Illinoisans living in rural or underserved parts of the state will have better access to quality mental health services thanks to legislation State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) championed this year. The legislation, which improves the licensing process for psychologists who want the ability to write prescriptions, was signed into law on Friday.
“In 2014, a law took effect that provided for a new classification of clinical psychologists who could write prescriptions for patients,” said Demmer. “As the first groups of students moved through the steps of this new licensing process, many found the requirements difficult to achieve due to limited locations where clinical training could take place. SB 1135 expands the list of educational settings where clinical work can be done and should increase the number of prescribing psychologists who enter the workforce. At a time when we face a shortage of mental health professionals in Illinois, this new law will go far in improving access.”
According to Demmer, SB 1135 also adds prescribing psychologists to the list of health care professionals who can provide telehealth services to Illinoisans. “Citizens across the state have benefitted from telehealth services for many years, and while clinical psychologists were on the list of available telehealth providers, prescribing psychologists were not,” Demmer said. “Especially in underserved and rural areas, the ability to access this higher level of psychological care by phone and computer certainly improves access. Through telehealth services, licensed medical professionals can evaluate, diagnose, and interpret electronically transmitted patient-specific data so that treatment recommendations can be made. In addition to the improved access and time-savings that accompany telehealth services, there are also potential cost savings.”
SB 1135 is now listed in the Illinois Statutes as PA 101-0084.