Colorado psychologists will be able to prescribe mental health medication
Psychologists who complete extra training will have the option to prescribe mental health medications in Colorado, though it’s not clear how many will choose to do so.
On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 23-1071, which creates a process for psychologists who want to prescribe. It may be several years before any psychologists qualify, however, because they would have to complete a master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology, pass an exam and work under a physician’s supervision for at least a year.
Colorado psychiatrists and pediatricians came out against the bill, arguing psychologists wouldn’t have sufficient knowledge of prescribing and that allowing them to do so could fragment patients’ care.
On the other side, psychologists said patients would benefit from increased access to treatment, and from receiving their medication and therapy from the same person. Both sides had financial incentives to take those positions, with psychologists gaining a new revenue stream and existing prescribers facing increased competition.
The bill was amended to add that a psychologist must get permission from a patient’s primary care doctor before prescribing, and if the patient doesn’t have a doctor, the psychologist must refer them to one. It also included specific situations where the psychologist must notify the physician, such as if the patient experiences side effects.
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