Prescription failure in Oregon
few years ago, psychologists seeking prescription privileges were on a
roll--Louisiana and New Mexico came on board, and other states seemed
ready to tumble. Since then, they’ve come up short, watching new
laws teeter on the brink of approval--only to die by veto on the
latest example is Oregon, where the legislature passed a prescription
law for psychologists in February, then saw it vetoed by Governor Ted
Kulongoski in April. Hawaii’s prescription law went the same way in
explaining the veto, Kulongoski said he thought prescriptive authority
for psychologists "requires more safeguards" as well as
"further study and greater public input."
According to Sophie Bethune at the American Psychological Association,
other legislative efforts are underway this year in Arizona, Illinois,
and Mississippi. But all three are in the preliminary stages--and won’t
come to fruition anytime soon.
even where prescribing laws have succeeded, participation has been
modest. In New Mexico--where the law passed in March, 2002--there are
all of 16 "certified" psychologists in the prescription
program, and another 27 with conditional permits that require
a lot fewer people than you might expect," Amelia Myer, executive
director of the New Mexico Psychological Association, tells us.
"There are more psychologists in training, but it’s a
lengthy process. There’s also been some difficulty in getting people
program is a little busier. Since passing its law in 2004, the state
has licensed 55 "medical psychologists," and another 20 are
ready to finish the training program. That’s according to James
Quillin, a prescribing psychologist who assisted in the legislative
push six years ago.
does Quillin believe that efforts in other states have been stymied?
"Politics," he says. Which is to say, physicians have
out-politicked psychologists. "But [psychologists] are pretty
good at politics in Louisiana," he adds. "And this has been
a fairly progressive state in terms of integrating medical care and
key to making the pitch to lawmakers was the concept of "one-stop
treatment," Quillin explains. Many medical psychologists are
working in clinics, but others are in solo practice.
major change to the Louisiana law took place on January 1: Prescribing
psychologists are now licensed by the state’s Board of Medical
Examiners instead of the Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Some
practitioners maintain a license with both, however.
1) Amelia Myer, New Mexico Psychological Association, 8205
Spain Rd. NE, Ste. 202, Albuquerque, NM 87109, (505)883-7376; 2)
James Quillin, 1016 Calais Circle, Alexandria, LA 71303,