IDAHO'S MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Provider Shortage - There is a critical shortage of qualified prescribers capable of providing comprehensive treatment, including medication, for mental health conditions. Compared to other states, Idaho is last in the number of psychiatrists per capita with no projected improvement. January 2016 article on Provider Shortage in Idaho.
The majority of psychotropic drugs are prescribed by primary care physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses, many who have limited mental health training. Provider training comparison chart. More details on training requirements.
Wait Times - Getting in to see a psychiatrist in Idaho can take months. Many psychiatric practices are closed to new patients and primary care providers are scarce in many areas of Idaho.
Suicide Risk - Anyone in crisis, in danger of attempting suicide, or having thoughts of harming others, cannot wait. Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.
A SOLUTION FOR IMPROVED ACCESS
Allowing psychologists with advanced training to prescribe is one part of the solution. IPA will submit a bill to the Idaho Legislature asking that psychologists who get advanced training be allowed to prescribe psychotropic medications.
Psychologists have a Doctorate focused on diagnosing and treating mental health conditions and have completed hundreds of hours of supervised hands-on training. A prescribing psychologist would be required to earn an additional Masters degree in psychopharmacology and complete many additional hours of supervised patient care. Course comparison.
IS IT SAFE?
Absolutely! Prescribing psychologists have prescribed safely in the military, the U.S. Public Health Service and Indian Health Services for over 20 years with no adverse events reported.
Prescribing psychologists have prescribed safely in New Mexico and Louisiana for over 10 years with no adverse events reported. Illinois passed a law to allow specially-trained psychologists to prescribe, too.
IPA's legislation would require prescribing psychologists to prescribe only when in collaboration with the patient's physician or licensed caregiver of record.
Watch our short video for more information.
HOW CAN INDIVIDUALS HELP SUPPORT THIS INITIATIVE?
IPA will introduce a bill in the Idaho Legislature in January 2016. We are working on the final wording, but it will be similar to the one submitted to the Legislature in 2015. See 2015 legislation.
Please contact your Legislators to let them know you support the bill. Below are links to assist you.
1) Determine your Legislative District (click on Where Do I Vote; enter you county, house # & street name; highlight your street; your Legislative District is in green text just above box)
2) Find your Legislators and their contact info (use drop down menu to find your Legislative District and click Search)
3) Email a message or snail mail a letter. Sample letter.
If you or a family member have experienced difficulty accessing psychiatric care or mental health medication management and you are interested in testifying at future Legislative meetings, please contact the IPA Office.
HOW CAN GROUPS HELP SUPPORT THIS INITIATIVE?
Write a letter of support signed by the organization leader and return it to IPA. Sample letter of support for group.
Ask organization leaders to let Legislators know of the group's support of IPA's bill when meeting with Legislators.
Ask members to individually contact their Legislators.
Thank you for your interest. Please contact the IPA Office if you have any questions or would like additional information about the bill or related.