RxP will help us deal with mental health crisis

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By Sen. Don Harmon & Rep. John Bradley

We face many serious problems in Springfield. One that we are particularly concerned about is our mental health care system in crisis. That is why we are so determined to address it through an important tool we call RxP, and why it is critical we take on directly the troubling myths about it.

We were approached about carrying legislation to give psychologists prescription authority many months ago. We both had our initial doubts, as did our excellent Republican co-sponsors Rep. Raymond Poe and Sen. Dave Syverson. No legislator wants to be flippant when patient safety is involved, especially when there are legitimate concerns that people are being overmedicated as it is.

We write to explain why our concerns have been completely addressed and why we are asking our colleagues to support the new version of Senate Bill 2187, granting specially trained psychologists the ability to help deal with so many people who now see their mental illnesses go untreated. It is time for RxP in Illinois.

We hear our critics say the legislation does not require enough medical training. Yet under this latest version of SB 2187, prescribing psychologists will be well-prepared after their training and clinical work to safely prescribe.

Beyond their years of schooling to become licensed psychologists, they will go through rigorous courses in everything from anatomy, physiology and biology to clinical medicine, psychopharmacology and health assessment. They will emerge knowing how medications for mental illness intersect with behavioral therapy and how to treat patients based on their specific problem and the best path to help them get better.

Then we are putting in place a two-year conditional license very similar to a medical residency. Here, prescribing psychologists will work with a supervising physician to talk about patient symptoms, diagnoses and treatment plans, including appropriate medication types and levels. 

RxP training has been an unquestioned success in other states and in the U.S. military, and now we are adding another layer of protection that can become a model for other states to follow.

The psychologist-physician partnership is a critical element for our effort. Legislators have given advanced-practice nurses prescribing authority under state law if they have a collaboration agreement with a participating physician. We are mirroring that arrangement with our prescribing psychologist proposal.

Throughout the course of the training, the collaborating physician would meet regularly with the training psychologist to discuss patient treatment. The physician can set limits on, or requirements for, the psychologist's authority to prescribe, and state regulators will have appropriate oversight as well.

We hear the excuses that the training is not appropriate or would be an endorsement of lower-tiered care. But these arguments put fear ahead of fact. The truth is there are many layers we are putting in place to make sure psychologists can prescribe safely and to ensure patient safety is always the top priority.

We also hear that there are other routes to promote mental health care, such as telepsychiatry. We are not presenting RxP as an either-or choice, or as the only solution for this massive problem. It is one important step of many we should take to address this crisis.

Without RxP, too many people will go without mental health care. They will end up in jails like in Cook County, where Sheriff Tom Dart supports RxP because he calls his jail the state's largest mental health provider — a sad statement. Illinois Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Greg Sullivan sums up his association's support for this initiative as the result of sheriffs seeing firsthand that these services are essential to meeting dire needs. 

"We have to think outside the box on how we attack and repair the broken mental health system in this state. Through coordinated efforts, great things are accomplished," he said.

We are hopeful this is the year Illinois takes a key step forward to help those with mental illness. RxP is the sensible path to move past the fear campaigns and toward the safe, comprehensive care our constituents deserve. 

State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and state Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) are sponsors of Senate Bill 2187.

Reader Comments

70 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Steve Curtis from Bainbridge Island  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 4:07 AM

I am very excited that this bill could potentially pass. This is the right thing to do.

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 3:39 PM

Does the law will require PhD's so prescribe? Doesn't seem so. But offering up diminishing numbers and access to Physicians (thanks ACA) does not seem a good argument against empower other professionals with training.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 3:09 PM

@joe, I think the difference is that nurses are already medically trained. That who they are, by definition, is that they are in the medical field. Psychologists are not, and it appears that not all of them want to be. Psychology is a different science that uses techniques to help people that are not medically based. So it seems that the issue is that some think a psychologist is no longer a psychologist if they take on a medically-based solution.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 2:59 PM

i don't see what the big hoopla is here... Nurse practitioners can prescribe in Illinois and they do so in collaboration with a physician. This looks to be setting up a similar situation for psychologists. The vast majority of Nurse Practitioners are Masters trained and psychologists have a Ph.D. education here isn't an issue. plus the psychologist will working under an agreement with a physician. Sounds like another situation that works everywhere else but 'could not possibly work in IL'

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 11:22 AM

This is not a question of studies or outcomes. The Hippocratic Oath states "First do no harm" .Egas Moniz co won the Nobel prize for medicine. For his work in lobotomies. He never gave the prize back. I find it interesting that we want to lower the bar for prescribing drugs when supposedly fewer and fewer people want to go into the field, possibly due to Obamacare.

Jean Alberti PhD  

Posted: May 18th, 2014 5:02 PM

If, as the sponsors say, "RxP training has been an unquestioned success in other states," why did only 2 states [Louisiana & New Mexico] pass such legislation while 26 states defeated it?

Look within  

Posted: May 18th, 2014 11:42 AM

@Joe We have 20 years of RxP in the military, New Mexico, Louisiana, etc. without incident. The onus is on critics to prove the correlation with negative patient outcomes rather than resorting to general "against" statements without backing up their emotional reaction. References, please. That's the way objective reasoning works. (Which should come naturally to people with science degrees.)

Joe  

Posted: May 18th, 2014 9:50 AM

Look Within's comment is silly. We also don't have studies evaluating the hazards of allowing teachers to prescribe ADHD medication but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Look within  

Posted: May 17th, 2014 1:59 PM

For doctors and psychologists with a science background, I find most of the comments here to be strangely small-minded in their lack of appeal to evidence-based research. Where are the piles of data about the hazards...? If you want the public/lawmakers to listen, my advice is prove your case. Where are the large scale, peer-reviewed studies listing the dangers of RxP? Anyone?

Anthony Vertino, PsyD  

Posted: May 17th, 2014 1:29 PM

As a Psychologist in Illinois, I can say that IPA has quashed all debate on this subjection on their listserve. Opposing views are not heard. Those for say its about access in rural areas, as if all our colleagues are going to move to rural IL to prescribe. They will not. APNs and PA's have significant medical training that we simply do not. There has even been a recent push for Psychologists to be able to prescribe pain medications. Stop this slippery slope before someone gets hurt.

Uncomplicated MD  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 4:08 PM

I wonder if Rep Harmon would consider passing a bill to reduce the amount of training required to become a pediatrician or surgeon. I mean that seriously. One way to address the shortage of doctors in Illinois would be to simply pass a law that says they can practice after 1 year of clinical rotations and six months of residency.

Judith S. Tellerman, MAT, MEd, PhD, ABPP, FAAGP, CGP from Chicago  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:50 PM

A Clinical Psychologist must complete 6-10 years of post-graduate training followed by years of supervised work and exams to become licensed. This is followed by years of work and exams to become Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). After becoming licensed the psychologist would be eligible to enroll in this program: "The Prescriptive authority for psychologists (RxP) movement is a public health initiative to give prescriptive authority to psychologists with 2

Keen Comments  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 9:44 PM

I've investigated the proposed bill & worry that the legislators writing this editorial have somehow been duped. They reference "unquestioned success" in the current programs, but there's nothing that demonstrates any advantages. If anything, I found resources that say the NM & LA programs are mostly unstudied, or have made no difference for patients. It makes no sense to create an unstudied training program with no national standards. Seems like this will turn the mentally ill into guinea pigs

Alan Rosenbaum from DeKalb  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 1:51 PM

As a psychologist, I also oppose RxP, as do most academic psychologists. Since when do psychologists view medication as the gold standard of treatment for psychological problems? The foundation of our profession is the use of psychotherapy (cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic) to help people deal with their problems. Do we want to be reduced (by the insurance companies) to seeing our clients once every six weeks for 15 minutes, as our psychiatric brethren do? I prefer to not enrich Big Pharma.

@Disillusioned  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 1:11 PM

I won't speak to insurance or the overuse of drugs, but it is worth noting that in 20 years of RxP in the military and other states, not a single case of malpractice or single complaint has been filed against a prescribing psychologist. Not exactly the gold mine you imagine.

Disillusioned citizen from chicago  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 1:03 PM

It is likely not a coincidence that the main beneficaries of this ridiculous bill are the trial lawyers, insurance and pharmaceutical industries-3 major contributors to campaign coffers. Imagine the $$$ in malpractise premiums, lawyers fees and prescriptions-a veritable gold mine. Once again the most vulnerable segment of society, the mentally ill are being used as a pawn in a very dirty game of political chess.

Look within  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:06 PM

Tim, agreed the topic is too big for this venue. As a member of the general public, I'd just hate to see others confused by the opposition in these comments if this does pass. If we do end up a RxP state, I hope some of the closed minds on this thread are opened. Who is the public to believe? The professional org? Scare-tactics? Perhaps the mental health community isn't doing itself any favors with this bitter criticism.

Sam R. Hamburg, Ph.D. from Chicago  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:00 PM

I am a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience. I have studied neuroscience for years. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that the training proposed to enable psychologists to prescribe medications is laughably inadequate. Fortunately, there are many well-trained professionals out there who can prescribe: family physicians, internists, nurse practitioners as well as psychiatrists. If one of my clients needs meds, I never have a problem finding someone for that.

charles anderson from chicago, il  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:46 AM

we are an already over prescribed society. The various RxP bills across the country are driven by big pharma who are more concerned with bottom line than patient protection.

Tim Tumlin from Darien  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:12 AM

@LookWithin:Such questions are too detailed for this small space but I'll say this: Those surveys misleadingly do not ask about details, such as obtaining only 9 semester courses online for the full biomedical education. When asked details, psychologists are overwhelmingly opposed. See Baird 2007: 78.6 percent of us would disapprove of the training in this bill. Proponents will not debate because psychologists do oppose what's in this bill.

Look within  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:03 AM

For those curious, here's the link to RxP from the Illinois Psychological Association. http://www.illinoispsychology.org/prescribing-psychologists and the link to the bill's progress in the General Assembly: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2187&GAID=12&DocTypeID=SB&SessionID=85&GA=98

Look within  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:55 AM

So it's cloak and dagger at IPA? They're the largest body of psychologists in IL. The APA supports RxP, too. The numbers I'm seeing are that an avg of 2/3 of psychologists support RxP when surveys are done. Can you please point to research indicating that most psychologists oppose this bill? It's hard to believe you guys aren't the ones against the grain here. This request came from psychologists, not the legislature!

Tim Tumlin, Ph.D. from Darien  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:37 AM

@Look Within: The Illinois Psychological Association's governance is controlled by a small clique of RxP activists, who act in secret, avoiding any public debate and withholding information from members. The vast majority of psychologists oppose what is in this bill. You may wish to ask IPA why they do not heed the will of the psychology community, and also why they do not pursue this campaign openly and transparently. The overwhelming opposition by psychologists in this section is no surprise.

clancy  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:23 AM

@jeff - Psychologists are not inferior physicians because they are not physicians at all. They are no more qualified to dispense dangerous and unproven SSRI's than social workers. Let's keep the drug dispensing to those who have spent the time getting educated about them - medical doctors

Look within  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:20 AM

I'm curious what all the psychologists opposing here have to say about standing against their own professional body. Have you taken this up internally with the IL Psychological Association who supports the measure? This request for RxP is coming from WITHIN your own community. Talk to them!

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:13 AM

A nine year old girl should have over the counter access to plan B, marijuana should be legal and available, but my therapist shouldn't be able to give me an Ambien? Hmm.

Lynn Nelson from Wilmette  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 10:12 AM

While I appreciate the desire on the part of our representatives in the state legislature to address a need in the mental health area, especially in the downstate region, as a practicing licensed clinical psychologist, former licensed social worker and school psychologist, I am emphatically against psychologists having prescription privileges. For all of the reasons stated above in others' comments, there is too much risk to the client when a medical provider is not involved in the process.

Jeff Temple, PhD from Galveston  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 9:37 AM

In response to this comment: "Let's wave a magic wand and make psychologists into medical doctors. And while we're add it, let's make flight attendants into pilots, meter maids into police officers, and law clerks into politicians." You seem to suggest that psychologists are inferior to physicians. My argument against this bill stems from our superiority in providing evidenced based therapy, and in our desire to not be junior psychiatrists. Please don't mistake that for lack of ability or status

Phon Nguyen, MD from Chicago  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 8:58 AM

Continued from previous comment: Further more, psychologist's expertise is in psychotherapy, which would decline with the privilege of prescribing. There are not many psychiatrists offering psychotherapy anymore so psychologists roles in psychotherapy is crucial to provide patient with comprehensive mental healthcare. Thank you for your consideration.

Phon from Chicago   

Posted: May 15th, 2014 8:52 AM

I do not support this bill to allow psychologist to prescribe. Two years of clinical training is not not equivalent to four years of medical school and four years of residency training, thus patient safety is still at risk. In addition, the practice of telepsychiatry is expanding and reaching underserved areas. Certainly there are still areas not well served and this is the priority and commitment of telepsychiatry. Further more, psychologist's expertise is in psychotherapy, which would decline

Erin Emery-Tiburcio, PhD from Chicago  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 8:50 AM

While I appreciate the needs for mental health services, particularly in rural areas, utilizing telehealth to connect psychiatrists to those in need is a much safer proposition than those will less than optimal training providing services. Rather than closing the service gap, it actually widens the quality service gap - those most in need get lower quality care. Further, older adults and those with multiple meds will be at risk in getting prescriptions from those without a medical degree.

Virginia Kasser, Ph.D.  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 7:57 AM

I am a licensed clinical psychologist in a rural area of downstate Illinois, and I oppose this bill because it's unsafe for patients. Psychologists can work with local health care providers if their patients need psychotropic medication. (Physician assistants and LNPs have much more medical training than psychologists would have with this bill!)

Jan Willer, Ph.D. from Chicago  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 7:14 AM

As a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois, I am strongly opposed to this bill. The medical training is inadequate and would put patients at risk.

Patricia Black from Forest Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:13 AM

I am opposed to this bill.

muntz  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 10:24 PM

17 MORE comments by trained psychologists. They are more vocal than our WJ Opinion contributer Al Popowits whom strives to protect his $90K pension 20+ years AFTER his retirement. Makes me think Sen Harmon has extended beyond his level of expertise. I have something our dear senator should concentrate instead...PENSION REFORM where pensioners withdraw far more than has been contributed on their behalf. Priorities, my dear senator???

Marc Atkins from River Forest  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 10:11 PM

I am a licensed psychologist and professor at UIC. I do not agree with the premises of this legislation. We do not need more people prescribing medication. We do not need psychologists acting like physicians without proper training. We need better mental health care. This is not the answer. Please listen to the many psychologists who are opposed to this. We have many better ways to serve the mental health needs of Illinois.

Steve Noronha from Elmhurst  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:57 PM

Lets face it-the only real winners here are big pharma and big politics. The altruistic guise of the proposed bill is just that-a guise.

Not a head shrinker  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:44 PM

Bridgett, don't let the comments here fool you. The majority of the psychology community is in favor of prescriptive authority. I was alluding to the not-so-coincidental appearance of psychologists--en masse--who have tilted these comments in one direction. Something like 60-70% of psychologists favor this idea. Just keep in mind we're hearing from the vocal 30% against so far.

Concerned Citizen from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:34 PM

What a great idea! Let's wave a magic wand and make psychologists into medical doctors. And while we're add it, let's make flight attendants into pilots, meter maids into police officers, and law clerks into politicians.

Vamsi Garlapati from Crystal lake  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:34 PM

Patient access to psychologists is very difficult as it is. Psychologists are contributing very little in the states where the RxP like bills are approved. I don't think Cook county jail is entire Illinois. Are psychologists ready to committ that they will serve in areas where access is critically low? When did any physician has become a mental health expert to supervise the psychologists and determine their quality of psychopharmacotherapy? Is it that hard for sponsors to these holes?

Jeff Temple, PhD from Galveston  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:24 PM

Count me as a licensed psychologist opposed to this bill.

Scott Hunter from Chicago  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:19 PM

It is sad to see that such generally thoughtful congresspeople are so beholden to a small group of well funded but poorly intentioned psychologists, who speak for solely their own special interests - not those of their fellow psychologists, who clearly oppose this bill and its provisions of inadequate treatment. They also fail to speak for the people most in need, who will be unserved and ultimately harmed by this bill. This bill is a sham.

Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D. from Reno, NV  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:18 PM

I'm a research clinical psychologist at the University of Nevada and have done studies on pharmacotherapy in combination with psychotherapy. This bill opens a dangerous door and it will likely increase, not decrease, the overuse and improper use of medications. Psychologists already can consult with physicians; in the few states that have tried this bad idea it has not had a beneficial impact on provider shortages. It is not needed and it is not safe. Just say no.

Jack Schaffer, PhD from St. Paul  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:17 PM

I am a psychologist opposed to this bill. My question in response to the denial of risk is: what part of medical school training is unnecessary for protection of the public? If medical training, either for physicians or nurse practitioners is required, then psychologists who want to prescribe should get that training. And, not less.

Mike Handwerk, Ph.D. from Harrisburg  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:02 PM

I'm an experienced licensed clinical psychologist practicing in downstate IL. While access to psychotropic medication is a critical concern in rural areas, this is not the solution. Psychologists provide needed, efficacious treatments, and adding psychotropic medications to the mix would dilute this product. Further, as others have commented, the few states with Rx privs for psychologists have not seen substantial change to access. If you want to prescribe medications, get a medical degree

Richard Sethre  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 9:00 PM

This bill has been rammed through the process without proper transparency and scrutiny. RxP is extremely controversial among psychologists, and is opposed by all other medical professions. It should be defeated because of the corrupt process and the diverse, knowledgeable experts who oppose it.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:53 PM

@Not A Head Shrinker, Your comment doesn't make sense as the comments here against the bill are mostly *not* from doctors and psychiatrists who want to "protect their interests." They are from psychologists.

Concerned Citizen from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:32 PM

Senator Harmon does have a history of being persuasive. He has it wrong this time. The mentally ill are the neediest of all healthcare recipients. Psychologists do not/cannot see Medicaid and most Medicare patients. This bill will not allow/make psychologists take care of out most challenging patients. Instead it will help psychologists make 4 times what they do now ( refer to Channel 11, Chicago Tonight, 05/13/14.) Do we really want our children exposed to more medication by untrained providers

Not a head shrinker  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:15 PM

Thank you for your support of this bill, Sen Harmon and Rep. Bradley. Contrary to the outrage here, this is a common sense reform we need so keep at it. The doctors and psychiatrists want to protect their interests. We get it. But psychologists prescribing makes sense for patients. Dangerous? Don't go to one. But let the patient decide. This is, in the end, about greater choice in the market.

David M Walton, PhD from Northfield  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:14 PM

I'm a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. I'm opposed. I think we need non chemical tx expertise. The way this bill was proposed and seemingly financed tastes like a sneaky and underhanded way to medicalize therapy. If that is coming, there should be open debate and perhaps some valid research comparing medical and non-medical interventions.

muntz  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:10 PM

17 comments already by trained psychologists. They are more organized than the public unions. Makes me think Sen Harmon has extended beyond his level of expertise. I have something our dear senator should concentrate instead...PENSION REFORM where pensioners withdraw far more than has been contributed on their behalf. Priorities, my dear senator???

Jana from   

Posted: May 14th, 2014 8:08 PM

Very dangerous bill. If we need more prescribers we should make effort on putting more students through medical schools like the rest of the world. Is this bill about more providers or power?

Ken from Chicago  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:53 PM

Be careful what you wish for, psychologists. If this bill passes, you'll know what it's like to pay the sort of malpractice insurance rates that I, as a psychiatrist, have to pay. More importantly, to prescribe psychotropic medication for someone who is simultaneously taking four other drugs, prescribed by his/her cardiologist and primary care physician, you really ought to be a licensed physician. Potentially dangerous drug interactions are nothing to mess around with. This is a terrible bill.

Richard Katz from Evanston  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:43 PM

This bill is misguided by misinformation. This bill should be stopped. I am a clinical psychologist in practice for 35+ years. The sponsors need to read the outcome research.

Steve from Chicago  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:43 PM

I'm a fourth-year psychiatry resident. I recently saw a young woman who'd been depressed and wanted me to prescribe anti-depressant medication. After conducting a thorough history, I thought it was likely that she had hypothyroidism and needed Synthroid, not an anti-depressant medication like Zoloft. I ordered thyroid function tests and her TSH level was too high ?" i.e., she had hypothyroidism. Wouldn't you agree that these are determinations that physicians, not psychologists, should be making?

Steve Noronha from Elmhurst  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:23 PM

This is the a very dangerous and irresponsible piece of legislation being proposed. It will ONLY place many fragile and often medically ill patients at increased risk.There is a very good reason why NO OTHER COUNTRY anywhere allows psychologists prescriptive privileges. There is also a very good reason why Physicians have to go through thousands of hours of rigorous clinical and academic training in almost 10 years of medical school and residency to be allowed prescriptive privileges.

David Carbonell, Ph.D. from Oak Park  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:13 PM

I'm a licensed psychologist in Illinois. I oppose this bill. It's bad for consumers, and bad for the profession of psychology. I'm sorry to see that my representative in district 78, Camille Lilly, is a cosponsor of this misguided proposal. We are poorly served by this legislation.Turn down this bill!

Michael Rabin PhD from Northbrook  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 7:07 PM

I am a clinical psychologist with over thirty years experience, and I oppose the RxP bill for the many excellent reasons listed above by my colleagues.

Violet Aura from RF  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 6:41 PM

It's quite troubling that both these pols are Dems. But color me not surprised. I am DONE with a two-party system!!!

Peter Fore  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 6:37 PM

Sen. Harmon and Rep. Bradley, Creating a new group of inadequately trained people to prescribe these powerful medications is NOT the solution to mental health access. And to suggest that the provisional license is similar to a medical residency is intellectually dishonest.

David Valentiner from DeKalb, IL  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 6:06 PM

Prescription privileges for psychologists is a bad idea for many reasons. I am a clinical psychologists and I train doctoral students in clinical psychology. The consequences to the public and the profession would be devastating. There is such a strong consensus on the topic that you should wonder how the idea has persisted and how it has come before you for consideration now.

Sue Lafferty, Ph.D. from Evanston  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 6:03 PM

I am a licensed clinical psychologist. I am against this bill because i do not believe it offers adequate clinical training to protect patients' safety.

Violet Aura from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 6:02 PM

@Dr. Tim: Thank you! Big Pharma has usurped our governemental body. While there may be instances where psych meds are necessary, too often it is used INSTEAD of talk therapy, which trains people how to see their situation in a new way. Drugs cannot heal. That is the bottom line. And what is worse, they can cause a myriad of extremely serious situations that might be much worse than their state of mind beforehand!

William Robiner from Minneapolis  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 5:53 PM

I agree that there are problems in the mental health system. However, the proposal being advanced would add an additional big problem rather than help. Although they content the training is rigorous, it isn't. Much is on line and none is accredited at a national level. It is cursory. Graduates of the training confide it is not adequate to prescribe confidently. The training is abbreviated vis a vis other prescribers. It's a risk not a fix. Oppose it.

Milton Strauss from Corrales  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 5:52 PM

The educational requirements are less than ANY other profession with Rx privileges. Supervision of residency is not mandated to be be a psychiatric physician; general practioners are themselves often not well trained in psychiatric meds. Additionally, it is clear that prescribing psychologists in NM and LA do not typically serve underserved populations

Lisa Rone  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 5:41 PM

This bad legislation is "flippant" and very unsafe to the citizens of Illinois. They deserve better than expedience. Sen. Harmon is too smart not to know the way to deal with the mental health crisis in our state is to restore the more than 66% cuts in mental health funding that have been authorized by these legislators in the last several years.

Karl Schmitt  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 5:11 PM

I'm a licensed psychologist in IL. Bottom line - this bill is dangerous for mental health patients. The training required in this bill for psychologists to prescribe is pathetic compared to the training required for other prescribing professions. If a psychologist wants to prescribe medications they can complete the much more rigorous training for those professions.

Anne Marie Albano from New York, NY  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 4:55 PM

I am a board certified, licensed clinical psychologist. Granting prescribing privileges to psychologists puts patients at risk. Extend training in psychiatric meds to primary care MDs to meet demands and keep patients safe.

Elaine Heiby  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 4:51 PM

Dear Honorable Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. John Bradley:. Unfortunately, you have overlooked that the medical training involved is far less than any other prescriber in Illinois. It is even too little to be admitted to a Physician Assistant program. There is no evidence that this substandard training protects the consumer.

Tim Tumlin, Ph.D. from Darien  

Posted: May 14th, 2014 4:38 PM

I am a licensed psychologist in Illinois. This bill is dangerous and reckless, although lucrative for those persons and organizations who want to ally themselves with drug makers. It allows persons with no biomedical background to practice psychiatric medicine based on 9 college courses taken online from a psychology school. Those who want to prescribe should get the appropriate medical training, just as everyone else has to. Patient safety should come before financial benefits.

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