In Brief

Professional psychology achieved another milestone in January as Louisiana became the second state (after New Mexico) in less than one month to implement a prescriptive authority law for appropriately trained and certified psychologists. The new law took effect Jan. 20, when regulations to implement the law were published in the Louisiana Register.

The law allows only psychologists who have completed a postdoctoral master's degree in clinical psychopharmacology from a regionally accredited institution and have passed a national examination approved by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to prescribe. The law limits prescriptive authority to medications for nervous and mental health disorders.

According to the statute and the regulations that implement it, the prescribing psychologist, termed a "medical psychologist" by the Louisiana law, will prescribe in consultation and collaboration with the patient's primary or attending physician, and with the concurrence of that physician.

The regulatory framework for psychologists prescribing in Louisiana exemplifies good collaborative practice and will improve access to quality mental health services for residents in that state, says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA's executive director for professional practice.

New Mexico was the first state to implement a prescriptive authority law on Jan. 7, 2005.