New Mexico Senate Approves Psychologist Prescribing Rights

February 1, 2002

On Feb. 12, New Mexico's Senate passed House Bill 170, "Prescriptive Authority to Psychologists," with a 29-9 vote, and Governor Gary Johnson (R), will soon decide the bill's fate. According to Gov. Johnson's office <www.governor.state.nm.us>, the estimated date for the final decision is March 6.

On Feb. 12, New Mexico's Senate passed House Bill 170, "Prescriptive Authority to Psychologists," with a 29-9 vote, and Governor Gary Johnson (R), will soon decide the bill's fate. According to Gov. Johnson's office <www.governor.state.nm.us>, the estimated date for the final decision is March 6.

Under HB 170, certain psychologists--those who meet the bill's stated qualifications--are granted a limited right to prescribe medications. Two of the required qualifications that a psychologist must meet to gain such privileges are possessing at the least a "conditional prescription certificate" and carrying current malpractice insurance that would cover the psychologist for prescribing.

The required conditional prescription certificate is issued by the board of pharmacy (or its duly authorized agent) and is valid for a two-year period. In addition, it can only be issued after meeting several stringent criteria set by the board of pharmacy such as: successful completion of pharmacological training from a board-approved institute of higher education or continuing education provider; successful completion of a board-approved examination designed to test knowledge of pharmacology in the diagnosis, care and treatment of mental disorders; certification from the psychologist's supervising psychiatrist or physician stating successful completion of clinically relevant supervised practicums totaling more than 400 hours.

As stated in HB 170, psychologists with a conditional prescribing certificate may only prescribe psychotropic medications under the supervision of a licensed physician. After two years and contingent upon other board of pharmacy requirements, a prescribing psychologist can apply for a "prescription certificate." If granted a prescription certificate, they continue to be held to rigorous standards set by the board of pharmacy; however, they no longer have supervision limitations imposed on their prescribing rights, rather they are only required to maintain a cooperative working relationship with the health care practitioner in the provision of patient care.

More information on the bill can be found on the New Mexico Legislature Web site at <legis.state.nm.us>--RR

© CME LLC
2/02