Prescriptive authority passes Oregon legislature

Oregon legislation granting prescriptive authority to appropriately trained and certified psychologists awaits governor’s decision

By Legal and Regulatory Affairs Staff

March 31, 2010 — In late February, the Oregon Legislature approved SB 1046, granting prescriptive authority to appropriately trained and certified psychologists. The Senate first approved the measure in an 18-11 vote, followed by House approval in a strong 48-9 vote. The state passed a compromise bill in June 2009 that set the stage for this win.

SB 1046 was then sent to Governor Ted Kulongoski for approval. The governor has 30 days to consider the bill. His options include signing the bill into law, vetoing it or taking no action during the 30-day period. If he does not take action by early April, the measure automatically becomes law [Update: Governor Kulongoski vetoed the bill on April 8].

Under SB 1046, psychologists may be eligible for prescriptive authority upon completing an approved educational and training program (or the Defense Department’s Psychopharmacology Demonstration Project) and passing a national certification exam.

A statutorily mandated task force comprising three psychologists and three psychiatrists must hammer out the education and training requirement details by March 1, 2011. The bill also requires that the rulemaking process be completed and the mechanism for granting prescriptive authority certification for psychologists be up and running by July 1, 2011.

Oversight of prescribing psychologists will be provided by an interdisciplinary committee comprising seven members, four of whom must be psychologists. The committee will provide recommendations to both the Oregon State Board of Psychologist Examiners and the Oregon Medical Board on a variety of issues, including clinical training programs, applications for prescriptive authority certification, formulary, standards, examination, continuing education requirements, and disposition of complaints. A psychologist seeking prescriptive authority will need to be approved by both of these boards before being certified to prescribe.

“Albeit a novel approach, this joint but equal oversight by both boards seems to affirm the collaborative model that already exists between many psychologists and physicians, a model we believe constitutes good clinical practice,” says Executive Director for Professional Practice, Katherine C. Nordal, PhD.

If SB 1046 becomes law, Oregon will be the third state to enact prescriptive authority to trained and certified psychologists, joining Louisiana and New Mexico.

For more information, please contact the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department by e-mail or call (800) 374-2723.