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posted: 6/10/2013 5:00 AM

Much was gained with prescription bill

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State legislators deserve great credit for taking on an important mental health issue in the just-completed spring session. While our bill, licensing specially trained psychologists to prescribe medications for mental disorders, passed out of the Senate on April 25, it did not advance through the House. We have many reasons, however, to be encouraged by the significant gains that we made.

Senate Bill 2187 provides a very strong framework to ensure that well-trained psychologists can prescribe to patients with mental illness. This bill is important because the needs of those with mental health challenges are growing considerably, and Illinois' current network of mental health prescribing providers is overwhelmed. Our state Senate saw through the hyperbole of critics and voted 37-10 for the bill. We had made significant progress in the House but had run out of time before we could move forward with a vote there.

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We are very much heartened that growing numbers of legislators see that the advanced, specialized medical training of prescribing psychologists prepares them to prescribe for patients who desperately need care. At the same time, this expertise in medicine that prescribing psychologists acquire allows them to take patients off medication when non-medication therapeutic strategies have proved to be more effective.

As we have consistently said, psychologists are neither interested in a turf war nor are we interested in fighting with any other health providers who work hard to protect and serve patients. We look forward to continuing to advocate for a real answer for our mental health crisis in Illinois, through Senate Bill 2187.

Beth N. Rom-Rymer, Ph.D.

President-elect, Illinois Psychological Association

Patricia Farrell, Ph.D.

President, Illinois Psychological Association

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