Extending Prescription Privileges

State legislation allowing psychologists to prescribe medication drugs was approved in a House committee vote last week and moves on to the full House for further debate. Licensed psychologist Marlin Hoover and Dr. Joan Anzia, a psychiatrist  from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, join us to debate the pros and cons. Read the full senate bill SB2187 (The Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act).

Illinois wouldn't be the first to pass this legislation.

Back in 2002, the state of New Mexico became the first in the United States to grant prescription privileges to psychologists. Following a 56-11 margin in the House and a 29-9 vote in the Senate, the law went into effect July 1, 2002. The law allowed psychologists to obtain a "conditional prescription certificate," granting them the right to prescribe psychotropic medications for two years under the supervision of a licensed physician. Following the two year period, the psychologist can either apply for two-year extension, or can apply for a "prescription certificate" to prescribe without supervision. View bill HB 170 here.

Louisiana became the second state to pass a similar law in 2004. HB 1426 allows certain medical psychologists to prescribe and distribute certain drugs, including certain controlled substances. The law requires that only psychologists who have completed a post-doctoral master's degree in clinical psychopharmacology from a regionally accredited institution and have passed a national examination approved by the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists can prescribe. View bill HB 1426 here.

--Taurean Small and Josclynn Brandon contributed to this report