New Mexico's proposed regulations to implement a law granting psychologists prescriptive privileges will foster good clinical practice and ongoing two-way communication between physicians and psychologists, said APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Russ Newman, PhD, JD, in testimony before the state's Psychologist Examiners Board in September.

"The prescribing psychologist statute and proposed regulations are quite comprehensive, careful and well thought through in setting up extensive education and training requirements for prescribing psychologists, which include numerous checkpoints and safeguards," said Newman, who was at a hearing in New Mexico advocating enactment of the regulations to the board before it makes a final vote later this fall.

Other participants at the New Mexico hearing included Elaine LeVine, PhD, head of a psychopharmacology training program for New Mexico psychologists; Julianne Lockwood, PhD, former president of the New Mexico Psychological Association (NMPA); Peter Mallery, NMPA attorney; Mario Marquez, PhD, NMPA legislative chair; Amelia Myer, NMPA executive director; and Thomas Sims, PhD, chair of the New Mexico Psychologist Examiners Board.

Under the regulations, psychologists will undergo a rigorous training period. The period includes classroom study and physician-supervised clinical and assessment practica, followed by a standardized national examination. Prescribing psychologists will also undergo a two-year conditional prescribing period overseen by a physician. Only at that point will prescribing psychologists work independently, albeit in close collaboration with the patient's physician.

"With the adoption of these regulations, the New Mexico psychologists who have completed, or will complete, the required didactic and practicum training will be in a position to provide badly needed psychological and psychopharmacological treatment services, working in collaboration with patients' primary treating health-care practitioners," Newman said.