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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 9, 2023 03:34 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: Prescription Privileges for Psychologists
The growing national mental health crisis and shortage of psychiatric specialists to meet the demand has harmed patients in every one of our districts. Individuals who are working to appropriately manage their mental health needs are finding themselves stymied by long waits to get their help they need, if they are able to find a practice that is accepting new patients at all. 

More than 20 years ago, New Mexico became the first state to address this issue by providing prescribing authority to psychologists with advanced, specialized training. If Pennsylvania takes action soon, it could be the seventh. 

Prescribing psychologists would increase patient access to psychotropic medications, including treatments for opioid use disorder. Having more prescribers would also reduce long travel and wait times that interfere with treatment, and ensure better follow-up care for patients already on psychotropic medications.  

Most psychotropic medications are currently prescribed in Pennsylvania by primary healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, however these professionals often have limited training in mental health treatment.   

Prescribing psychologists in other states must earn an additional post-doctoral master’s degree emphasizing psychopharmacology and the biological basis of behavior, pass a rigorous national exam, and receive supervision in practice. 

Currently six states have prescription authority for psychologists: Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Louisiana and Colorado. Also, prescribing psychologists have safely and effectively prescribed psychopharmacological medications in the Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, and the US Military for more than 20 years.  

I will be introducing a bill that will define the educational requirements for a prescribing psychologist, define the scope of practice of a prescribing psychologist, describe a collaborative agreement between the prescribing psychologist and provider, and identify the formulary for the medications that may be prescribed and the continuing education requirements for prescribing psychologists.

Please join me in cosponsoring this bill. 

Introduced as HB1000