It could soon be easier for Illinoisans with mental health needs to get a prescription. Groups representing medical doctors and psychologists reached enough of a compromise that a bill allowing the psychologists some prescribing authority could pass the General Assembly. The president of the Illinois Psychological Association, Dr. Beth Rom-Rymer of Chicago, says many counties have few or no psychiatrists, and some – she cites Will County as an example – don't have enough.
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“There is tremendous need among populations around the state – underserved, vulnerable, most at-risk populations – for a prescribing mental health provider,” she said. “Specifically, trained in mental health, understanding of mental illness, to be able to prescribe.” The final version of the bill increased training requirements, decreased the number of drugs the psychologists could prescribe, and limited patients for whom they could prescribe to those between the ages of 18 and 65. Rom-Rymer says the only states which have extended prescribing authority to psychologists are Louisiana and New Mexico, as well as the medical systems of the armed forces and Indian reservations.