IL Psychologists To Prescribe Medicine To Clients - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IL Psychologists To Prescribe Medicine To Clients

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Psychologists in Illinois will soon be able to prescribe medication. Governor Pat Quinn just signed the measure. Mental health professionals think the change will help patients get quicker access to treatment.

"We have not historically prescribed medications," said Dr. Richard Hutchison, who is a psychologist at Child & Family Psychology Center.  

Dr. Richard Hutchison has been a psychologist for 45 years.  He says this law couldn't have come at a better time.  

"It's often times difficult, if I'm seeing someone whose depressed or anxious and then I know they need medication.  What I have to do is have them go back to their primary care physician and talk to them about getting medication," said Hutchison.  

But before Dr. Hutchison can start prescribing medication, experts from the Illinois State Medical Society say he and other psychologists will have to go through some training first.

"We wanted to see the amount of initial training for people that are going to prescribe to be equivalent to that of other people licensed to prescribe in Illinois," said Dr. William McDade with the Illinois State Medical Society.  

That training  will mean additional two and a half years of school.

"I think that you have to do what's safe for patients ultimately and provide people that are not as well versed and understanding of the interactions between drugs," said Dr. McDade.

Under the measure, psychologists won't be able to prescribe medicine to children, only to patients between the ages of 17 and 65.

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