Thank you for the thoughtful comment regarding the AOA’s advocacy related to this bill. The AOA recognizes the important role non-physician clinicians play in providing health care, a role especially important as we face a growing physician shortage and less access to primary care physicians.
Before we took a position on this bill – or before we act on any state legislation, for that matter – we consulted with the state osteopathic association in Montana, which is in a better position to understand what is best for its community. In this case, we were advised that psychologists often argue that legislation granting them prescriptive authority is a way to provide greater access to care in rural areas. However, our research shows that psychologists are not any better geographically situated to serve rural populations than psychiatrists are.
Furthermore, we believe that the goal should be to make the best medical care available to everyone, and not force patients, especially poor, elderly and those in rural areas, to settle for second best.