Passes plan to let trained psychologists prescribe meds
021313br0027rSPRINGFIELD – Illinois faces a shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in the field of mental health. State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) is taking on this problem by trying to give psychologists – under the supervision of doctors – the ability to prescribe medication.
“Recent events like the tragedy in Newtown have demonstrated how important it is to make sure people have access to mental health care,” Harmon said. “There simply aren’t enough psychiatrists to meet demand, so we need to find a way to fill the gap.”
Harmon’s legislation, Senate Bill 2187, allows psychologists who are willing to undertake additional training similar to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to prescribe medication under the supervision of licensed medical doctors.

“We’re not making it easy for psychologists to get a license to prescribe medicine,” Harmon said. “They have to get years of experience, obtain another degree, pass tests and work under the supervision of doctors.”
Harmon’s legislation sets the following standards for psychologists who want to be able to prescribe medicine:
• Holding a doctorate degree in psychology
• Holding a valid state license to practice psychology
• Holding a master’s degree in psychopharmacology
• Having five years of experience treating patients, including treating 100 patients, practicing for at least 400 hours and having at least 80 hours of supervised training in physical assessment
• Passing a certified examination
It also sets the following rules:
• Prescribing psychologists must renew their licenses every two years.
• Prescribing psychologists must consult with their patients’ primary care physicians and acquire their medical history.
• Psychologists can only prescribe medication used to treat mental illness.