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Bill Giving Psychologists RX Authority Puts Patients at Risk

Rx PicState legislation has been considering a bill, called RxP, that would give psychologists the authority to prescribe medications even though they have no medical training. Proponents of the bill say that RxP will improve access to mental health services in Illinois, but opponents of the bill, including Dr. Martinez, disagree. In an op-ed in the Illinois Observer about the issue, Dr. Martinez states that it is “dangerous to dilute the quality of care [due to psychologists lack of medical training in prescribing medication] under the pretense of improving access.” To access Dr. Martinez’s op-ed, click here.

The RxP bill 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, debated the pros and cons of the bill on a recent show of Chicago Tonight. To watch the debate, click here.

A legislative alert from the Illinois Psychiatric Society regarding RxP is posted below:

IPS LEGISLATIVE ALERT REGARDING SENATE BILL 2187

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS

We need your support in the fight to stop the “RxP” legislation in Springfield, Senate Bill 2187. SB 2187 will allow those without medical training to prescribe psychiatric medication. SB 2187 puts patients at risk.

I urge you to contact your state legislators and tell them to Vote NO on SB 2187.

SB 2187 allows psychologists to prescribe medication after just 425 to 450 hours of coursework, which could be completed online. We know it’s inadequate. As psychiatrists, we have years of pre-med courses, medical school and residency under our belts, just to be able to prescribe medication safely. Under SB 2187, such medical training will no longer be required.

There are several alternatives to SB 2187 that could expand access to mental healthcare in Illinois, including telepsychiatry and integrated care agreements. Psychologists who want to prescribe can get trained as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. In short, there are several ways to increase access to mental healthcare; SB 2187 is not the way to do it.

So rally your fellow psychiatrists and psychologists against RxP. Contact your local legislators – and tell them to VOTE NO ON SB 2187.

If you have any questions, please contact IPS Executive Director Meryl Sosa at 312-224-2601 or by email at msosa@ilpsych.org.

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