On Aug. 12, the Iowa Psychological Association (IPA) participated in an in-person roundtable held by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to discuss the bipartisan, bicameral NOPAIN Act (S. 3067/H.R. 5172) she is sponsoring with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Voices for Non-Opioid Choices (Voices), a coalition group coordinating advocacy efforts concerning this bill, reached out to APA beforehand to nominate a psychologist to participate in this discussion. APA identified IPA President Benjamin Tallman, PhD, to participate in this discussion, and prepared him for the roundtable event. Throughout the event, Tallman highlighted the important role that psychologists play in treating pain-related concerns, as well as the importance of non-pharmacological approaches to pain management such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Tallman also highlighted barriers to delivering these types of interventions, including reimbursement issues and the importance of telehealth parity.

The NOPAIN Act would expand access to clinically effective non-opioid approaches to pain management, as a means of reducing overall opioid consumption by patients treated in all outpatient surgical settings. APA joined a letter in support of this bill alongside other state and national health groups, including the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and the National Association of Social Workers. APA advocacy staff continue to call attention to the urgency of passing the NOPAIN Act amid COVID-19 and the ongoing opioid epidemic. For example, APA recently joined Voices in meetings with Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) and staff to Sen. Capito to include the NOPAIN Act in Congress’s next COVID-19 aid package.

For more information, contact Laurel Stine, JD, and Scott Barstow.