June 30, 2021

2021 Minnesota Health and Human Services Bill Highlights

This is a brief summary of some the sections of the 2021 Minnesota Health and Human Services budget bill. For a more in-depth summary, please contact [email protected].

  • Loan forgiveness is expanded to include LADCs and mental health professionals providing 25% of their services to Minnesota public program enrollees or professionals providing a sliding fee schedule that meets guidelines. It includes an additional increase of $3 Million for 2022 and 2023 each. This is one time funding.
  • Telehealth
    • Medical Assistance—telehealth services are covered “in the same manner” as in person services. Services are paid at their full allowable rate.
      • Telehealth is covered for FQHCs, Rural Health Clinics, Indian Health Services, and CCBHCs and meet the face to face requirement.
      • Treatment plans can be signed through verbal approval or electronic means.
      • Coverage for telehealth is expanded to include the services of peer and family specialists, mental health rehabilitation workers, behavioral health aides, treatment coordinators, alcohol and drug counselors, and recovery peer specialists.
      • Mental health case management is covered for interactive video services. Targeted case management services can also be provided by interactive video, if it is in the best interest of the client.
      • Telehealth for video school linked mental health services and intermediate school districts is continued until 2023.
      • A study of impact of telehealth services is required including an assessment of payment parity and the impact of audio-only services.
      • Audio only services are covered for Medical Assistance until July 1, 2023.
      • Originating site is defined as "a site at which a patient is located at the time health care services are provided to the patient by means of telehealth."
      • Distant site is defined as “a site at which a health care provider is located while providing health care services or consultations by means of telehealth.”
    • Minnesota based health plans (does not include self-insured or ERISA plans which follow federal regulation)
      • A health plan sold, issued or renewed by a health carrier (insurer) in Minnesota must cover services in the same manner as in person services.
        • Coverage cannot be limited based on geography
        • Coverage must be based on the same provider network as for in person services
        • Carriers may not deny coverage for services on the basis of their provision through telehealth
        • A carrier must reimburse for telehealth at the same rate as in person services
        • Audio only services, when appropriate, must be covered at the same rate as in person services. Audio services must be based on a scheduled appointment, except for substance use disorder services which may be provided without an appointment in emergency situations. This coverage of audio-only services expires July 1, 2023.
  • Workforce
    • The following are added to the definition of mental health practitioner: individuals in the process of completing a practicum or internship as part of a formal undergraduate or graduate training program in social work, psychology, or counseling
    • Grants can be made to pay for supervision of clinical trainees who are Black, indigenous, or people of color.
    • Grants for school linked behavioral health services can include substance use disorder services and can be provided by mental health professionals in private practice.
    • A culturally informed and culturally responsive mental health task force is to be developed by June 1, 2022 with the charge to examine mechanisms for increasing recruiting and training of BIPOC individuals, training all providers in cultural competency and cultural humility, assessment of provider organizations in terms of cultural competency, and increasing ownership or management of provider organizations by BIPOC individuals. The makeup of the task force includes a member of the Board of Psychology, representatives from graduate training programs, mental health professionals representing communities of color or underrepresented communities.
    • A grant program is to be developed that will fund supervisor training
    • Effective July 1, 2023, mental health professionals must have 4 continuing education credits in “increasing the knowledge, understanding, self-awareness, and practice skills to competently address the psychological needs of individuals from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.”
    • The Board of Psychology must include two members residing outside the 7-county metro area, and two members representing communities of color or underrepresented communities.
  • Development of rate methodology for Medical Assistance behavioral health services: This was a priority for MPA as we had been informed that a rate increase for mental health services could not be considered until a new rate methodology is developed. By January 1, 2022, it is required that an RFP be issued for development of a rate methodology and a final report to the legislature must occur by January 15, 2024. Interested parties are required to be part of the process. Funds were appropriated to complete this study.

Just a reminder that PSYPACT passed the legislature and was signed into law in May. We now await the vote of the PSYPACT commission to include Minnesota.


June 8, 2021

PSYPACT Signed Into Law by Governor Walz
On May 25, 2021 Governor Walz signed PSYPACT into law following unanimous votes for its support in the Minnesota House and Senate. PSYPACT is administered by the PSYPACT commission and going to their site is the best way to get accurate information. You can find that site here. If you want to know the details of the PSYPACT bill for Minnesota, you can review it here. Click here for some FAQs.


May 20, 2021

PSYPACT Passes. Thank you!

We are pleased to announce that on Monday, May 17, 2021, PSYPACT passed the Minnesota Senate and House with unanimous votes thanks to the tireless efforts of our government relations staff, Bill Amberg. Words alone are insufficient thanks for our authors, Senator Michelle Benson and Representative Kelly Morrison, MD. Last minute changes that are unlikely to affect Minnesota’s acceptance into the PSYPACT Commission were made late in the night and a conference committee report agreed upon by all so that the votes could take place. Governor Walz is expected to sign PSYPACT into law in the next few days.

Thanks to all who contributed to this important effort. If it were not for all of the grassroots advocacy by our members, this never would have happened. That you took the time to write to your legislators made all the difference in the world. Thanks also to MPA’s legislative committee who have put untold hours into this project. The Mental Health Legislative Network was an important source of support and advocacy in getting PSYPACT passed. A special thank you to Bruce Bobbitt, PhD LP for his steadfast support and meetings with key legislators. Thanks are due to the Board of Psychology who supported this endeavor and actively testified in support of the bill. We are also thankful for the support of the APA government relations and other staff who provided key advice. For funding to assist in this effort, many thanks to the APA Committee of State Leaders and to ASPPB. The staff of the PSYPACT commission, Janet Orwig and Doug Wolfberg, provided much needed technical assistance to get this accomplished. We look forward to getting you more information about how to access PSYCPACT in the coming days. 


May 10, 2021

MPA Speaks Out About Sexual Assault Laws

The Women’s Division spearheaded the effort to thank authors, Representative Moller and Senator Senjum, (HF707/SF1683), for their work in developing a comprehensive change to the sexual assault laws in Minnesota. Current law had kept individuals from reporting or seeking justice for an assault that followed their voluntary ingestion of alcohol or other drugs that led to impairment. Current law maintained that an individual could not be considered mentally incapacitated for purposes of establishing consent to sexual activity if they had voluntarily had alcohol or other drugs that caused the impairment. As a result, individuals who were not conscious when sexually assaulted could not maintain that they were unable to consent if they voluntarily used chemicals prior to the incident. This new bill remedies this situation such that individuals who are assaulted are better able to establish that they were incapacitated and thus unable to consent. Hopefully this change will make it possible for individuals who allege sexual assault to have their voices heard. Psychologists have long sat with victims who were denied justice and often re-traumatized as they were blamed or held responsible for an assault.

While efforts had been underway to reform the sexual assault laws for several years by Representative Marion O’Neil, the issue was brought to public attention following a decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court in a sexual assault case which led to the perpetrator being freed from prison awaiting a new trial. The victim had been unconscious at the time of the assault but unable to maintain that she was incapacitated and unable to consent because of the problems with how the language was structured in statute. The much needed changes may make it easier for victims to seek justice following an assault and avoid the added psychological damage from having their experiences invalidated.


April 26, 2021

Trisha Stark, Ph.D., LP, M.P.A., M.J. Stepping Down from MPA FAC and Legislative Committee Chair

It is with a great sadness that we announce that our beloved Trisha Stark has decided to resign her positions as MPA Federal Advocacy Coordinator (FAC) and Legislative Committee Chair. Dr. Stark will be stepping down from these roles at the end of 2021. Trisha has graciously given her time and expertise in serving MPA and the people of Minnesota over the years in a variety of additional roles including MPA President, Director of Professional Affairs, and Executive Director. Click here to continue reading.


March 2, 2021

MPA Bill Summary

Click here to look at the legislative bills that MPA has advocated for. 


Click here to view archived 2020 MPA Legislative Updates

Click here to view archived 2019 MPA Legislative Updates

Click here to view archived 2018 MPA Legislative Updates

Click here to view archived 2017 MPA Legislative Updates