Electronic Health Records

There is considerable confusion regarding whether psychologists in Minnesota are required to have electronic health records (EHR).  This confusion could partly be due to differences between state and federal regulations.  Additionally, there is confusion regarding the definition of an electronic health record.

Currently, there are federal incentives and penalties for eligible providers and hospitals to use EHR’s.  Providers and hospitals can receive up to five years of incentives for “meaningful use.”  Additionally, those not using EHR’s and/or not demonstrating meaningful use by 2015 will have their Medicare payments reduced.  Psychologists are not included in either the incentives or the penalties.  However, Minnesota Statute does include psychologists and states that “by January 1, 2015, all hospitals and health care providers must have in place an interoperable electronic health records system within their hospital system or clinical practice setting” (Minnesota Statute 62J.495 ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD TECHNOLOGY). What does this mean?

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APA's State Leadership Conference

Every year for the past 30 years, APA has brought together representatives of state, provincial, and territorial associations for leadership and advocacy training.  This year’s State Leadership Conference (SLC) took place in Washington, D.C. from March 9-12 with the theme of Countdown to Health Care Reform.  Seventy-five SPTAs and APA divisions were represented as well as diversity delegates, early career psychologist delegates, and representatives of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students.

MPA sent five delegates to SLC:  Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D., President; Steve Vincent, Ph.D., President-Elect; Mera Kachgal, Ph.D., Diversity Delegate and MPA Secretary; Sy Gross, Ph.D., Federal Advocacy Coordinator; and, Jenna Bemis, Psy.D., Public Education Campaign Coordinator.

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New Member Spotlight: Julia Kidwell, Ph.D., L.P.

1) What is your background in psychology (e.g., education)?
I have my undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas, where I double majored in psychology and theology. After my undergraduate work, I went to Iowa State University for my master’s degree and Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Being a true Cyclone, I also completed my predoctoral internship at the Iowa State University Student Counseling Services. After finishing my Ph.D., I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, working with young adults with prodromal psychosis.

2)  Describe your current occupation and any involvement in the Minnesota Psychological Association if applicable.

I am currently a licensed psychologist in clinical practice at Arden Woods Psychological Services in Arden Hills. I also teach a few graduate and undergraduate classes at local universities for balance and variety in my day. After graduate school, I couldn’t quite decide if I should teach or do clinical work, so I decided to do both!  Additionally, I currently co-chair the New Psychologist Network division for MPA.



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What Has MPA Done for You Lately?

MPA offers many benefits to members, some of which are more visible than others. You likely are aware of member benefits such as legal and ethical consultation resources, online journal access through EBSCO, and continuing education discounts. If you’re not aware of these, be sure to check out the website (www.mnpsych.org) for more information! Supplementing these kinds of concrete benefits are less tangible, but no less important benefits.

MPA exists upon a foundation of providing connectionprotection, and growth to its members. This column highlights recent MPA happenings that illustrate each of these areas and constitute some of the more intangible benefits offered by MPA.

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Deprogramming Children and Adolescents

Intentionally Alienated from a Parent by a Custodial Parent

I have been doing reunification therapy for the past 20 years.  Family law, in my forensic experience, is one of the most difficult areas of the law for a forensic psychologist to engage in.  First of all, the range of credentials that various professionals may have who are engaging in custody studies, reunification therapy, psychological evaluations, may be anywhere from no degree, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a law degree to a Ph.D./Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology.  Clearly, the more training a professional has, one would assume that the professional has been trained in developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and the ability to engage in psychological/psychometric assessment to evaluate the psychological status of a child and the parents.

Parental Alienation Syndrome, while rejected by DMS-V, still remains to be a real phenomenon in my own professional opinion.  Of course, parental alienation will occur naturally in any type of adversarial marital breakup.  It does not mean that a parent will have it in their mind to intentionally alienate a child from the other parent.  Instead, the post-marital conflict is certainly experienced by the child and/or adolescent and because of their cognitive development at any particular stage, they typically will align themselves with one parent or the other.  It is difficult for that child or adolescent to come to the conclusion on their own that while their parents are divorcing, they have a right to love each parent, and to stay out of their marital and post-marital arguments.  This is, in fact, one of the most fundamental therapeutic goals I have when I am treating children or adolescents whose parents are going through a divorce.  I have encountered many cases where there has been intentional estrangement of a child from another parent.

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MPA Award Winners 2011

Four organizations received the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award during the 2011 MPA convention. Each organization met all five criteria for the award (i.e., employee involvement, employee recognition, employee development, work-life balance, and health & safety); however, each organization is also expected to be exceptional in at least one of these criteria. I will single out an exceptional practice for each of our award winners.

Hennepin County has more than 9,000 employees serving the largest county in Minnesota. To better serve its employees, the County recently reviewed employee health claims and conducted a health survey. This study revealed that 53% of employees or their spouses reported that they experienced “emotional concerns.” In addition, 3 of the top 10 prescription drugs taken by employees and spouses were anti-depressives. The county suspected that these issues were driving disability claims and requests for ADA workplace accommodations. In response, Hennepin County launched an Emotional Wellness Project. This project provided training for supervisors in two departments on recognizing and working with employees whose performance may be impacted by emotional concerns. A 90-day, follow-up survey of these supervisors found that 50% had a recent performance issue with a “troubled employee” and more than 96% reported that they had used the tools and resources from their training to work more effectively to resolve performance issues with their supervisees. As a result of this project and other initiatives, Hennepin County realized a return of $81 for every $1 spent on this program. The County hopes to expand this training program to other departments. 

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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.