Rep. Kristi Noem recognized for introducing legislation that supports practicing psychologists

Practice Organization honors congresswoman with 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award.

On Feb. 29, 2016, the Practice Organization recognized Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., with the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award, given annually to a member of Congress who has done good work on behalf of professional psychology.

APA President Susan McDaniel, PhD presents the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award to Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. Noem is the lead Republican sponsor of H.R. 4277, The Medicare Mental Health Access Act, the Practice Organization’s priority legislation to allow psychologists to practice in the Medicare program without unnecessary physician supervision. Noem, along with lead Democratic sponsor Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced the bill to the House of Representatives in 2015.

“Rep. Noem's leadership on this legislation moves psychology one step closer to removing Medicare's outdated physician supervision and provides Medicare patients better access to mental health services,” said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA executive director for professional practice.

Noem is serving her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives representing South Dakota.

“Strong mental health is important to healthy aging, so it’s essential that we make care in this area more accessible to Medicare recipients,” said Noem.  “Especially in rural areas, like South Dakota, and other underserved communities, clinical psychologists play an indispensable role in meeting the mental health needs of older Americans. I’m hopeful this legislation will help remove barriers of access and by doing so, boost the mental health and well-being of seniors throughout South Dakota and across the nation.”

Noem’s award kicked off  the State Leadership Conference Capitol Hill Day, held the following morning on March 1. More than 400 psychology leaders from across the country went to Capitol Hill to urge their members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 4277 and the companion Senate bill, S.2597, sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

SLC Capitol Hill Day was a great success with psychologists meeting over 300 congressional offices. Many of these meetings were attended by members of Congress where constituent psychologists were able to ask directly for support in passing the Medicare Mental Health Access Act.