IBM Advances Draft Psychologist Prescribing Rules
The Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM), at its June 8 meeting, voted to move forward with draft administrative rules to allow psychologists who have received additional pharmacology training to begin issuing prescriptions for psychotropic medications. These rules will now be released the first week of July for individuals and organizations to submit written comment. Several steps remain in the administrative rules process; the earliest these rules could take effect is October 3.
You may recall, in 2016, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed legislation to allow for psychologist prescribing. Under the enacting statute, legislators directed the IBM and the Iowa Board of Psychology (IBP) to jointly craft administrative rules establishing appropriate minimum educational standards for prescribing psychologists, as well as processes for first physician supervision of and later physician collaboration with prescribing psychologists.
Over the past two years, subcommittees of these two boards have been meeting to negotiate specifics of these joint rules. IMS and the Iowa Psychiatric Society (IPS) have been closely involved in these efforts, offering numerous rounds of formal comments on specifics of the rules and offering informal input during the subcommittee meetings. IMS and IPS have pushed for strict educational standards to ensure sufficient training and appropriate safeguards to protect patient safety. While some of the IMS-IPS recommendations were accepted by the two subcommittees, many were not. Most notably, the draft rules, allow a psychologist to begin prescribing after completing just 30 credit hours of pharmacology education, of which only 10 credit hours are required to be in an interactive, but not necessarily in-person, format. While models for more stringent standards exist in other states that have granted psychologist prescribing authority, the Iowa rules were written instead to align with the standards of a single training that is in the process of reducing its training hours for the upcoming school year.
At the IBM June meeting, several physicians and residents offered training outlining concerns with the training standards outlined in the rules. IMS and IPS urged the IBM to reject the draft rules and send them back to the subcommittees to craft stronger standards. Multiple IBM members acknowledged discomfort with the standards, but the board opted to move the administrative rules forward so as to trigger the public comment period and allow for broader input from the medical community and the general public. IMS and IPS have begun crafting formal written comments on these joint rules. If you would like to provide input on these comments, please contact Dennis Tibben with the IMS Center for Physician Advocacy. IMS will notify you when the public comment period is open so that you might also provide comments directly to the IBM.