Idaho has become the fifth state to authorize clinical psychologists with advanced specialized training to prescribe certain medications for the treatment of mental health disorders, following the signing of a bill by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter last week.
Psychologists licensed in the state must complete a post-doctoral master of science degree in clinical psychopharmacology and a supervised practicum in clinical assessment and pathophysiology, and also pass a national examination. Upon meeting these requirements, psychologists will be granted a two-year provisional certificate to prescribe under mandatory supervision by an MD.
In 2015, Idaho’s suicide rate was 57% higher than the national average, according to the state’s department of health and welfare. That same year, about 243,000 Idaho residents reported mental illness within the prior year, and between 2009 and 2013, 54% of Idahoans reporting mental illness did not receive treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The Idaho legislation was praised by American Psychological Association in a news release for improving access to and creating shorter wait times for mental health services, especially in underserved areas of the state.
In passing a prescribing law for psychologists, Idaho follows in the footsteps of New Mexico, which became the first state to pass such a bill in 2002, as well as Louisiana (2004), Illinois (2014) and Iowa (2016).