In the New York state legislature, two bills would rapidly reduce protections for patients.

Lawmakers in Albany, New York are considering two bills that dramatically expand scope of practice for non-physicians. S66/A1262 would expand psychologist scope to include prescriptions. And S853/ A608 would allow pharmacists to administer mental health medications.

Under S66/A1262, psychologists would be authorized to prescribe a drug, laboratory test, or any medicine, device or treatment, including controlled substances. This bill would grant them “prescriptive authority” to administer and/or distribute drugs (including controlled substances) without charge.

S853/ A608 would empower pharmacists to administer medications for mental health and substance abuse disorders under their own authority and without physician supervision. The bill has passed the Assembly on 1/31/23 and can now be voted on in the Senate.

Mental healthcare is extremely complex. The medications employed by psychiatrists are treated with care, experience, and a healthy understanding of the associated risks. Giving psychologists and pharmacists the role of a physician, but without the training and expertise, will erode patient safety. These bills could fragment care for mental health patients, increasing the risk of non-follow-up during treatment. In psychiatric medicine, a patient’s health status must be carefully, holistically, and longitudinally assessed by a properly trained physician. These bills could put the physician-led mental healthcare model into disarray throughout New York.

Empire State physicians: We encourage you to contact your state legislators in both the Senate and Assembly. Share your expert opinion on how these bills would impact medical care and patient safety.

Step 1: Lookup your State Senator. And lookup your Assembly Member.

Step 2: Call or email your elected officials to share your expert opinions.