June 2019 KPA PAC Newsletter

By Georgeann Brown, Ph.D.

Mental health advocacy is a passion of mine, and I have the privilege of being involved in multiple areas of advocacy within the Kentucky Psychology Association.  I am the Federal Advocacy Coordinator, a member of the Legislative Committee, have chaired KPA’s Legislative/Psychology Day in Frankfort for the past 6 years, and serve on the KPA Political Action Committee. The idea of psychologists getting involved politically to help influence mental health policy appealed to me early on in my career, but it took me the “longest” to understand the importance of contributing money to political campaigns.  Every year, I would help prepare KPA’s talking points for our annual Psychology Day in Frankfort, and send Action Alerts to the KPA membership for important legislation.  Despite our group being well prepared and articulating our legislative priorities effectively, it became clear to me the importance of having legislators in office that would help us accomplish our legislative priorities and ultimately to improve mental health access and treatment in Kentucky.  With psychology-friendly legislators in office, we are more likely to see success.   I have come to see that these legislators are in both political parties, often have a family member/friend who is struggling with a mental health issue, and understand the value of protecting and promoting psychology/behavioral health care. I now realize the importance of psychology being involved in the entire political process, not only to be at the table, but to be a part of creating it.      

At the KPA Board retreat on June 7th and 8th  at Barren River State Park, I spoke on behalf of the PAC regarding the importance of political giving through KPA-PAC.  In order for the best candidates to be elected, they have to procure funding for their campaigns.  In 2018, KPA gave over $11,300 to 21 candidates.  Over 81% of the candidates we gave to were elected. KPA-PAC has a process of deciding which candidates to give to that have been friendly to KPA’s priorities and mental health policies we support.  Giving to these legislators’ campaigns helps get psychology-friendly legislators elected, gives KPA name recognition, and distinguishes us as an allied organization that wants to work with politicians to improve mental health care in Kentucky.

KPA’s board and committee members are highly involved, and many prioritize giving to KPA-PAC.    We had a fun Starbucks gift card drawing for board members who pledged to give to the KPA-PAC at our board retreat on June 8th.  Congratulations to Maggie Sargeant for winning the drawing (see picture).  If we all pool our money together, we can work to help elect the best candidates, give voice to KPA, and help prioritize mental health-related legislation that will best serve Kentuckians.  Please consider donating at the following levels below:

□ Bronze Level $1-100

□ Silver Level $101-249

 □ Gold Level $250-499

□ Platinum Level $500-$999 

□ Leadership Circle $1000 - $2000

You can contribute in one of two ways:

1. Personal check written to “KPA-PAC:  that may be mailed to KPA-PAC, attn Joe Edwards, 1300 Clear Springs Trace, Suite 7  Louisville, KY 40223;

2. On-line with a personal credit card by going to http://www.kpapac.org/take-action/  

Checks can be personal checks (preferred) but they can come from business checks (if the business is not incorporated, an LLC or is Associates in Psychology) It could be a check from “Dr. Joe Schmoe” from a business account. PAC donations are NOT tax deductible


April 2019 KPA Newsletter Article

By Dr. Michelle Bornstein, Psy.D.

The KPA Political Action Committee (PAC) is a strong voice in Frankfort representing the interests of  psychologists and mental health clinicians and working to promote the psychological well-being of the citizens of Kentucky. 

The 2019 legislative session recently ended and, during the 30-day period, over 75 bills were reviewed, resulting in some great successes for the psychological community and for the state of Kentucky! 

SB1, a KPA-supported bill, passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Bevin. This law will require every school in Kentucky to adopt a trauma-informed approach to assist in identifying and addressing the learning needs of students impacted by trauma and to promote an environment where students can feel safe, nurtured and successful.    

Relatedly, House Floor Amendment 1, also supported by KPA, passed and was signed into law.  This law gives schools flexibility to hire licensed mental health professionals, at a ratio of 1:250 students, in addition to the school counselors already placed in those schools. Not only will this law work to bolster schools in protecting its most vulnerable students but it will create more positions for Kentucky’s licensed clinicians. KPA will continue to fight to add mental health professionals to school staff for support and consultation on the school’s trauma-informed teams.   

Senate Bill 65, passed and signed into law, establishes a Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Task Force - which will include a KPA member as a participant - aimed at improving the quality and delivery of palliative care initiatives. 

These are just a few of the bills supported by KPA that were passed and signed into law.

The KPA-PAC is a bipartisan political action committee of the Kentucky Psychological Association.  The KPA-PAC conducts legislative and political advocacy on behalf of practitioners and educators who are members of the KPA.  Decisions made in Frankfort impact important matters including the creation of new positions for mental health clinicians, insurance reimbursements and licensure.    

The KPA-PAC is the only political action committee representing psychologists in Kentucky’s political process and is funded through the contributions of Kentucky’s psychologist and mental health clinicians.  KPA membership dues do not go toward the PAC, which relies on your generous donations.  

Help the KPA-PAC advance and protect our profession! Learn more about the KPA-PAC and make a contribution at http://www.kpapac.org.

KPA-PAC 2017-18 Election Cycle Results

In the 2017-2018 election cycle, the Kentucky Psychological Association-Political Action Committee (KPA-PAC) made the following contributions:

The Kentucky House Democratic Caucus - D

Kentucky Republican House Caucus - R


Senate Contributions:

Julie Raque Adams - R

House Contributions:

Linda Belcher - D

Karen Berg - D

Tina Bojanowski - D

Charles Booker - D

McKenzie Cantrell - D

Jeff Donohue - D

Ken Fleming - R

Alan Gentry - D

Joni Jenkins - D

Dennis Keene - D

Mary Lou Marzian - D

Patti Minter - D

Kim Moser - R

Jason Nemes - R

David Osborne - R

Ruth Ann Palumbo - D

Cherlynn Stevenson - D

Wilson Stone - D

Lisa Willner - D

Jill York – R

Election Summary

Donated to 21 candidates

81% won their elections (17 of 21)

73% of donations went to Democratic candidates

27% of donations went to Republican candidates

Donated $8,300 to individual candidates in the general election

Donated $3,000 to the D/R caucuses in the general election

Total KPA-PAC donations for 2017- 2018 Election Cycle: $11,300


Bold – candidates supported that won


December 2017 KPA-PAC Newsletter

By Joseph Edwards, Psy.D.

In November, I learned that my state representative Jim Wayne was retiring after 26 years of service and would not be running for re-election in November of 2018. While the news saddened me on a personal level, as Jim has been a friend, it also worried me on a professional level that we were losing a licensed mental health professional (LCSW) and a strong voice for mental health issues over the years. But it has created a wonderful opportunity for an excellent candidate to emerge! I was overjoyed to hear that Lisa Willner, our KPA Executive Director, will be running for Jim’s seat as the representative for the 35th House District in Kentucky. Lisa has name recognition in the area, as she was elected in 2014 to the Jefferson County Public School Board with strong support, and is currently the vice-chair of the board. This is a truly an historic moment, as we have never before had a chance to support a psychologist in a race for the Kentucky General Assembly!

Why should one consider supporting Lisa Willner? Well, in a recent article in the Couirer-Journal (11/20/17 by Boris Ladwig), Lisa gave some clear reasons as to why she feels compelled to run for the position. She said that the House could use a progressive woman’s voice. She will advocate for access to affordable healthcare, especially mental healthcare, and for workers’ rights, and she will continue to advocate for public education with proper funding for public schools and teachers. It is critical that we ensure that the Kentucky Assembly has members who understand these priorities and will fight to support children, families and the working people of our Commonwealth in their budget and policy deliberations.

To have a psychologist as a policy-maker in Frankfort would give us a strong voice within the assembly in a familiar seat! I would be hard pressed to think of a more fitting candidate for District 35 than Lisa Willner. This opportunity is rare and it is important that we seize the chance to capture this seat!

The reality is, it will be a tough fight to elect a psychologist to the House. Willner already has at least one primary opponent who is a labor organizer. Others are likely to join in the race, as Jim’s decision not to run will attract a number of candidates for the seat. Recently, I gave some of my time to walk with Lisa in Audubon Park to introduce her to people that I know and to enthusiastically support her to my neighbors. I shared with them why I think Lisa Willner should have their attention and vote in the primary election on May 22, 2018. I hope all of us in psychology can rally behind Lisa Willner and make her the first psychologist elected to the Kentucky Legislature! For more information about Lisa and her campaign, please go to her website: www.lisaforkyhouse.


KPA-PAC 2018 Legislative Priorities

KPA 2018 Legislative Priorities

Revised after 11/10/17 EC Meeting

Support state funding and legislation that increases access to behavioral health services and supports a positive climate for psychological providers.

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

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.

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 another field.

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 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.

Support legislation designed to improve population health outcomes in Kentucky.

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

Maintain Medicaid coverage to all Kentuckians below 138% of the federal poverty level with full benefits and without barriers.

Rationale/examples: Protect coverage of the approximately 440,000 Kentuckians on the Medicaid rolls under the Medicaid Expansion, many of whom access substance abuse services.

Support legislative priorities adopted by the KY Mental Health Coalition.

Rationale/examples: Biennial budget which at a minimum maintains current funding for health and education; protects SMI individuals from the death penalty; assures access to prescribed medications; protects victim’s right

At the federal level: Require all health plans to:

∙       maintain Essential Health Benefits, including coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services 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, an effective appeals processes

Extend Medicaid coverage to all Americans below 138% of the federal poverty level with maximum benefits and minimum barriers.

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 would make it easier for patients to access behavioral health services.


By Dr. Ben Birkby

The KPA-PAC is the only political action committee speaking for psychologists in Kentucky’s political process. Decisions made in Frankfort impact matters, such as psychology licensure, insurance reimbursements, and our very identity as psychologists. KPA-PAC is a bipartisan political action committee of the Kentucky Psychological Association. KPA-PAC conducts legislative and political advocacy on behalf of practitioners and educators who are members of the Kentucky Psychological Association.



·       KPA-PAC ranked 7th out of 24 health professional PACs in 2016 (in 2015 KPA-PAC ranked 24th out of 25 health PACs)!

·       11 out of 14 KPA-PAC supported candidates were victorious in 2016!

·       Candidates from both political parties were supported by KPA-PAC in 2016!

·       For the 2nd year in a row the KPA-PAC has received strong financial support from the KPA Board!

·       KPA-PAC is becoming more visible in the political process!


Learn more about the work of the KPA-PAC at the KPA CONVENTION in November. Visit us at the KPA-PAC Booth or the ECP/Early Licensee Social.


Raise your voice for psychology. Help advance and protect your profession. Make a contribution at http://www.kpapac.org

June 2017 News

The KPA-PAC is our voice for psychology in Kentucky’s political process. Decisions made in Frankfort impact matters, such as psychology licensure, insurance reimbursements, and our very identity as psychologists. With your support, the KPA-PAC will continue to advocate for psychological health and psychology practice in Kentucky. The KPA-PAC needs you!


What is KPA-PAC?

  • KPA-PAC is a bipartisan political action committee of the Kentucky Psychological Association.

  • KPA-PAC conducts legislative and political advocacy on behalf of practitioners and educators who are members of the Kentucky Psychological Association.


Why is support of the KPA-PAC so important?

  • KPA-PAC provides a voice for psychologists and their priorities in Frankfort – the greater the number of contributors to the KPA-PAC, the more effective it will be.

  • The KY State Congress is making decisions now that will affect psychologists for years to come. Your support of the KPA-PAC is critical if we hope to advance psychology priorities within KY.

  • Through the KPA-PAC, we can all play an active role in the KY election process and have our voices heard.

  • By supporting the KPA-PAC, we are advancing political awareness and concern about the future of psychology.


Who will the KPA-PAC support with my contribution?

  • Pro-psychologist candidates

  • Incumbents and challengers

  • Democrats and Republicans

  • KY House and Senate members on key committees

  • Leadership in the KY House and Senate


How can I help?

  • Get to know your state legislators and educate them on the priorities that are important to psychology.

  • Inform the KPA-PAC of relationships you already have with members of the KY House and Senate and candidates for state office.

  • Learn more about the work of the KPA-PAC and make a contribution at http://www.kpapac.org.

February 2017 News Update!

Advocacy starts with you! The Kentucky Psychological Association-Political Action Committee (KPA-PAC), http://www.kpapac.org ,  has received outstanding support from psychologists across the state.  In our inaugural year, we are excited to report that 100% of eligible KPA board members donated to the KPA-PAC and we received numerous contributions from psychologists throughout Kentucky.

Your generous offerings allowed psychology to have a voice through supporting state legislative races.  We are pleased to report that your dollars in action contributed to victory for eleven of the fourteen campaigns to which we donated.  That’s right, eleven of the fourteen legislators we donated to won their legislative race!  Here’s the list of the eleven winning campaigns to which we contributed this year.


1.       Senator Morgan McGarvey (D) –serves Senate District 19 in Jefferson County and is on the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee (among others)

2.       Rep. Rocky Adkins (D)-Minority Floor Leader-serves House District 99-Elliot, Lewis, Rowan

3.       Rep. Sannie Overly (D)-serves House District 72-Bath, Bourbon, Fayette (part), Nicholas

4.       Rep. Jody Richards (D)-serves House District 20-Warren (part) and is on the Education Committee (among others)

5.       Rep. Lynn Belcher (R)-serves House District 4-Caldwell, Christian (part), Crittenden, Livingston

a.       Service- House-2013-present

6.       Rep. Tom Burch (D)-serves House District 30- Jefferson (part) and is on the Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection committees (among others)

7.       Rep. Reginald Meeks (D)-serves House District 42-Jefferson (part) and is on the Education and Licensing and Occupations committee (among others)

8.       Rep. Darryl T. Owens (D)-serves House District 43-Jefferson (part) and is on the Health and Welfare, Health and Family Services, and Licensing and Occupations committees (among others)

9.       Rep. Susan Westrom (D)-serves House District 79 –Fayette (part) and is on the Licensing and Occupations committee (among others)

10.   Senator Stephen Meredith (R)-serves Senate District 5-Breckinridge, Edmonson, Grayson, Hart, Larue, Meade and is on the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory, Education, and Health and Welfare committees (among others)

11.   Rep. Jill York (R)- serves House District 96-Carter, Lawrence and is on the Education committee (among others)


Look for future newsletters to highlight contributions these legislators have made to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  We hope that you join us in supporting psychology’s voice across the state!

For even more information on the legislators we've supported, click here!

Kentucky Psychological Association-Political Action Committee

By Felicia Smith, Ph.D.


  1. The KPA-PAC provides a way to connect with political candidates and educate them on topics that are important to the psychology community.

  2. Through financial contributions to political candidates, the KPA-PAC helps to get psychology-friendly policy makers elected.

  3. The KPA-PAC enables KPA to become visible in the policy making process.

  4. Our KPA elected leadership are strong supporters of the KPA-PAC and have established a goal of 100% donor participation among eligible Board members.

  5. The KPA-PAC is a tool for building relationships with policy makers and ensures psychology professionals have a voice in public policy.

  6. By reporting back about the important issues, the KPA-PAC can increase the psychological community’s awareness of the political process.

  7. Psychology is a non-partisan topic. The KPA-PAC is our opportunity to communicate to legislators and candidates across all parties that we are engaged in the process.



  • Donate! Contribute to our efforts. PAC donors will be acknowledged at the KPA annual convention and in member communications. Donate online at www.kpapac.org

  • Attend KPA’s annual Legislative Day in Frankfort and meet legislators to begin building personal relationships with them.

  • Develop an ongoing relationship with your legislator or candidate and educate them on issues that matter to psychology.

  • Attend the PAC social event at the KPA Convention on Thursday, November 3, 2016.


The KPA-PAC our voice for psychology in the political process. With your support, KPA will continue to monitor and initiate legislation that impacts psychological health and psychology practice in Kentucky. The KPA-PAC needs your support now!