A bill introduced in the Florida Senate would give licensed psychologists limited prescribing powers relevant to their scope-of-practice as mental health professionals. From the bill’s summary:
An act relating to prescriptive authority certification for psychologists…requiring the Board of Psychology to certify specified psychologists to exercise prescriptive authority; requiring the board to adopt rules relating to prescriptive authority certification…specifying application requirements for certification; requiring the board to adopt a rule providing for certification renewal; requiring each applicant for renewal to demonstrate the completion of specified continuing education; specifying requirements for the prescribing of drugs and controlled substances by a prescribing psychologist; prohibiting specified prescribing actions; requiring a prescribing psychologist who is authorized to prescribe controlled substances to file his or her federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration and number with the board; requiring the board to maintain a record of every prescribing psychologist authorized to prescribe controlled substances; requiring the Board of Psychology to transmit specified information to the Board of Pharmacy. [Emphasis added].
The benefits of the policy will depend on the exact nature of the regulations issued by the Board of Psychology, but the bill as written imposes a number of common sense rules on what psychiatrists may or may not prescribe. The requirements for qualification include a “passing score on an examination developed by a nationally recognized body, such as the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists” and various training requirements.
Moreover, the bill limits prescriptive authority to the administration of “controlled substances recognized or customarily used [to treat patients with mental illnesses] within the scope of the practice of psychology.”
In addition to creating a scope-of-practice regulation that fits better with the demands of the profession (as MDs, psychiatrists can perform the same procedures as oncologists, podiatrists, and neurosurgeons in the eyes of the law), it will allow psychologists to be more productive by providing easier access to mental health treatment for patients.