Published Online: Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Missouri may join Louisiana and New Mexico in allowing licensed psychologists to prescribe certain medications for the treatment of mental health disorders under legislation being championed by a grassroots coalition of patients, concerned citizens, and health care professionals.

The group, Missouri Families for Access to Comprehensive Treatment, argues that giving prescriptive authority to psychologists will put the state at the forefront of providing safe, quality, mental health care to patients, who can sometimes wait up to 8 months to see a psychiatrist for medication in underserved rural and inner-city communities.

Under the proposal, only licensed, doctoral psychologists who complete 2 additional years of academic psychopharmacology training and pass a national qualifying psychopharmacology exam would be eligible for prescription privileges.

The American Psychological Association's practice division reports that as many as 8 more states are expected to pursue psychologist prescribing laws this year.

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