Psychologists are usually Ph.D.'s, but a bill introduced in the Texas Legislature would allow psychologists to write prescriptions, a duty usually reserved for M.D. psychiatrists and doctors, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) says there simply aren't enough psychiatrists in much of the state, and they have to deal with a rising number of emotional conditions, most notably PTSD.
"Especially in rural counties," he said. "We have 207 counties out of 254 that have been named as having shortages out there, and we have a real need to get somebody out there to help do this."
Burrows says to get the ability to write scripts, a psychologist would have to pass a course in psychopharmacology, and work under the supervision of an M.D.
He says he has heard stories of patients who have not been able to get the meds they need, or having meds which are prescribed improperly because the patients was forced to go to an M.D., whose knowledge of psychological conditions may be limited.
"Having access to care, especially psychiatric care, is very important, to make sure all the 'wrap around' services are there," he said. "I think this is the perfect time to talk about this."