CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to improve access to mental health care by allowing clinical psychologists to write prescriptions for their patients.
The new law requires clinical psychologists to meet high education and training standards before applying for a license to prescribe medicine. Illinois is now the third state, along with New Mexico and Louisiana, which allow patients to get necessary medication from a psychologist.
“We have to make sure people across Illinois can be properly cared for by a medical professional they know and trust,” Quinn said. “If someone needs help and lives on a budget, they shouldn’t have to make multiple appointments or travel far and wide to get a prescription. This new law will improve access to mental health care by cutting down the number of doctors that patients need to see in order to get their medicine.”
Senate Bill 2187 creates a Prescribing Psychologist license that may be issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This license may be issued to a licensed, doctoral level psychologist who has undergone specialized training, passed an examination and has entered into a written collaborative oversight agreement with a licensed physician. The psychologist may only prescribe medications to treat the mental illnesses of his or her patients between the ages of 17 and 65.
Under the previous law, clinical psychologists could provide mental health services to patients but were not able to write prescriptions. Typically, an individual sees a psychologist (a Ph.D.) for therapy and a psychiatrist (an M.D.) for their medication. The training requirements for prescribing psychologists under the new law mirror those of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The new is effective immediately.