the interests of public welfare and psychologists are mutually enhanced.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Psychological Association.

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December 5, 2017

To: Minnesota Psychologists

The MN Department of Commerce Wants to Hear From You

The Department of Commerce is urging individuals to make complaints based on problematic payer experiences. They are only able to act on the basis of complaints that are submitted. While they previously had preferred complaints from consumers, they understand that making such a complaint can be challenging for patients. Now, they are open to complaints from providers. Complaints that don’t fall under Commerce jurisdiction will be routed to the appropriate department.

Commerce needs to hear from constituents/patients, families/friends, and providers. They especially need to hear when people believe their health insurance benefits have not been in parity with medical/physical health benefits.

Examples can surface in the form of non-quantitative treatment limits: 

  • Service payment issues that contribute to relatively fewer providers to choose from
  • Needing health insurance coverage for/accessibility to residential treatment, crisis treatment
  • Excessively burdensome prior authorization, concurrent, and retrospective review requirements for services including, but not limited to: prescription drugs, emergency services, continued treatment, appointment availability after initial patient appointment

Documents that show how to file a complaint:

Commerce Contact Handout.pdf





May 8, 2017

To:  Minnesota psychologists

From:  William J. Amberg, JD, MA, Government Relations Counsel

            Trisha A. Stark, PhD, LP, MPA, Legislative Chair

This is both a review of current Minnesota legislative action being carried out by the Minnesota Psychological Association and a call to action. Please respond to any or all issues.

  1. Where we are at—the legislative leadership and governor’s office are in discussion about what should be appropriate budget targets. It’s unclear how this process will go, towards a negotiated bill for Health and Human Services (HHS), or a bill passed by the House and Senate that is ultimately vetoed by the governor, leading to further negotiations. There are stark differences in budget targets, with the governor’s HHS budget of +$500 million, the House and Senate target of a -$500 million cut.
    Our request- Please contact the Governor’s office and ask him to stand firm on an adequate HHS budget so that Minnesotans have needed mental health care. https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/

  2. Changes to Psychology Practice Act—We are pleased that changes to the practice act focused on licensure requirements for psychologists working in academic settings and supervision requirements were added to the latest version of the HHS Omnibus bill. There is still a ways to go, but we are hopeful that our language will carry through the legislative process.
    Our request—Please thank the Senate conferees for including our language regarding the Psychology Practice Act in the HHS Omnibus bill, and ask for their continued support. mailto:[email protected],  mailto:[email protected][email protected], Senator Paul Utke at http://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1205&ls=[email protected]  Also thank our bill author in the House, Representative Debra Kiel [email protected] who was enormously helpful in dealing with some challenges we faced.

  3. Requirement for providers to list prices of services by CPT code. Providers likely will be required to list their most commonly used CPT codes and their retail prices on their websites and handouts.  Senator Abeler is willing to support an amendment that would give use more time to comply with the requirement. When session is complete, expect to get more specifics about needed changes from 
    Our request—Please thank Senator Jim Abeler for sponsoring the amendment that would give providers until 1/1/2018 to comply with listing of prices by CPT codes. mailto:[email protected]

  4. Changes to the Brief Diagnostic Assessment—MPA, in concert with other groups, has supported language that would allow increased flexibility in meeting the requirements of the brief diagnostic assessment. This is especially needed in integrated behavioral healthcare settings. It allows information for the full Diagnostic Assessment to be gathered during the subsequently authorized ten sessions. The language was heard and adopted in the House, but did not make it into the HHS omnibus budget bill.
    Our request—Please thank Representative Debra Kiel for her efforts to get this language amended to the HHS Omnibus bill or other appropriate HHS policy bill. [email protected], You can also ask your Representative to support the bill when it comes to the House floor. You can find out who represents you here http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

Thank you for your efforts to support our profession. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.

William J. Amberg, JD, MA
Minnesota Psychological Association Government Relations Counsel
mailto:[email protected]

Trisha Stark, PhD, LP
Minnesota Psychological Association Legislative Chair
mailto:[email protected]