2020 Legislative Priorities

Priority #1: KPA advocates for evidence-based practices for youth that promote psychological well-being, physical health, and safety

Banning Conversion Therapy: HB 199 & SB 85

  • KPA supports a ban on conversion therapy to “treat” sexual orientation or gender identity for persons under the age of 18. There is clear evidence that conversion therapy does not work, and further evidence that it is harmful to LGBTQ individuals

Support of Qualified Mental Health Professionals in Schools: SB 8

  • We support the addition of school-based mental health service providers in the required ratio of 1:250 students, to provide mental health services and to create trauma-informed schools that address students’ needs and prevent violence. Qualified mental health professionals in schools can now bill Medicaid, providing a mechanism for funding the addition of these professionals. 

  • We support training school resource officers in trauma-informed and evidence-based practices to help decrease disruptive behavior in schools. We have a strong evidence base that developing relationships and having positive interactions with students can both minimize disruptive behavior and increase the chances that students report concerns about themselves or other students. Requiring SROs to carry firearms can negatively impact this relationship, with particular harm for students with marginalized backgrounds.

Banning Corporal Punishment in Schools: HB 22

  • KPA supports a ban on corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment is tied to many negative outcomes and does not promote positive behaviors or a positive learning environment.   

Priority #2: KPA advocates for the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, HB 110 

Support for the Formation of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT): HB 110

  • KPA supports the formation of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) which will allow psychologists to practice telehealth in Kentucky and in other states who are part of the compact. This will increase the accessibility to psychological services in our state, especially in rural areas

Priority #3: Budget Issue: KPA supports critical health and welfare agencies that provide the safety net of community services in Kentucky and opposes fiscal barriers to their survival

Pension Help for Quasi-Governmental Agencies  

  • KPA recognizes that Community Mental Health Centers are essential to providing mental health services to the Commonwealth, as well as Public Health Departments, Rape Crisis Centers, Domestic Violence Shelters, and Children’s Advocacy Centers. The CMHCs are the “go to” place for law enforcement, schools, and walk-ins. These programs prevent and diffuse many emergencies in our communities. Such agencies are unlikely to survive unless the funds they contribute to pensions are stabilized at the current rate of 49%.  If forced to pay the employer contribution of 93% next fiscal year, many will go bankrupt.

Priority #4: KPA advocates for more evidence-based mental health programming and for the inclusion of psychologists in making decisions that affect mental health care in the Commonwealth

Support for Mental Health First Aid Training: HB 153

  • KPA supports the establishment of the Kentucky Mental Health First Aid Training Program or similar educational programs to be administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services with the goals of educating the public and preventing suicides.

Support for the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council: SB 82

  •  KPA supports the establishment of the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to provide a forum for research, education and treatment of eating disorders across Kentucky.

Support for the Severe Mental Illness Task Force: HCR 49

  • KPA supports the formation of the Severe Mental Illness Task Force to study the provision of mental health services to adults with a severe mental illness and make recommendations for legislation and regulations to improve services and supports.

Opposition to the Medical Ethics Bill that Would Decrease Access to Healthcare: SB 90

  • KPA opposes this bill and did not ask for “psychologists” to be included in this statute. This bill allows healthcare providers, institutions, and payers to refuse to provide healthcare services to Kentuckians on the basis of their “conscience,” which is too loosely defined. Decreasing access of care to individuals is against our ethics, and we were not consulted regarding our inclusion in this bill.    

Priority #5: KPA supports legislation to protect individuals with severe mental illness from the death penalty, HB 237

Support for Exempting Kentuckians with Severe Mental Illness from the Death Penalty: HB 237

  • KPA supports legislation that, going forward, individuals with severe mental illness would not be subject to the death penalty.


KPA 2019 Legislative Priorities 

At the state level:

Support legislation maintaining psychologists’ role in licensing, regulating, and overseeing the practice of psychology.

Rationale/examples: Maintain the autonomous functioning of the KY Board of Examiners of Psychology.

Support legislation to strengthen minors’ access to mental health treatment and advocacy services.

Rationale/examples: Current law permits physicians to provide mental health counseling to minors without parental consent but does not specifically allow licensed mental health professionals to do so, nor DV & rape crisis centers to provide advocacy services to minors.

Support legislation addressing school safety issues by improving school climate and culture and increasing the availability of mental health services to students.

Rationale/examples: The recent spate of school shootings –including the deadly incident in Marshall County – has caused the state legislature to examine possible responses, ranging from more metal detectors, police presence and arming teachers to providing resources for trauma-informed schools and increased school-based mental health services and supports.

Support legislation that increases access to behavioral health services & supports a positive climate for psychology providers.

Rationale/examples: Require uniform credentialing & prompt payment by Medicaid MCOs & other insurers; Support expanded services to address Kentucky’s opioid crisis; Provide financial help to sustain CMHCs’ operations as part of the state’s retirement system.

Uphold public protection by opposing legislation allowing non-psychologists to deliver services which are clearly defined as the practice of psychology.

Rationale/examples: Seek revision of bill language which, if not modified, would infringe on the practice of psychology by those seeking licensure in a profession other than psychology.

Increase psychology’s voice in decisions affecting behavioral health.

Rationale/examples: Establish a Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services with one or more psychologists on the council.

Support evidence-based legislation designed to improve population health outcomes in Kentucky.

Rationale/examples: Support anti-smoking measures; Fund health literacy programs across the state.

Support legislation that improves health equity for historically underserved populations. Rationale/examples: Add health supports to reduce gaps in health services; Reimburse peer support specialists in both the mental health and substance use disorder arenas; Take actions to decrease social isolation in vulnerable populations which erodes health quality; Create community health workers to link Kentuckians with appropriate health care services.

Maintain Medicaid coverage for all Kentuckians below 138% of the federal poverty level.

Rationale/examples: Protect coverage of the approximately 440,000 Kentuckians on the Medicaid rolls under the Medicaid Expansion, many of whom have substance use disorders.

Monitor and respond to changes in the tax reform measure passed hurriedly in 2018 with no time for public input.

Rationale/examples: The tax reform measure now taxes non-profit organizations in their fundraising, makes the tax system more burdensome on low-income Kentuckians, and may include efforts in the future to impose a tax on health care providers, including psychologists and other behavioral health providers.

At the federal level:

Maintain the Affordable Care Act Maintain Essential Health Benefits, requiring coverage of mental health & substance use disorders and behavioral health treatment

Apply parity requirements under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) to Medicaid and Medicare and to all plans in the individual, small and large group markets.

Establish an array of basic insurance protections, including prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions, annual/lifetime coverage limits, discrimination based on health status.

Require guaranteed renewal of coverage, network adequacy, age and gender rating restrictions, and effective appeals processes.

Support the Medicare Mental Health Access Act, H.R. 1173/S.448 which would add psychologists to Medicare's "physician" definition and remove physician oversight and referral requirements under Medicare that restrict psychologists from providing needed services to Medicare patients (individuals 65 and over, and those with significant disabilities).