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AACAP Applauds Oregon Governor’s Veto of Psychology Prescribing Bill

August 16, 2017 – Yesterday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) vetoed HB 3355, which would have allowed psychologists to prescribe medication to Oregon patients. In her veto announcement—her first as Oregon governor, Gov. Brown cited "a lack of evidence that psychologists prescribing will improve access or quality of care," and mentioned her concern that the bill "contains several flaws that prevent the policy from being implemented safely."

AACAP is very pleased that Gov. Brown acknowledges the real patient-safety concerns related to psychologists prescribing medication, particularly for special patient populations, which does little to increase access to quality care. Vulnerable children deserve care from the most-qualified medical professional with the medical background necessary to distinguish between a psychiatric and physical illness, create the best-targeted treatment plan, and prescribe and monitor psychotropic medication.

AACAP, and the Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, look forward to working with Gov. Brown and state lawmakers on ways to invest in quality mental health care, and improve access to psychiatric care for some of Oregon's most vulnerable citizens, including children. Evidence-based solutions exist to increase access to subspecialty psychiatric care, like the Oregon Psychiatric Access Line about Kids (OPAL-K), which connects primary medical providers with a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Oregon lawmakers should recognize that Gov. Brown's veto is the second time an Oregon governor has vetoed legislation to allow psychologists to prescribe. In 2010, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) vetoed similar legislation.

As written, HB 3355 would have allowed Oregon psychologists to gain prescriptive authority for any patient population after completing a master's degree in psychopharmacology, and a self-proposed "clinical residency program" with no established core competencies, specificity to the number or type of patients, or severity of illness observed.

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The American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, an affiliated 501(c)6 non-profit organization of AACAP, was formed in 2013 as a way for child and adolescent psychiatrists to increase their advocacy activities.

The mission of the Association is to engage in health policy and advocacy activities to promote mentally healthy children, adolescents, and families and the profession of child and adolescent psychiatry.