IL House measure allows psychologists to write prescriptions

May 29, 2014

The Illinois House has approved legislation that would allow psychologists to prescribe medicine. Doctors had long opposed sharing that privilege with another profession. But the groups finally found a compromise.

Psychologists say it makes sense to let them treat their mental health patients with medication. They say there are far more people in need than there are doctors to take care of them. Doctors, however, said psychologists lacked the years of pharmacy and biology training found in med school.

After lengthy negotiations, the legislation was changed enough so the doctors moved from "opposed" to "neutral."

The measure would let psychologists prescribe only after significant additional education, and only working in collaboration with a physician. Rep. Sara Feigenholtz is a Democrat from Chicago. She says this fits well with the trend toward different types of medical professionals working together.

"This is a new time in health care in our state, where we're relly looking at the needs of patients and the collaboration of professionals."

The legislation passed the House on a vote of 94-21. It still has to go to the Senate, where a slightly different version of the bill passed last year.