In response to 'Mental health patient safety must come first' .

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I write this letter to the editor in try and dispel a few of the myths tied to necessities needed for a psychologist to prescribe treatment. In Dr. Tichianaa Armah’s April 1 article, she states, “SB 966 would allow psychologists to prescribe drugs after taking a 400-hour on-line class, and supervision by an MD, or APRN for as little as 1,000 hours.” That is notably troubling as Dr. Armah’s fails to differentiate between credit score clock hours and clock hours. Presumably, her calculations come from dividing 400 didactic hours by 40-hour weeks. In doing so, she involves 10 weeks of coaching. Equally, she suggests solely 25 weeks of affected person contact. Nevertheless, that is unequivocally false.

To be eligible for many grasp’s diploma packages in psychopharmacology, the trainee have to be a licensed psychologist on the doctoral degree. Earlier than a psychologist can prescribe their first unbiased script, they need to have 4 years of undergraduate coaching, 5 to seven years of doctoral research, and a one-year of post-doctoral fellowship. So, to even enroll in a post-licensure masters diploma, they psychologist has roughly 10-12 years of education. After licensure, a candidate sometimes enrolls in a two-year grasp’s program, adopted by a one-year residency. All, in all, a typical prescribing skilled would have 13-15 of schooling and coaching. In Connecticut, it will be one yr much less as a result of there isn't a postdoctoral yr.

Dr. Armah begins the schooling and coaching clock for all different professions apart from psychologists. If we have been to make use of her 40 hour weeks, 10 months (or 40 weeks) a yr for 13-15 years (or 12-14 years in Connecticut), psychologists hours schooling and coaching hours would doubtless vary between 20,800-24,000 hours (or 19,200-22,400 in Connecticut). That is markedly totally different than Dr. Armah assertion of “10 weeks of an internet course and 25 weeks of affected person contact.” She even diverges from the speaking factors offered to her from the Connecticut Psychiatric Society (linked to her article), acknowledge that a number of different states who've prescribing psychologists require, “In Louisiana: Psychologists should first full a post-doctoral grasp’s diploma in medical psychopharmacology earlier than they will prescribe drugs” and “In New Mexico: Psychologists should full 450 hours of didactic coaching.”

Dr. Armah additionally references a speaking level from the Connecticut Psychiatric Society that, “[Department of Defense demonstration program] was deemed a failure by the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO).” In doing so, they did not state the GAO’s (1999) discovering that, “We additionally reviewed the PDP graduates’ credentials information, three efficiency evaluations, and related stories. Our work was carried out from June 1998 by way of Might 1999 in accordance with usually accepted authorities auditing requirements. The 10 PDP graduates appear to be properly built-in at their assigned army remedy amenities. For instance, the graduates usually serve in positions of authority, comparable to clinic or division chiefs. Additionally they deal with quite a lot of psychological well being sufferers; prescribe from complete lists of medicine, or formularies; and carry affected person caseloads similar to these of psychiatrists and psychologists on the similar hospitals and clinics. Additionally, though a number of graduates skilled early difficulties being accepted by physicians and others at their assigned places, the medical supervisors, suppliers, and officers we spoke with on the graduates’ present and prior places — in addition to a panel of psychological well being clinicians who evaluated every of the graduates — have been complimentary concerning the high quality of affected person care offered by the graduates.”

No matter “failure” referenced by Dr. Armah is in relation to value effectiveness for the army. Nevertheless, the report clearly acknowledges psychologists’ potential to securely and successfully prescribe treatment. In truth, psychologists have been prescribing safely within the U.S. Army, Indian Well being Providers, Louisiana, and New Mexico for roughly 30 years.

It's my hope that this letter to the editor provides readability to this matter.

Daniel Kaplin, PhD, is a NYS Licensed Medical Psychologist and Assistant Professor, Psychology Division, St. Francis School.

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