New Electronic Health Record (EHR) Requirements: History & Highlights

As the ball dropping in Times Square ushered in 2015, healthcare providers in Minnesota took a collective breath in anticipation of how the new electronic health record (EHR) requirements would be implemented.  Minnesota is clearly the vanguard of this effort nationally, and as such, serves as a proving ground for new healthcare service delivery and communication.  Being part of a national experiment is challenging and exciting; challenging in regard to the unknowns of how new systems and partnerships with fellow healthcare providers will develop; exciting in being part of a process that brings us together as a profession and can shape our future efforts – especially regarding the use of psychological records.

Prior to January 1, we could still sit and ‘wonder’ about what all of these changes would be like.  Presently, we no longer have that luxury – it is here.  As a professional community, we are already beginning to see the need for working together in our common professional and client interests.  The coming years are sure to include the expected (and perhaps unsettling) surges and repulsions of progress as we work to find common ground.

Before moving forward with this process, we, leaders of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA), current officers and past presidents, wanted to take a moment to reflect upon and express appreciation for the considerable and substantive efforts by those who have brought us to this point.  Specifically, we proudly recognize the work that the Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) Task Force has accomplished to date to diligently keep psychologists informed of legal requirements regarding EHR in Minnesota.  We also are confident and in full support of their continued work under the leadership of Dr. Trisha Stark as we seek to fully understand the 2015 Minnesota EHR Mandate and its requirements for implementation in our professional practices as licensed psychologists in Minnesota.  If it were not for the work of the EHR Task Force and of Dr. Trisha Stark specifically, few psychologists would be aware of the Minnesota EHR Mandate.


In 2012, then MPA President, Dr. Dan Christensen, with the support of MPA’s Governing Council, established the EHR Task Force and charged them with the responsibility of gathering information about the Minnesota EHR Mandate so that MPA could keep members informed about the new law’s requirements for practicing psychologists in Minnesota.  The first meeting was held in September of 2012 with several psychologists volunteering to keep MPA members informed of the new law and how both to implement it adequately as well as economically.  Under the able leadership of Dr. Carolyn Parsons, the EHR task force met initially with Stratis Health and a number of EHR vendors, and diligently researched other available EHR vendors over the next six months.  Following more than 100 hours of volunteer time, these dedicated Minnesota psychologists shared information on the results of their concerted efforts (a multitude of EHR vendor offerings) at a highly attended break-out session at the 2013 MPA Annual Convention.

Due to the technical nature of electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems, and because of her particular expertise in health information technology (HIT) systems achieved through the completion of a graduate-level program in HIT, Trisha Stark volunteered to take over the leadership of the EHR Task Force.  Under Dr. Stark’s wise, competent and honorable leadership, the EHR Task Force has accomplished many of their original educational goals and then some.  Here are just some of the highlights of what they have accomplished in only a little over two years:


  • EHR Task Force met with Stratis Health in 2012 to gather information on best practices in adopting EHR in medical practices;
  • EHR Task Force met with multiple EHR vendors in 2012 and 2013 as they gathered information for members;
  • EHR Task Force presented a break-out session at the 2013 MPA Annual Convention providing detailed information on available EHR products;
  • First Friday Forum presentations on EHR in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (presented by Trisha Stark);
  • Stratis Health presented one live and one webcast information session to MPA members and other behavioral health professionals in January, 2014 (coordinated by Trisha Stark);
  • Education and accessibility:  Trisha Stark and members of the EHR Task Force have regularly posted links and documents relevant to the EHR Mandate, and have regularly replied to listserv inquiries making needed information on the EHR Mandate readily accessible to psychologists.  Dr. Stark has provided additional training presentations to multiple other behavioral health associations and organizations across the State of MN to further prepare partner professionals for the 2015 EHR Mandate;
  • Independent and Small Agency Provider Meeting on Health Information Exchange,” January of this year (presented and coordinated by Trisha Stark with James Dungan-Seaver of Hamm Clinic):  The purpose of these two live and webcast-available meetings was to address concerns related to the protection of behavioral health consumer privacy and confidentiality.  The goals were to gather input and feedback from providers and develop a proposal for a limited data set for records included in an interoperable EHR.  This proposal was soon presented to key stakeholder-rule makers in Minnesota;
  • Representation:  As a testimony to her vigorous efforts, Trisha Stark serves as an advisor to the Minnesota Department of Health eHealth Initiative Advisory Committee (the only role offered to a behavioral health professional in the state). Dr. Stark is also lobbying to get a designated behavioral healthcare seat on this advisory board;
  • Advocacy:  In conjunction with the Executive Committee of MPA and the APA Practice Directorate, the EHR Task Force helped to guide efforts seeking clarification of audit guidelines involving MN BCBS and its partner, Inovolan.  These efforts helped in highlighting ways these coordinated efforts afford psychologists a ‘voice’ in such processes, and could serve as a template for future efforts in support of our clients and profession;
  • EHR implementation:  The EHR Task Force under guidance and support of Dr. Stark, has arranged access to online EHR vendor fairs where psychologists still seeking an EHR to adopt in their practices can get information on available EHR products;
  • Communication:  Through multiple articles published in the MN Psychologist and other journals and newsletters, Dr. Stark has provided expert and valuable information on the EHR Task Force’s efforts and on what implementation of the EHR Mandate requires;

Though ongoing work is needed, these efforts have us more informed and empowered as a group than we likely would have been individually.  We have a template for continuing to move forward as a profession and organization, and you are welcome to be a part of this process that ultimately seeks to support the health and wellbeing of the individuals using our services.

It is with unqualified, complete confidence that we endorse and support the outstanding work of the Minnesota Psychological Association’s Electronic Healthcare Records Task Force under the leadership of Dr. Trisha Stark.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Palmer, PhD, LP, MPA President

Robin McLeod, PhD, LP, MPA President-Elect

Steve Vincent, PhD, LP, MPA Immediate Past President

Mimi Y. Sa, PsyD, LP, MSCP, ABMP, MPA Secretary

Pearl Barner II, PhD, LP, MPA Treasurer

Scott Slattery, PhD, LP, Governing Council General Member, MPA Past Treasurer

Steve Girardeau, PsyD, LP, Governing Council General Member

Dan Christensen, PsyD, LP, MPA Past President

Joy Piccolino, PsyD, LP, MPA Past President

Harriett Copher Haynes, PhD, LP, Co-Chair, MPA Women’s Division, MPA Past President

Michael Brunner, PhD, LP, MPA Past President

Sy Gross, PhD, LP, MPA Federal Advocacy Coordinator, MPA Past President

Beryl L. Wingate, PsyD, LP, Co-Chair, MPA Women’s Division

Michelle Trotter-Mathison, PhD, LP, Co-Chair, MPA Doctoral-Level Private Practice Division

Willie B. Garrett, MS, LP, Ed.D., Chair, MPA Rural & Greater Minnesota Division

Bibi Neumann, PsyD, LPC, NCC, Co-Chair, MPA New Psychologist Network

G. Zachariah White, PsyD, LP, Co-Chair, MPA Multicultural Division, Co-Chair, MPA Diversity Committee

Thomas Carrillo, PhD, LP, Co-Chair, MPA Multicultural Division, Co-Chair, MPA Diversity Committee

Cynthia J. Swanlund, BA, Co-Chair, MPA Student Division

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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.