Legislation

History

    It has been a long process in the making. Starting about three years ago, MAPP member Dr. Mary Clark, and MAPP Attorney Rudy Serra, sat down with MPA Executive Director Dr. Judith Kovach and Dr. Kristen Sheridan (Licensing Chair) to see if we could work together and design a bill that would remove the “eternal supervision” provision of the LLP, along with advertising restrictions.

     That first meeting proved hopeful. We (meaning MPA and MAPP) were able to lay out on the table our “die on the sword” issues. MPA: Scope of practice; use of the title Psychologist exclusively. MAPP: Independent practice; advertising freedom. It was felt that this could be done, and that other issues could be worked out over time. 

     From this meeting, a committee from MAPP, Bruce Klein, Clarence Goodlein, Jeffrey Toepler, and Dr. Mary Clark met in Lansing at the MPA conference facility with Dr. Kovach and Dr. Sheridan, and occasionally other members of MPA. The other important person present most of the time was the MPA lobbyist. 

     During the course of meeting over a year, we were able to learn what had gone wrong with previous bills that had been submitted to the legislature, what the “complaints” were about the bills from other sources, etc. The lobbyist was able to obtain all this data and from it MAPP members researched each item and designed proposals that would counter and satisfy the complaints (which, by the way, were mostly legitimate). MAPP also researched other states that had licensed Master-level clinicians to see how they designed legislation and how it was able to pass their legislatures. The MAPP board also studied the curriculum of Master’s Programs and the accredit ting mechanisms available to see what would be the “highest” level of credentialing.

     It was the goal of both MAPP and MPA that if we obtained independent licensing that it be a strong license, well-credentialed, meet up to national recognition wherever possible, that it “sold” our skills in a convincing manner, and clearly identified our scope of practice. 

     After the research was assembled and all the information was gathered, there were more meetings to discuss the possible title, scope of practice, how the change would be made to the new license, requirements for new applicants, etc. 

     When we reached the point of writing the language for the bill, the MPA offered MAPP, free of charge, the services of their lobbyist. MPA has had much more experience with legislation and knew the “ins and outs” of the Michigan legislature more than MAPP did. This was an incredible offer. The language was written late 2010, but was too late to introduce, and we also faced the changes in the new legislature and governor, so the lobbyist thought it best to wait until 2011 House and Senate were more settled, and sponsors could be identified. She has an amazing expertise of how to make sure we have the strongest possibility of having the bill pass. 

     Once the bill is passed, when the new statutes are in place, then we will focus on writing the “rules” which will specify how the new statutes will be carried out. MAPP looks forward to more coordinated work with MPA to finish this process. Dr. Kovach has retired at the Executive Director of MPA, but Dr. Kristen Sheridan, now the President of MPA, will help carry on the history of what has been done into the next year. 

     Keeping in mind that the Board of Directors of MAPP and MPA all serve in a volunteer capacity, and have “day jobs”, this has been a few years of additional time, travel, and “homework” for us all. It has been rigorous; meetings are held in Lansing; we usually met for at least two hours at a time; always walked out with homework to do, but with hope that the goals can really happen.

     It is truly a time for celebration. What has been a long time idea and a vision is finally happening. From the Board of MAPP, we can only share our deepest appreciation and thanks to MPA for their graciousness, expertise, and putting in the “lion’s share” to make this licensing change come to fruition. It was a wonderful partnership, and would make Washington DC envious!