This is an issue that may be important to you or someone you care about.
How are psychiatric medicines currently prescribed in New Jersey?
Currently, when a patient is in need of medication for a psychological concern, they receive a prescription from a psychiatrist or, sometimes, a primary care physician. Psychologists in NJ are not able to supplement talk therapy solutions with medication.
There are a few challenges with this approach.
1. There is currently a shortage of mental health prescribers. Patients have to wait very long periods for appointments and psychiatrists often must focus on brief medicine consultation and not provide psychotherapy.
2. Patient care can be interrupted. For patients working with a non-prescribing mental health provider, there can be an interruption in care as an additional referral, exchange of notes, coordination, etc. is needed to bring a psychiatrist into a patient's treatment program.
3. This is can be expensive. Multiple co-pays, additional office visits, patient time, and time to coordinate care among mental health professionals, etc. costs patients and our healthcare system money. 4. Primary care as substitute. Many people visit their "PCP" for mental health prescriptions. PCPs have training and experience in a wide variety of conditions. Psychological care is typically not a focus for primary care and can be especially challenging when ongoing follow-up and medication adjustments are needed.
Psychologists can (and do) bridge the gap.Did you know that in some states, some government clinics, and some parts of military, psychologists who have been properly trained, prescribe psychiatric medication to their patients? In fact, they have done so for 20 years!
For many mental health challenges, there is strong science to support that the combination of talk therapy and medication can provide the best outcomes for patients. Psychologists are in an excellent position to provide this combination of services to appropriate patients. There are intensive training programs to provide psychologists with training specifically geared toward expertise in prescribing psychiatric medications.
Unfortunately, New Jersey presently does not allow this practice. It's easy to help. Takes 1 minute (or less).There have been bills introduced to remedy this situation by allowing properly trained psychologists with the privilege to prescribe psychiatric medication. Legislators need to hear from you to know that there is support for changing current practice.
1. Please click below and fill in a few text boxes to support the New Jersey Academy of Medical Psychologists in their work to support these important bills.http://www.njamp.net/citizen-action/
2. Send this note to others who may support positive change. On behalf of Psychological and Educational Consulting (PEC) of NJ, we thank you for considering this important issue and helping to create a positive change for New Jersey.
Elizabeth Matheis, PhD
Robert J. Matheis, PhD
Psychological and Educational Consulting (PEC)