Psychologist’s Medication Bill Stalls in Oregon House

From The Oregonian, June 15 2009

The Oregon House had voted to grant psychologists the ability to prescribe medication but the Senate balked, preferring to study the issue. On Monday, the House concurred.

House Bill 2702 now calls for a seven-member task force to meet this year to come up with a compromise that will allow psychologists prescribing powers. The group will include psychiatrists, psychologists, and a pharmacist.

A recommendation would be issued in time for the special session in February.

Proponents of the original legislation say psychologists need the flexibility to treat patients suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. It’s not always easy, they say, for patients to find a physician in rural parts of Oregon.

Medical doctors disagree, saying psychologists lack training in medicine.

Nurse practitioners and physician aides already have the ability to prescribe medication. This legislative session, naturopaths also received the ability to prescribe a broader range of synthetic drugs. Previously, they had been limited to naturally derived medicine.

Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, pushed HB 2702. Kennemer, who once practiced as a psychologist, said he sees it as a “turf war” but conceded others see it as a legitimate question of training standards.

READ – Oregon House Bill 2702