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Remarks from 2017 President-Elect Bruce Bobbitt

In these remarks, my final set as President-Elect, I use the opportunity to take a brief look back at the past year and offer some information about what we aim to accomplish this coming year.   As in the past remarks, I will offer some depth on a particular aspect of the organization and mention current issues.  The topic for review in this issue is how MPA is governed and how this relates to the work done by the various parts of the organization.  This discussion leads to a review of the various MPA committees that do the lion’s share of the day-to-day work of the Association.  The focus on committee functions will be a recurring topic of my Presidential remarks in 2018.

MPA Governance and Operations - How We Do What We Do.  As I spent time this past year planning for 2018, it became clear to me that despite many years in MPA governance I did not have a complete sense of how the organization operates.  Starting in the Spring of this past year, I started to attend as many committee meetings as I could in order to understand the operations of each of the committees.  In the process, it became clear to me that we have a large and energetic group of people working hard to achieve our goals and live up to the mission of the organization.  MPA also has a formal governance structure of psychologists and psychologists-in-training who oversee the organization and chart its direction.   It is important to understand what the governance group does and what the committees do.

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2017 in Review- A Letter from 2017 MPA President Steve Girardeau

Hello for the final time as President of MPA. It has been my honor to serve you all in the past year. I will continue on as the immediate past president, member of the legislative committee, and in a new role (related but not a part of MPA) as Treasurer of the official MPA Political Action Committee (PAC). More on that later.

This has been a big year for MPA with a lot of important actions by your professional association. A quick and incomplete list includes a reorganization and revitalization of the leadership structure of the organization. This will lead to a greater ability to respond in a quicker and more consistent fashion over longer periods of time. We also have strongly responded to sanctions by the Board of Psychology on supervisors and academics with advocacy and passing changes to the Psychology Practice Act. Leadership of MPA has also attended all public board meetings to address general and specific concerns as members of our profession. Also, we sponsored and passed legislation reducing the requirements for, and timing of, diagnostic assessments for Medicaid clients. This last item and the Practice Act were completed through the hard work of Trisha Stark, the Legislative Committee Chair, and the Executive Committee (EC) of MPA. While others reported the change, MPA through its legislative committee and EC made it happen.

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Letter From MPA President Steve Girardeau

This is a challenging time for our profession. We face challenges on a day-to-day basis with our clients, and recently we have found ourselves facing significant challenges with insurance companies. First came challenges with the transition of BCBSMN to Magellan. MPA has helped to address some of those concerns through the efforts of our Payer Committee, and those efforts will continue. Unfortunately, unannounced rate reductions began on July 1st, followed by an explanatory letter from BCBSMN, which led to even greater levels of confusion, anger, and fear for many providers. MPA participated in a community meeting sponsored by NAMI last week and helped to facilitate a meeting with BCBSMN executives on 9/11/17, which included representatives from NAMI and other organizations.

From that meeting, BCBSMN acknowledged they had not communicated effectively and had not taken the concerns and needs of providers into account in their recent decisions. The other participants expressed a great many concerns related to their planned changes and how those decisions would impact providers in the short, medium, and long term. In an hour long meeting, it became apparent the rate changes have been rolled back as stated in the letter sent to MPA members last week. The overpayment correction remains in place, as it was a clear departure above the rate in contracts. Be that as it may, BCBSMN indicated it is their intention to work with providers on how to collect the overpayment in a manner that will not be detrimental to the practices impacted. It is MPA’s intention to continue to advocate for no return of overpayments, as doing so would be too great a hardship for providers.

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MPA President-Elect Remarks

These are my first remarks in my role as President-Elect, and serve as a prelude to my year as President beginning January 1, 2018. I plan to use this forum to keep MPA members informed both about what the organization is doing and how it is doing it. My comments will appear on the website approximately every other month, and at times more frequently as is warranted. In each of my reports to you, I will provide some depth on a particular aspect of MPA and how it works. In today’s comments, I give my sense of what we are about, what we focus on, and what we believe. I also briefly mention some pressing matters regarding reimbursement for services and briefly discuss our annual meeting set to occur in April of 2018. I close by again introducing you to the Harrington Company, our new Association Management Company (AMC), and to our new Executive Director, Michelle Herr.

What are we about? Unlike a business, a practice, or an academic setting, our association is a group of psychologists who choose to affiliate through being members. Our purpose is to support both the field of psychology and the profession of psychology. Most of our members are professional licensed psychologists; it is important to promote the development of professional psychology and to protect our profession when needed. We also are part of a larger group of psychologists who embrace the broad aspirations of our field. This means we will speak out on broader issues that are important for all of us. Our recent statement on the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an example of our underlying beliefs and commitment to freedom from violence, discrimination, and support for free and respectful speech. We want our tent to be large and broad and provide a warm welcome to all psychologists - especially those who come from differing cultural backgrounds. We desire to be a diverse, inclusive, and respectful group that strives to assist, as feasible, in reducing unequal and inherent disparities in our various communities. These beliefs are a fundamental part of MPA’s core values.

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Letter from MPA President Steve Girardeau

A very happy spring to all my fellow Minnesota Psychologists.

A lot has happened since I last checked in with you all.

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Letter from MPA President Steve Girardeau

Greetings fellow Minnesota Psychologists,

It has been an interesting start to the year for MPA in ways that many of you are unaware. 

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Welcoming Minnesota Psychologist Editor Kim Stewart

After four years of dedicated service, Beth Lewis stepped down as editor of the Minnesota Psychologist Online.  We will miss Beth, and are thankful for her commitment to delivering relevant and informative articles for our members over the years. 

We are pleased to introduce our new editor, Kim Stewart.  Kim graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2016, with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, including a concentration in marriage & family therapy. 

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From MPA's President Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP: You asked for it, and we will provide it!

A new year has begun and with it my increased responsibilities to MPA.  I say increased, rather than new responsibilities because it is my belief that we have a responsibility to give back to the profession that we have chosen and to be a part of protecting and building psychology’s place in the future of health care.   To that end I have served on the MPA Legislative Committee, the Governing Council, the Executive Committee and now serve you all as president.

In that time, I have come to realize that in many ways MPA has lost its way.  It has moved away from our natural role of a professional association, with responsibilities as a “guild” for the profession.  This became especially clear in our survey of members last year which identified “protection” as the most important responsibility for the association.  We heard that message and have acted.

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From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., LP: APAPO - The Voice of Psychologists in D.C.

Hang around me long enough, and you learn that I am a complete and total APA Practice Organization (APAPO) geek.  As Alan Nessman (Senior Special Counsel at the American Psychological Association) once said to me, “You drank the Kool-Aid, Robin!”  That’s right…I am a true believer in the mission of APAPO, which is “…to advance, protect and defend the professional practice of psychology.”  You read that right!  APA exists to promote the interests of psychology.  APAPO exists to promote the interests of psychologists

In the early years of my professional career as a psychologist, like many early career psychologists, I was very focused on building my practice at the same time that I was building a family life.  I didn't look beyond my own small world in those years.  Honestly, and somewhat humbly, I have to say that I really didn't even realize that there was so much more going on in the world of professional practice; that is how turned inward that I was in those early years.  Realizing, however, that it was important to belong to our professional associations during those years, I continued to pay annual dues to both APA and MPA.  I recall thinking that someday I would get involved in these organizations, but at the time chose to focus on what was immediately in front of me.  With hindsight, I often wish that someone would have tried to shake me up a little and help me realize that the practice of psychology goes far beyond the small business I was trying to build.  I think if someone I respected had sat me down and explained that all of what I was building really was even possible because of the political advocacy that comes from our professional associations, specifically from APAPO and MPA, I might have looked up long enough to have realized that if I could not contribute my time, I could at least contribute money towards those efforts.

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From MPA's President-Elect Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP: Creating Our Identity as Psychologists

Fall is here. It is a time of change, of preparation for the end of a year and the beginnings of anticipation of the year to come.  This past weekend we completed our strategic planning meeting for my presidential year 2017.  It began with Robin McLeod, our current president, reviewing what has been accomplished and will be accomplished in 2016.  There was much to be proud of in that review, but I leave that review to her.

In planning for 2017, the current leadership team met to discuss the directions that MPA will go in the coming year.  That leadership team included the Executive Committee (EC), the Governing Council (GC) and the representatives of all the divisions of MPA as well as committee chairs/co-chairs.  The majority of that team (the EC, GC and Division Chairs/Co-Chairs) was formed was by people volunteering to take on roles as members of each of those bodies through an election process.  Our election process is set to begin in the coming weeks.  I would encourage all to consider being a part of the process.

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From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P.: MPA Needs Your Help and Support

Years ago when I was in the early days of building my psychology practice, day-to-day life centered around raising two toddlers, keeping a relatively young marriage healthy, and working to maintain some important friendships.  Day-to-day life seemed full, and so I sat back and trusted that my psychologist-colleagues who were in leadership positions within the Minnesota Psychological Association were keeping watch over the professional interests that are so important to all of us.  I knew that someday I would want to get more involved in my professional association, and at the same time, building a family and a practice was at the top of my priority list. 

Fast forward 20 years to today.  My now-adult children are focused on “adulting” as they near the end of college and prepare to enter the workforce.  My focus in recent years has turned toward professional adventures outside of family life and a psychology business, and instead has turned toward volunteering in our state and national professional associations.  Surrounded by intelligent, highly competent and dedicated peers, you all have entrusted me with a leadership position in MPA that is both rewarding and challenging.  Looking back over the past 7 months, being President of MPA sometimes has felt like jumping into the deep end of the pool – thank you God, that I know how to swim! 

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From MPA's President-Elect Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., L.P.: Enjoy Summer and Get Involved!

I hope that this article finds you all having a relaxing and renewing summer. 

Summer is a time of fun and sun.  A time of green plants and blue skies and waters.  We are lucky to live in such a beautiful state and we should all be sure to take the time to relax and enjoy the wonders of nature that abound around us.  This is something that we, the volunteers that run MPA on a day to day basis, need to be sure to remember to do.  Having come off a three week period where I have devoted over 25 hours of volunteer time to address issues important to our profession, I am planning to relax and sail this weekend, anchoring at times to enjoy the peaceful rocking of the boat on the waves. 

There is much going on in the world of our profession that many of you are not aware of.  The financial margins in our industry are getting tighter and tighter and so time seems to be a commodity that we loath to spend unless we get true value for it.  Many do not spend the time needed to stay informed and be involved.

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From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P.: MPA Volunteers - Makin' it Happen in Minnesota!

Welcome to Spring!  The Minnesota Psychological Association’s annual convention is behind us now, and we are looking forward to the coming months.  While writing this essay to you, I learned that the Minnesota legislature passed a bill containing MPA’s proposed Duty-to-Warn language, and Governor Dayton signed it into law!  There is NO ambiguity remaining – psychology supervisors and psychologists-in-training can rest assured that in Duty-to-Warn situations, you are protected with immunity. 

The issue began about this time last year when the Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Psychology notified MPA that a Duty to Warn case had been overturned on appeal with a ruling indicating that psychology supervisees are not covered with immunity in our current Psychology Practice Act in situations where a Tarasoff warning is required.  In essence, an appeals court had ruled that when receiving information about a credible homicidal threat, supervisees could be sued effectively should they report this information to authorities.  Due to language in the MN Practice Act, this appeals court ruled that only licensed psychologists have immunity is such situations.  MPA leaders were relieved that the Board of Psychology had given us this heads-up, and then sprang into action.   We knew that not only would we need to work to change the language of the law to achieve important clarification in the Practice Act;  we also recognized that we would be serving all psychologists in Minnesota by submitting an Amicus Curiae Brief to the Minnesota Supreme Court, slated to hear this case in 2016.

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From MPA's President-Elect Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., L.P.: Passage of SF2414

With the passage of SF2414, psychologist supervisors are completely covered for their supervisee’s duty to warn under Minnesota’s version of Tarasoff.  What are you talking about you might ask, you thought you were covered already.  As mentioned earlier this year in this newsletter, there was a court case that interpreted the law as it stood as not covering the actions of an unlicensed supervisee and allowed a criminal conviction to be overturned and a civil lawsuit against the supervisee and supervisor to go forward.  This has been argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court with an Amicus Brief filed by MPA and we await the decision of the court.  As we wait we are not idle.  We crafted legislation closing the loophole in the law and have lobbied this law through to the recent passage.

This is what MPA does for you!  We watch for issues and address them as quickly and completely as we can with the resources at our disposal.  This why continued membership is so very important.  In the coming year it seems likely we will have to work on revisions of the Psychology Practice Act to clarify some of the recent confusion in interpretation of that Act. 

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Update from MPA's Health Care Reform Committee (HCRC)

The original intent of this article was to inform MPA’s membership of our promotion from the Health Care Reform Task Force to the Health Care Reform Committee (HCRC), describe the HCRC’s relatively short history, and report current/future goals (but more about that later in this article).

Given recent changes announced by Medicare, however, it seems more prudent to focus providing information gleaned by the HCRC (and other MPA member/committees) regarding such.  Trisha Stark, Ph.D., L.P., provided the following link for the HCRC’s 5/2/16 monthly call-in committee meeting:  http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2016/04/29/breaking-down-the-macra-proposed-rule/   Dr. Stark is chair of MPA’s Electronic Healthcare Records Task Force and an HCRC committee member. 

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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.”

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From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P.: The Great Minnesota Psychology Get-Together

I always have thought of MPA’s Annual Convention as much like the Minnesota State Fair for psychologists.  Complete with psychology’s version of admission discounts, a Mid-way area, a Grandstand line-up, vendors displaying items of interest to just about anyone, games of skill and chance, and blue ribbon awards. This year’s MPA Annual Convention has something for every Minnesota Psychologist.  We even will have our own version of free entertainment!  Please play along with me as I expand upon this fun analogy.

When you arrive at The Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West Hotel in Plymouth on April 15 & 16, you will check in at the registration table where you will be given a nametag, your pre-purchased ticket to everything at the convention.  If for some reason you haven’t yet purchased a ticket, no worries!  Rhea Sullivan, MPA’s Administrative Director, and one of the convention Visitor Guides, will help you get registered so that you will be ready for two days of action-packed fun!  And, if you are new to MPA, she also will let you know about the huge membership discount available to you only at the convention.  Yes, that’s right.  If you have never been a member of MPA, or if your membership lapsed at least three years ago, you can become a full dues-paying MPA member for a discount of $200.  It’s a bargain only offered during the Great Minnesota Psychology Get-Together!

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Willie B. Garrett Honored as 2016 Award Recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology

 

Willie B. Garrett was honored on February 5, 2016, as the 2016 award recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology.  Front row, from left to right: BraVada Garrett-Akiinsanya, Harriett Haynes. Susan Rydell.  Back row, from left to right: Ted Thompson, Pearl Barner, Willie B. Garrett, Shonda Craft, Zach White, Linda Muldoon.

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From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P.: MPA Psychologists Are Making it Happen in 2016!

When people ask me where I am from originally or where I grew up, my answer typically is that I am from the Army.  Yes, I grew up as an Army brat, which is a term of endearment in my world.  In the military, when a leader begins a new position, there is a formal change of command ceremony.  In the Minnesota Psychological Association, not so much.  We all just wake up on January 1, and a new President of our association is leading the charge.  Welcome to 2016!

This first month of 2016 has started much more calmly and slowly than we saw last year at this time.  Do not let that fool you.  The Minnesota Psychological Association has much on the horizon.  Volunteers serving on MPA’s Legislative Committee are initiating legislation designed to correct the Duty to Warn oversight in our psychology practice act.  We have retained an attorney to assist MPA in presenting an amicus brief before the Minnesota Supreme Court on this same issue.  Hopefully you will join other psychologists for Mental Health Day on the Hill (March 31, 2016) as MPA volunteers join with other professional associations including the Minnesota Medical Association to oppose efforts to rescind the upcoming sunset of the Provider Tax.  Finally, MPA psychologists have entered into talks with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to work toward modifying documentation requirements for psychologists practicing in integrated health care settings.  I hope you will make 2016 the year that you join other MPA psychologists who are volunteering to make things happen for psychologists in our state.

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From MPA's Past President Scott Palmer, Ph.D., L.P.: Ringing in the New Year with the Minnesota Psychological Association

The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) is in great shape and great hands.  Ringing in the New Year inspires us to look ahead to 2016 and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the events that shaped 2015.  As MPA’s President for 2015, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and am proud to be a psychologist in Minnesota.  Our 2016 MPA President, Robin McLeod, is fantastic and I thank my mentor and friend, Steve Vincent, for serving MPA well as our 2014 President and our 2015 past president.  MPA’s Executive Committee and Governing Council members have worked hard to implement strategic initiatives for 2015.  Our strategic initiatives for 2016 move MPA forward in a way that expands the resources and support for psychologists in Minnesota.  A special thanks to MPA’s Treasurer, Pearl Barner II and to MPA’s secretary, Mimi Sa for their service to you and to MPA.

So what is happening in MPA as we start out the New Year?

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Diversity Statement

The Minnesota Psychological Association actively encourages the participation of all psychologists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation.Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Psychological Association also recognizes our core unifying identities as Psychologists who practice in America. We also recognize that we may hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. Within this context of unity and self-exploration, we are committed to increasing our sensitivity to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating with multicultural groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice as we seek to promote diversity in our society. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.