WASHINGTON, March 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representative Keith Frederick, D.O. (R-MO) received the 2017 State Legislator of the Year Award from the APA Practice Organization in recognition of his determination to persuade Medicaid leaders to remove restrictions on psychologists' ability to use Health and Behavior Codes. Rep. Frederick was presented with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 5.
An advocate for the role of psychology's contributions to health care and the value patients gain from psychological care, Rep. Frederick showed strong disagreement with Medicaid leadership regarding Health and Behavior Codes restrictions. His strong advocacy and determination helped to facilitate the removal of the code restrictions.
"Representative Frederick is a champion for psychology and mental health. He has demonstrated invaluable dedication promoting the use of Health and Behavior Codes and sponsoring legislation for better mental health access" said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, executive director for professional practice, APA Practice Organization.
He was also honored for his efforts to raise awareness of suicide and depression among medical students and physicians.
After learning about a fourth-year medical student in Missouri who passed away by suicide days before graduation, Rep. Frederick was motivated to work on the issues of depression and stress among physicians and students. He introduced legislation to address mental health in medical schools and increase public awareness of depression and stress in medical schools. Rep. Frederick also sponsored a bill requiring hospitals to examine depression and burnout among their staff.
Rep. Frederick is proud of what he accomplished and recognizes there is still more work to be done on mental health issues.
"I was happy to lead the way in the Missouri House to integrate psychologists into the care of patients who do not have or need a mental health diagnosis, but who nonetheless benefit greatly from the care of one when dealing with physical health issues," said Frederick. "For the past few years, I have been attempting to shine the light of awareness into the darkness of depression and suicide among medical students. These are highly motivated students who are often far away from family and support, chronically sleep deprived, heavily in debt, and face obstacles when asking for and receiving mental health care that they need."
Rep. Frederick has represented the 121st District in the Missouri House of Representatives since November 2011. In addition to his legislative duties, he is a practicing orthopedic surgeon. Rep. Frederick has served on numerous medical boards and committees and is the current chairman of the Department of Surgery at Phelps Country Regional Medical Center.
"In his role as a legislator, Rep. Frederick has supported the Missouri Psychological Association's (MOPA) legislative efforts and promoted better mental health countless times," said MOPA President Paul Korte, PhD. "He has become a friend to psychology and close ally to MOPA. Dr. Frederick is very deserving of this national recognition from the APA Practice Organization."
The APA Practice Organization's State Legislator of the Year Award has been presented annually since 2003 to a state legislator who has prominently championed the goals of professional psychology.
The APA Practice Organization is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association, the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. The Practice Organization, a 501 c6 organization, promotes and supports practicing psychologists. www.apapracticecentral.org.
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SOURCE American Psychological Association Practice Organization