Legislative Updates

January 22, 2019

Add Your Name to the List!

MPA is supporting the Mental Health Protections Act. If you would like to sign on to a letter to legislators, you can do so by sending your name to Cat at [email protected]. The bill (HF12/SF83) protects the mental health of LGBTQ adolescents and adults from therapies aimed at sexual orientation change. Such therapies have been found to be ineffective at changing sexual orientation or gender identity. Not only are they ineffective, they have been shown to be damaging to the mental health of the individuals who are often coerced into participation. You can also support the bill by contacting your legislator to let them know you support the bill. To find out who represents you, click here.

Sample language to your legislators might include:

I am a psychologist and your constituent. I am contacting you to ask you to support the Mental Health Protections Act (HF12/SF83). This bill protects LGBTQ adolescents and adults from sexual orientation change therapies. Research has demonstrated that these therapies are not effective and can be damaging to individuals’ mental health. Please support this important bill.

Call your legislators! Change the Provider Tax!

MPA needs your help in communicating to your legislators about what is to become of the provider tax. It’s important to know a few things about the provider tax. While providers send in the money, it is actually a tax on claims expenditures that the insurance companies pay. It is passed through to providers. It is not our money, even though we make the payments. It was arranged this way in order to capture funds from self-insured plans. You should know that 49 states have a provider tax.

The provider tax is supposed to sunset at the end of this year. The tax brings in $1.5 billion dollars per biennium. It supports key safety net programs such as MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance, SHIP, and some specific mental health funding.

There are basically three options: continue the provider tax as is, make some changes to reduce the administrative burden on providers, or do nothing and have these important safety net programs go away. Many legislators intend on just repealing the sunset of the provider tax. This leaves psychologists holding the bag for bookkeeping, making quarterly payments and being at risk of a costly audit.

A different strategy is in the works that we would like you to inform your state legislators about. It is a plan called the “claims expenditure assessment.” What it would do is have insurance companies simply pay the funds directly to the state, avoiding psychologists having to do the onerous book keeping, payments, and risking an audit. If it truly is paid by the insurance companies, let them pay it directly. It would reduce the administrative burden for both providers and the state. The claims expenditure assessment approach would take providers out of the middle, and reduce our headaches. Either way our payment will be the same—if we send the tax, or if insurers pay it directly. The reason that the state has done this complicated pass through system is to capture additional money from ERISA or self-insured plans. At least one other state, Michigan, is using this approach of getting the funds directly from the insurers, and they have been able to collect the funds from self-insured programs. It was tested in court in Michigan, even going to the Appeals Court, and it was found not to infringe on these ERISA plans. This was appealed to the Supreme Court, and it was turned down, so it is settled law.

We ask that you call or email your legislator with the following message:

To find out who represents you, click here.

Dear Representative/Senator:

I am a psychologist and one of your constituents. I’m contacting you to ask that you support the claims expenditure assessment approach to dealing with the provider tax. Please take providers out of the middle of this cumbersome process. Another state (Michigan) has taken this approach and been successful in obtaining the assessment from all commercial payers, including the ERISA self-insured plans. It may be tempting to simply repeal the sunset of the provider tax, but that leaves providers stuck with an administrative burden. If you have questions about this, feel free to contact our state association, the Minnesota Psychological Association, at [email protected]. Thanks for all of your efforts on behalf of your community.


Click here to view archived 2018 MPA Legislative Updates

Click here to view archived 2017 MPA Legislative Updates

 

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.