Dear Dr. Wax:
The AOA has been tracking the New Jersey legislation you referenced that would provide prescribing rights for psychologists. Senate Bill 137 and its companion piece, Assembly Bill 2419, would empower the State Board of Psychological Examiners to grant prescriptive authority to psychologists without requiring psychologists to attain a level of competency equivalent to psychiatrists. The AOA believes that this expansion in psychologists’ scope of practice is inappropriate. Working with the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (NJAOPS) and the American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists (ACONP), a joint letter was sent opposing SB 137 on February 28 when it was heard in the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill has not been voted out of that committee.
We are also aware that Assembly Bill 2419 recently passed out of the Assembly. If this bill gets a hearing in the Senate, we will send another joint letter with NJAOPS and the ACONP opposing the bill. We are also coordinating advocacy efforts on this issue with the American Medical Association, the New Jersey Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association through the Scope of Practice Partnership.