Improving access to health care is the goal of two measures that have now been signed into law.
Senate Bill 2187 allows clinical psychologists to prescribe medicine under specified circumstances, while Senate Bill 3409 would allow dentists to provide flu vaccines to their patients with a doctor’s prescription. Both measures were among bills signed by the Governor in recent days.
Certain clinical psychologists will now be able to write prescriptions for their patients under Senate Bill 2187. 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.
Proponents argued that in many areas of the state, particularly in rural areas, limited access to psychiatrists has meant that persons suffering from mental illness have a difficult time getting medication that can help them manage their illness.
Previously, 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 new law sets educational requirements that psychologists must meet; limits the types of drugs they are able to prescribe; requires prescribing psychologists to have a collaborative agreement with a physician; and prohibits clinical psychologists from prescribing for patients under 17, older than 65, pregnant women or persons with serious medical conditions.