2018 Legislative Updates

December 18, 2018

What The Future Holds For The Minnesota Provider Tax

The Provider Tax is scheduled to end December 31, 2019. No other funding source has been developed to support the  important services currently covered by the tax. Please read this summary and assist us by contacting your legislators to weigh in on alternatives to the Provider Tax.

Call your legislator! 
Click here for talking points.

Why it matters

Early career psychologists, students, and individuals employed in large systems of care may be unaware of the impact of the Provider Tax. The Provider Tax is the main funding source for MinnesotaCare, the state health care program for low income working Minnesotans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but struggle to afford insurance in the market. While the tax applies to all healthcare providers, those in small group or solo practice have especially felt the burden of the Provider Tax for many years.  Minnesota psychologists generally support the provision of healthcare services to the working poor, but feel that it is a broad value to Minnesotans and, as such, should be funded by what’s known as the general fund, so that all Minnesotans paying taxes contribute.  The Provider Tax is scheduled to “sunset” (end)  at the end of 2019, but significant efforts have been made to keep the Provider Tax in place to ensure healthcare coverage for needy Minnesotans.  Providers are hoping for other answers to this crucial funding issue.

A brief history

The Minnesota healthcare provider tax began in 1992 and included a 2% tax on gross revenues for a wide variety of healthcare providers. This funding initially was instituted as a short-term fix to provide some minimal healthcare coverage for the working poor who made too much money to participate in Medicaid know as Medical Assistance in Minnesota, but who were unable to obtain employer-based health insurance and could not afford individual insurance. The provider tax was to be an interim step on the way to single payer insurance, which was anticipated to occur within a couple of years. The provider tax is deposited into the Health Care Access Fund, along with a 1% tax on HMO premiums, which provides for what has come to be called MNCare insurance coverage. Individuals receiving such coverage pay premiums and co-pays based upon income.

Over time, the coverage has become much more substantial. The Health Care Access Fund, initially intended to only provide revenue for MNCare, has been raided in lean times to cover other state expenses in years when there was a deficit.  Providers were outraged at this misuse of these funds and legislation was passed requiring that the Health Care Access Fund be used for other healthcare programming for Minnesotans. Technically, the Provider Tax is paid by insurance companies and there is simply a pass through by healthcare providers. This doesn’t take into account the cost of accounting and reporting for providers. Projects such as school-based mental health services, and mental health provider payment increases for Medical Assistance services have been funded through the Health Care Access Fund. There has been increasing reliance on the Health Care Access Fund to cover the state’s portion of Medical Assistance expenses. Beginning in 2014, the cost of MNCare was largely funded by the federal government through the Affordable Care Act and Minnesota’s establishment of a Basic Health Plan. Minnesota is one of two states that opted for the Basic Health Plan, relying at least initially on federal funds. But then the Affordable Care Act was threatened, and it is unclear that federal funds will continue to fund MNCare insurance for the working poor.

After twenty-seven years, the provider tax is slated to end December 31, 2019, but no provisions have been put in place to fund coverage for the over 80,000 Minnesotans who rely upon MNCare for their insurance coverage, and the many other Minnesotans that rely on the Health Care Access Fund for assistance with long term healthcare needs. The sunset legislation was predicated upon the hope that the Affordable Care Act would continue to fund at least some of the costs for MNCare. Given the dismantling of the ACA, many Minnesotans’ lives are at risk. Without the Provider Tax, many Minnesotans may be left without insurance.

A bill to repeal the sunset was introduced during the 2017-2018 legislative session. With the 2019 Minnesota House switching to democratic majority, it is likely that a bill repealing the sunset will be introduced and passed in the house. The Minnesota Senate has a republican majority and they likely are less likely to initiate what would essentially be a new tax.  Governor-elect Walz campaigned on the repeal of the sunset of the Provider Tax. If the Provider Tax does sunset, it will leave a $1.5 Billion deficit in the budget, targeted at health and human services.

Where we stand

Are we stuck between eliminating funding for healthcare for Minnesota’s most vulnerable or taxing providers? There may be another answer. As mentioned, the tax is technically paid by insurance companies but passes through providers. Why do something so cumbersome? The Provider Tax was set up as a pass through in order to capture additional funds for the services provided through self-insured large companies. It was thought that just taxing the insurer and getting them to pay would not be allowed for self-insured or ERISA plans.

However, Michigan recently put taxing all payers to the test. Michigan has a 1% tax on all healthcare services PAID BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY. Michigan law included a tax on these ERISA plans, which make up about half of health insurance plans. Of course, Michigan was taken to court by these ERISA plans. ERISA plans are governed by federal law and thus were thought not to be subject to state requirements. However, the court found that taxing payers for all healthcare services, including ERISA, is not a violation of federal law. The ERISA plans appealed the decision, and the finding that they must pay was upheld. They attempted to appeal to the Supreme Court, but they declined to hear the case, meaning that it is settled law.

What you can do

Please help us get the word out to legislators about this option to fund Minnesota’s Health Care Programs by taxing payers for healthcare services. Minnesota will get the funds it needs to provide healthcare services and providers will not be burdened by the record keeping and accounting to pass through the tax. Please call or email your legislator and ask them to support legislation that would require insurance companies to fund Minnesota health care programs.

You can find out who represents you at https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact MPA’s legislative chair at [email protected]

Here are your talking points for a phone call or email:

  • I am your constituent and a psychologist. I have concerns about the repeal of the sunset of the provider tax to fund MinnesotaCare and other health related projects.
  • The provider tax, as currently configured, is unnecessarily burdensome to providers of healthcare, especially small provider groups.
  • Providing healthcare coverage through Minnesota Health Plans is a value held by all Minnesotans.
  • By assessing a fee to payers for a percentage of healthcare services, the funds currently coming from the provider tax could be collected more simply with less administrative burden for the state, providers, and payers.
  • Assessing payers based on a percentage of healthcare services is a fairer way to collect needed funds and spreads the cost across all Minnesotans.
  • All healthcare services provided in the state can be subject to the assessment of payers, including ERISA plans. This issue was litigated in Michigan and it is settled law. Payers can be required to pay an assessment, including for ERISA plans.
  • Please support efforts to replace the provider tax with this new assessment of payers.
  • Provide your contact information in case your representative or senator has additional questions.


November 13, 2018

Though the next legislative session won’t open until January 3, 2019, MPA’s legislative committee is hard at work on important issues. We have been meeting with legislators and are planning a big grassroots push for early January to get our issues in front of legislators. So what are the issues? Medical assistance reimbursement, the Provider Tax, ABA licensure, and mental health parity. If you have questions or input, feel free to contact the chair of the legislative committee at [email protected].

  • 23.7% Medical Assistance increase. In 2007, the legislature gave a 23.7% Medical Assistance reimbursement increase to critical access providers (psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, providers in community mental health centers, and hospital outpatient services), but left out psychologists in most group and other private practices. We maintain that all psychologists are critical to access to care for Minnesotans, and should be reimbursed at the same level as other providers. Once the new legislators settle in, we will be asking MPA members to call, email, or visit with their legislators to talk about the importance of this increase.
  • Provider Tax. The Provider Tax sunsets in January 2019. There is a strong movement afoot among mental health advocacy groups and some legislators to repeal the sunset, and continue the tax in order to continue the funding stream for Minnesota Care. MPA has been in discussion with representatives of other professions and legislators to explore alternatives to help protect psychologists’ income and time required to manage the Provider Tax. Stay tuned for updates that you can bring to your legislators that ensures that the working poor in Minnesota has healthcare coverage but not at the expense of providers.
  • ABA licensure. Another issue that has been percolating is an effort to license individuals who provide behavior analysis services. The most recent proposals focus on licensing individuals who provide oversight to individuals providing the actual service. The license would be based on obtaining a national certification. MPA will continue to work with the government relations personnel working on this licensure as well as staff of the Department of Human Services to ensure that psychology’s scope of practice is protected and that psychologists providing behavioral analysis services do not become subject to undue regulatory requirements or restrictions. Look for more information in future Tuesday updates.
  • Mental Health Parity. In this ten year anniversary of the passage of the Mental Health Parity act, we still see signs of a lack of parity between mental health services and other medical services. Key issues are the failure of reimbursement to keep pace with medical services reimbursement increases and challenges with network adequacy. Patients report difficulty finding providers who are in network, and providers have continuing difficulties getting into provider networks. The result is reduced access to services for Minnesotans. MPA will be working with mental health advocacy groups and other professions to try to bring parity to mental health services.


August 28, 2018

Get a Free MPA T-Shirt!
Join us for the NAMI-MN walk on Friday, September 22 and get a free MPA t-shirt! Walk with other psychologists. Sign up here.

What do I say to candidates to support psychology?
Here are some talking points that you might use to support psychology when candidates call or visit:

  • Please support mental health parity. Though federal legislation was passed ten years ago, we still do not have parity between mental health services and those for physical health. A report has demonstrated that individuals use more out of network services for mental health, and reimbursement for mental health providers is not on par with those for physical health.
  • Please support legislation to require insurance companies to demonstrate network adequacy. Many psychologists struggle to get onto insurance panels, while patients continue to experience challenges in gaining access to services due to insufficient provider panels. Ask candidates to hold insurance companies accountable.
  • Support increased funding for mental health services. Psychologists probably universally feel that reimbursement for their services is inadequate. And while this in itself should be compelling, the issue for candidates is that inadequate reimbursement means inadequate and inequitable access to mental health services for Minnesotans.
  • Support loan forgiveness legislation. Minnesota has insufficient numbers of mental health providers, including psychologists. All but two areas of the state regions are designated by HRSA as mental health provider shortage areas. Individuals are coming out of training with crushing debt. If we are going to build our workforce and have an adequate number of providers, we can no longer ask individuals to take on such debt.

Mental Health Services Improvement Workgroup (MHSIW) Update
A variety of stakeholders are hard at work in concert with DHS and NAMI-MN to work on reforms for our mental health system.

DHS is moving quickly on its plan to integrate mental health and substance abuse services across the agency. The plan includes investment in some new positions, including: a community relations specialist, a new legislative liaison to the director of mental health, a federal block grant manager, a licensing liaison, and a training specialist. The principles guiding the integration include a lifespan continuum focus, a prevention framework, emphasis on health promotion and early intervention, as well as a multigenerational focus. Equity is a guiding tenet for the integration.

As part of the MHSIW, the Uniform Service Standards committee is addressing changes to definitions of services so that there is greater commonality in definitions and requirements resulting in less conflict across DHS lines of service. One aspect is to decide how recipients of service should be named in statute. Both NAMI-MN and Mental Health Association of Minnesota queried members about their preference for how individuals receiving service should be referred to across statute and rule. Most support the use of the term “client” or person first language. The ultimate decision will be made by DHS. Work is ongoing around restructuring the Diagnostic Assessment so that individuals can access the services they need without unnecessary delay or duplication of information.

The Uniform Standards Committee continues to broadly discuss changes to two of the DHS outpatient mental health rules, Rule 47 and Rule 29. 

The MHSIW discussed approaches to implementation of a bonding bill that passed this last session. The legislation set aside $28.1M for bricks and mortar buildings to provide crisis services in communities across the state. What services may be included will depend on the needs of a particular community. The hope is to overcome some of the gaps in service. If you have thoughts about gaps in service delivery, please feel free to share at [email protected].

The MHSIW heard about two projects that are underway based upon direction by the legislature. The DHS policy division is looking at potential changes to the disability waiver system in Minnesota. They will be studying whether it may be advantageous to collapse the number of waivers or change them in some other way. Thus far, policy staff have been in touch with other states to learn about their processes in changing the waiver system. A report is due to the legislature in early 2019. A related project ordered by the legislature is to examine individual budgeting models for disability services that would base services provided on individual assessment of needs, rather than having counties receive an aggregated budget with which to deliver services to individuals with counties making decisions about how to parse the funds, as is now the case. In this process they are also focused on equity, self-direction for clients, sub-population differences, and the need for an exceptions process in determining service needs.

If you were in charge, how would you restructure the Medical Assistance Diagnostic Assessment process?
What parts of the Diagnostic Assessment do you find least helpful? What changes might provide a balance of gathering information to share with other providers, assuring that services are based on a comprehensive assessment, yet allow providers to tailor the assessment to the individual’s needs? The MHSIW has heard that it is problematic for recipients to be required to answer a series of seemingly unnecessary and sometimes intrusive questions when they come with a particular service need. The group is working to be sensitive to the needs of multicultural communities as well as for relationship building prior to asking about certain information. What are your thoughts about how this process, aimed at providing appropriate services based on an integrated understanding of individual needs, might be structured? Feel free to share your ideas at [email protected].


August 14, 2018

No matter what your political persuasion is, it is important that psychologists use their voices through voting. Today, August 14, 2018, is primary day for Minnesota. You can find your polling place here.

Please join us at the state fair on Monday August 27th where there will be the first ever Mental Health Awareness Day. MPA will have a booth in the Dan Patch park. We will be providing written materials for fairgoers, stress balls, and will do relaxation training with biometric dots. Come by and say hi! Interested in volunteering at our booth? Sign up to volunteer here.

We will be hosting a team at the NAMI Walk. Come walk with us. More than 4,000 people from around the state are expected to join in NAMIWalks Minnesota, a 5K walk to raise awareness about mental illnesses and celebrate hope on Sept. 22 at 1:00 p.m., at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. There will be live music, picnics & food trucks, speakers, resource tables, a kid’s tent, a tree of hope, a t-shirt contest and more. The walk supports the efforts of NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to provide education, support and advocacy for children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. To sign up to attend or make a donation for the team effort, click here.

Bipartisan legislation, called the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act of 2018 (H.R.6597), has been introduce in U.S. House of Representatives to address a critical shortage in the number of mental health care providers across the country.

Under the proposed program, the Health Resources and Services Administration would be responsible for repaying up to $250,000 of an individual's student loans if they are not already receiving similar benefits from other federal programs. Eligible providers include any person working full-time in a direct treatment or recovery support capacity for patients recovering from a mental illness, broadly speaking.

Please email or phone your Congressional Representative and ask that they support or co-sponsor this bill. Phone numbers and email contact forms are available here.

We have established an account with Capitol Call to facilitate member's ability to engage in grassroots efforts at the State and National level. Join us! 

To join our team, on your iOS or Android device, download the free Capitol Call app. Also click here and sign up to be a follower for MPA. When you get alerts for issues, feel free to post them on Facebook or Twitter as well as contacting your elected representatives.

July 24, 2018

What is MPA doing about the Provider Tax?

On Saturday July 21, 2018, MPA’s Governing Council passed the following motion regarding the Provider Tax:

The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) supports fair and sustainable funding to continue the provision of healthcare coverage to the MinnesotaCare population through a broader tax on health care claims to be paid and administered by health insurers. MPA does not support the Provider Tax as currently structured; therefore, we support the sunset of the provider tax as scheduled in law for December 31, 2019.

The Provider Tax was initiated in 1992 as a temporary measure to fund healthcare coverage for Minnesotans between 133-200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, Minnesota law makers believed the Provider Tax was no longer needed and passed a law sunsetting the Provider Tax as of December 31, 2019.

It was assumed that funding from the federal government under the ACA for the Basic Health Plan would continue to fund MinnesotaCare. Federal authorities decided not to support the continuation of the Basic Health Plan. Minnesota is one of two states opting for the Basic Health Plan. The attorneys general for Minnesota and New York sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and won. The Basic Health Plan will hopefully continue to fund MinnesotaCare through 2021.

Questions about whether this Basic Health Plan will continue has led some legislators to rethink the sunset of the Provider Tax. In fact, bills were introduced last session calling for the repeal of the sunset. These efforts did not move forward, but likely will resurface in the 2019 legislative session. MPA is in conversation with advocacy and provider groups about the potential need to find alternative funding so that individuals between 133-200% of FPG can continue to have healthcare coverage.

We have taken the position that while on the one hand, it is important to support healthcare coverage for the MinnesotaCare population, on the other, the funding for the coverage should shift so that it is paid for and managed by payers. This restructuring will lead to administrative simplification, reduce cost for providers, and ease the regulatory burden for the state.

MPA will continue to coordinate efforts with other provider groups and you can expect updates about how discussions are progressing.

The Governing Council is interested in your thoughts about this position, and encourage you to reach out if you have additional ideas or thoughts. You can respond to this email [email protected] and your thoughts will be shared with leadership.

What’s in a name?

How should we reference the people we serve in Statute? The Department of Human Services is working with stakeholders to rewrite mental health statute and rules related to Medical Assistance, including the mental health outpatient rule (Rule 47) and the clinic rule (Rule 29). As these discussions move forward, we will be looking for your input.

The current item we’d appreciate input on stems from a desire to harmonize language. We are looking for feedback we can provide to DHS about how clients or patients should be named in statute and rule. They are proposing the following designations: Recipient, Client, Patient, Individual, or Person First language. Currently there is a hodgepodge of references and the goal is to get some uniformity. What are your thoughts about how the people we work with should be identified in statute? Share your thoughts at [email protected].

July 10, 2018

MPA Represents Psychologists at a Community Planning Meeting

Representatives from MPA (Bruce Bobbitt, Robin McLeod, Trisha Stark, and Matt Syzdek) met for a full day retreat as part of a community planning meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network, and a Department of Human Services workgroup known as the Mental Health Services Improvement Workgroup.

MPA is a member of both groups. The retreat occurred to plan for joint legislative advocacy over the next several years, something akin to the Minnesota Mental Health Action Group, a coalition of individuals and groups that helped develop and pass significant mental health legislation in 2007.

For the retreat, attendees were provided with a compendium of past recommendations for mental health, produced by a variety of groups including the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health (2016), the Rural Advisory Committee’s Report on Mental Health and Primary Care (2005), the Chemical and Mental Health Services Transformation Advisory Task Force (2010), the State Advisory Council Report to the Governor and Legislature (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018), and the Mental Health Acute Care Needs Report (2009). With so many sources of recommendations, the retreat group did not want to reinvent the wheel. These reports were reviewed to identify recommendations that have been completed, and those that are still of concern. It was heartening to note that progress had been made on many fronts, but there still is important work to be done.

For the retreat, attendees selected three workgroups to attend. Workgroups included 1) funding, parity, and network adequacy; 2) grants for children’s services; 3) community services for individuals with severe mental illness 4) adult mental health grants; 5) housing issues for individuals with mental illness; 6) employment and education 7) needs for intensive services; 8) mental health concerns in the criminal justice system; and, 9) workforce issues.

The group acknowledged two working groups that are continuing to work on important issues. A community effort looking at changes to the civil commitment law will continue. This group includes a broad representation of stakeholders including families, consumers, providers, advocacy groups, law enforcement, and courts. This group is making recommendations that will address barriers and challenges in the civil commitment system and in correctional settings such as jails. The intent is to ensure services for individuals who need them while being sensitive to their rights. The group put forward legislation this past session but it did not make it through the legislative process. MPA has several representatives attending this civil commitment workgroup. The second working group is for Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) that provide a more intensive level of care than children’s residential services. Changes have been made in previous legislative sessions to implement PRTFs, but some of the funding and service guidelines need further specification. This group has also been challenged by communities refusing to allow these facilities in their neighborhoods, citing various concerns about the implications for the community.

The retreat touched on several issues of interest to psychology.

  • A core need is to ensure that parity guidelines are being followed in Minnesota. A recent Milliman report calls into question a number of parity issues. Discussions during the retreat included network adequacy issues for mental health as compared with physical health, lower payment rates as a parity issue, and concerns about the time it takes to receive services for mental health as opposed to physical health services.
  • The retreat reviewed the need for common uniform standards for documents, especially having a standardized procedure and documentation requited for the prior authorization process with payers.
  • One of the small groups spoke about the importance of creating payment mechanisms for culturally-based healing strategies.
  • The need to increase school-linked mental health services in which community-based organizations come into schools and provide mental health services was acknowledged  as a powerful strategy that needs to be expanded.
  • The need to expand housing with supports was identified as an ongoing issue.
  • The group was informed of recent additional opportunities from SAMHSA to expand Comprehensive Community Behavioral Health Centers.
  • Given recent events, the need for a more coordinated effort to address suicide prevention was noted. A bill had been introduced that would require teachers to have training on suicide prevention but the bill did not move forward. This bill will again be brought back next session.
  • The need to provide funding for childcare for individuals with serious mental illness was highlighted. Funding for childcare makes it possible for these individuals to attend needed treatment.
  • For criminal justice, work continues to improve mental health services in prisons and make solitary confinement more humane and include mental health supports. Increasing mental health services in jails provided by community agencies was stressed as important for managing system flow, and increasing the likelihood that individuals will follow up with this community based care following their release.
  • Workforce was a major focus of discussion at the retreat. It was noted that state-based loan forgiveness had been funded by the Provider Tax, and its impending sunset puts the loan forgiveness program in jeopardy. The need for alternative pathways to licensure for individuals of culturally diverse background was discussed. Approaches to address the general cultural competence of the workforce was discussed.

If you have questions or thoughts about any of the above topics, would like to receive a copy of the full report from the retreat when it is released, or have other suggestions, feel free to contact MPA at [email protected].

June 26, 2018

What’s Your Perspective On Licensing Of Behavior Analysts?

The national association cited in the 2018 Minnesota bill language, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), defines Behavior Analysis as “the scientific study of principles of learning and behavior. Two primary areas of study include: experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis.”

This board certifies behavior analysts at four levels: a Registered Behavior Technician which is a paraprofessional position requiring ongoing supervision; a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)  which is an undergraduate level of certification; a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) which is a graduate level certification; and, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral for individuals certified with a qualifying doctorate. The proposed language for Minnesota would license individuals at the undergraduate and graduate levels based upon ongoing certification by the national association.

Programs providing training in behavior analysis are springing up across the country, many of them online. Information about programs are available here

So what are the issues? It is useful to ask the question, what is the problem to be solved by creating a new license? The answer to that question is complicated, and is what we would like your input about.

Individuals supporting the licensure feel that requiring licensure will upgrade the level of supervision that individuals practicing and being trained in behavior analysis receive. They also feel that licensure would add additional public protections, given board oversight. By creating the license, supporters maintain that the workforce will expand such that there will be more individuals to provide the service. Some would say that the licensure may assist with third party payments. Not all payers currently cover Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies, and licensure may help with the legitimacy of this technique.

From the other side, some psychologists feel that it is inappropriate to license a very specific technique, rather than a profession. It would be similar to requiring individuals who are certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy to have a separate license. Some also feel that if there is to be licensure, it should happen within the Board of Psychology, since it is only within psychology’s scope of practice, not other mental health professions, and psychologists should be providing oversight. The current licensure language for behavior analysts would require psychologists practicing this technique to be dually licensed, despite the fact that behavior analysis has long been the purview of psychologists. Psychologists who are not dually licensed would be prevented from providing supervision to students. Importantly, psychologists currently providing behavioral analysis services under the psychology scope of practice would be prohibited from using terms such as “behavior analysis” to describe their work unless they are dually licensed.

Psychologists also are concerned about scope creep, such that behavior analysts may be one more group with whom they must compete to make a living. Would the current language allow individuals with the BCBA credential to be considered as a mental health professional? It is not clear. This designation as a professional could open the door for individuals to provide a broad array of services under Minnesota law. For example, the definition of assessment under the current proposed bill is “any observational recording system, instrument, device, survey, questionnaire, technique, scale, inventory, or other process that is designed or constructed for the purpose of measuring, evaluating, assessing, describing, or predicting behavior, cognitive functioning, skills, values, preferences, or other characteristics of individuals.” It is worth noting that certain services are specifically excluded in the language, “(t)he practice of behavior analysis expressly excludes psychological testing, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, sex therapy, psychoanalysis or hypnotherapy, and counseling as treatment modalities.” The language does list as part of the scope of practice, to provide crisis intervention, case management services, further assessment, working with families, and providing clinical recommendations.

The current licensure language simply requires that individuals are certified by the BACB. This could be a workforce barrier if individuals wanting to get trained to provide this service must be both nationally certified and state licensed. The coursework required Includes the following (classroom hours):

Content can be completed in person or in online learning programs. In addition to the 270 hours of coursework, individual must pass an exam and would be required to complete 500 hours of supervised experience. Questions arise about whether individuals with this license would be able to diagnose certain conditions. Individuals licensed under the current language could practice independently without supervision.

At the same time, behavioral analysis is a service much needed in our community. While today it is often thought of as a treatment for autism, the approach is also used to serve a wide range of clients such as individuals with developmental disabilities and people with behavioral issues related to Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.

So what are your thoughts about licensure for behavior analysts? Share them with us at [email protected].

June 12, 2018

Advocacy Update

How To Be A Citizen Advocate

The idea of getting involved in the political process to have your voice heard can feel daunting, Breaking the process down can make it feel more manageable. Here are some steps:

  • Find out who represents you. This information is available here: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/
  • Hover over the picture of your representative and click on the contact link
  • Once on their website, sign up to be on their email updates list
  • Explore the website to find out about your legislator’s interests and bills they have sponsored
  • Click on the town hall meetings link to find out when these meetings will be held. These meetings are a great way to hear your legislators speak, meet your neighbors, and ask questions
  • At the town hall meetings, feel free to go up to your legislator and introduce yourself. Remember that they are there to work for you and are interested in your concerns.
  • When issues come up on the Minnesota Psychological Association Tuesday Update or on a listserv, phone or email your legislator and explain your concern.
  • When the legislature is not in session, generally June through December, make an appointment to introduce yourself to your legislators. They might not be in the office much, but often will meet with you in a local coffee shop or restaurant for a chat. Some even post their home phone numbers so that you can reach them more easily when the legislature is not in session. It helps to bring a handout that briefly summarizes your main concerns. Plan to spend about 10-15 minutes with your legislator.
  • If you have ideas for legislation, talk to your legislators about your idea. If the idea falls within the work of MPA, feel free to contact the office and ask that your concern be considered for MPA’s policy agenda.
  • Volunteer for the election campaign of the individual that most closely matches your values. You can volunteer to make phone calls, literature drops at residences, door knocking to talk about the candidate, and in other ways.
  • Consider attending fund raisers for candidates that support your values. House members run for re-election every two years. Minnesota allows you to deduct political contributions made to state election candidates or parties, up to $50 per person per year. Candidates should furnish you with a Political Contribution Refund form.
  • Much of the work of implementation of laws happens in state administrative agencies. Consider volunteering for a board or commission. You can learn about these opening on the Minnesota Secretary of State website and can sign up for monthly posting of open positions. You can learn more about Board and Commission postings here https://www.sos.state.mn.us/boards-commissions/
  • If you are specifically interested in issues related to psychology or mental health services, other opportunities for engagement exist. Consider attending Minnesota Board of Psychology meetings to learn about the work of the Board. Dates for meetings can be found here https://mn.gov/boards/psychology/about/meetingdates/ The Board will be beginning a Rule Making process in the near future, and you can become involved with this.
  • Keep informed. Read the Tuesday Update from the Minnesota Psychological Association and other news feeds about issues important to you.

May 8, 2018

Advocacy Update

We are three weeks from the end of Minnesota’s legislative session. While our efforts to make changes to the Psychology Practice Act and pursue a 23.7% increase to Medical Assistance reimbursement for mental health services will likely have to wait until next year, we have seen some important movement on other issues. Ensuring Mental Health Parity is being approached from several perspectives. As part of the Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network, of which MPA is a part, legislation is moving forward to create a task force to define how payers should demonstrate accountability for parity. Additionally, MPA has met with the US Department of Labor, which oversees parity in ERISA plans, and is in continuing discussions with Minnesota Department of Commerce about parity, especially related to network adequacy.
Click the links below to see guidelines for Parity enforcement and a sample complaint form provided by the US Department of Labor.

Parity enforcement guidelines.pdf

Sample Parity complaint letter.pdf

March 26, 2018

MPA Affirms the APA Statement Regarding Transgender Individuals Serving in the Military

The Governing Council of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) affirms the American Psychological Association's (APA) statement regarding transgender individuals serving in the military. We are concerned about the negative impact these policies can have on transgender Minnesotans serving in the military. These limits are not based on rigorous psychological research. We stand with transgender individuals and call on the Trump administration to reconsider these limits on their service.

Click here to read APA's press release.

March 22, 2018

Psychology Leaders Complete 300 Visits to Members of Congress in One Day

Psychologists and psychology graduate students representing 50 state psychological associations made more than 300 lobbying visits to their members of Congress on March 13, 2018, advocating for psychologists and Americans’ access to mental health services. Psychologists, graduate students and executive directors for state psychological associations were in Washington, D.C., for the 2018 Practice Leadership Conference hosted by the APA Practice Organization and APA. This annual conference brings together psychology leaders from across the U.S. for four days of advocacy leadership training, culminating with visits to members of Congress.


MPA leadership was in attendance and had several Capitol Hill visits with Congressman Tom Emmer, Congressman Jason Lewis, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Adam Smith, Congressman Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Congressman Collin Peterson, Congressman Rick Nolan, and Congressman Tim Walz.

MPA President, Bruce Bobbitt, Ph.D., LP, spoke at this year’s Practice Leadership Conference on understanding the legislative and regulatory trends promoting quality measurement and what to do about it in your practice. MPA Past-President, Robin McLeod, Ph.D., was Chair of the Advocacy-Mentoring Subcommittee and helped facilitate a session on Pathways to Advocacy.

March 16, 2018

Mental Health Day on the Hill Highlights

With roughly 60 people in attendance, we started out the day with a presentation focused on didactic and skills’ based training related to advocacy for psychology and the needs of the individuals we serve. We then went to the State Capitol to begin scheduled meetings with legislators. Thank you to those who volunteered their time and went to lobby at the Capitol!


February 2, 2018       


Photo -1 of Senator Abeler with MPA leadership, MPA lobbyist
Photo -2 of Senator Abeler receiving MPA Legislator of the Year award from MPA President Dr. Bruce Bobbitt
Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Psychological Association


Senator Jim Abeler Honored as a Psychologists’ Legislative Champion, Named 2017 Legislator of the Year

 Abeler brought groups together, facilitating understanding and compromise. 

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn—The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) presented Senator Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, their legislator of the year award at a luncheon on Thursday, February 1.  Sen. Abeler was instrumental in passing legislation to support the profession of psychology, ultimately improving access to psychological services for Minnesotans.

Sen. Abeler’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.  Senator Abeler helped fix what could have been a contentious situation, allowing both groups to come to consensus so neither group’s scope of work was negatively impacted.

Senator Abeler has been a long-time champion of mental health and the profession of psychology in Minnesota.  He did great work in the 2017 legislative session, as he always does,” said MPA President Dr. Bruce Bobbitt.  

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 Sen. Abeler. “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.”

 Senator Abeler, first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, is currently serving his second term in the Minnesota Senate. The mission of the Minnesota Psychological Associationis 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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January 27, 2018

MPA Governing Council Discussed and Approved the Following Legislative Agenda for 2018

  1. We are participating in Mental Health Day at the Capitol on March 15, 2018. Governing Council members are strongly encouraged to attend.

  2. We are again addressing some issues with the MN Practice Act to clarify supervision requirements, ease licensure portability and to address some process issues with the Board of Psychology.

  3. We will again reintroduce our bill requesting a 23.7% increase in outpatient mental health Medical Assistance funding for mental health professionals. ln 2007, legislation passed that gave the 23.7%  increase to critical access providers, hospitals, psychiatrists, and APRNs. Last year, Rule 29 clinics received the increase. We will continue to advocate for psychologists’ inclusion in this increase.

  4. We will be supporting a Parity bill brought by NAMI-MN that offers further protections for clients through required reporting by payers.

  5. A draft of a bill to license Behavior Analysts has been making its rounds. MPA opposes the bill in its current form as it excludes psychologists from performing and supervising behavioral analysis without additional certification and licensure.

January 2, 2018

2017 Apportionment and Bylaws Amendment Election Results

Review the results of the Apportionment and Bylaws Amendment Election.

Click here to continue reading.