6. On July 1, 2002, New Mexico became the first state to grant prescriptive authority to psychologists. The American Psychological Association, as well as the state affiliate in New Mexico, has argued that New Mexico’s rural population and the dearth of psychiatrists outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe make a compelling argument for prescriptive authority for psychologists. Since the New Mexico law requires extensive additional training for psychologists to qualify for this privilege, including a 400-hour practicum supervised by a physician, it remains to be seen how many psychologists will qualify, and how many of them will practice in rural areas. New Mexico’s psychologist prescribing law must be monitored closely, tracking the number of psychologists who qualify, both urban and rural, as well as shifts in practice locations. The availability of lower-cost oversight of psychotropic medications is likely to be of interest to managed behavioral health organizations, who may, in turn, aggressively recruit prescribing psychologists to practice in more populous areas of the state.
managed care might well have resulted in significant cost decreases, as have been found in several states (Goldman, McCulloch & Sturm, 1998).