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posted: 5/28/2014 5:01 AM

Psychologists should not prescribe drugs

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I urge legislators to vote down Senate Bill 2187 allowing psychologists to prescribe to the vulnerable patients in Illinois as this does not solve any shortage problems in the state.

Having prescribers who are not qualified can increase the addiction rate in Illinois, as psychologists want to be able to prescribe controlled substances to patients. I have completed all of my residency in Illinois: after four years of highly standardardized and accredited training in medical school, my preliminary medicine year was at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield and three years of psychiatry residency was at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

I am an expert speaker for National Alliance on Mental Illness in Lake County and I train psychiatrists for the rigorous board certification exam. Based on my experiences throughout Illinois, I have found that what we need in Illinois is more communication and collaboration, not more prescribers.

I have had therapists and psychologists send me suicidal patients without contacting me before or after I have seen their patient: I send a consent to the therapist as well as call them right after the first appointment. This is a crucial time for therapists to contact me for their input regarding their acutely ill patient. When I ask why they do not call me back, the answer I receive is that they are too busy.

However, if therapists and psychologists can keep in closer touch with prescribers, interventions can be made to help patients in a more timely manner.

The bill they put forth includes collaboration with physicians. Why don't they collaborate now to help get the appropriate care for their patients? They don't need to prescribe to do this.

Shalini Varma

Lake Villa