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Pickett Applauds House Passage of Bill to Enhance Accessibility for Mental Health Care
6/29/2016

HARRISBURG
– Legislation that will make it easier for patients in Pennsylvania to obtain outpatient mental health services passed the state House today, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), prime sponsor of the proposal.

“State law hasn’t kept up with many of the advances in psychiatric care, and fails to take into account tele-psychiatry or many of the newer professions, such as psychiatric-certified registered nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants,” said Pickett. “As a result, supervision laws are outdated, and may, in fact, present obstacles to people looking for such services. This legislation is designed to update that law and ensure that people who are seeking psychiatric care can better access it.”

House Bill 2028, which is now on its way to the state Senate, would help outpatient psychiatric clinics to meet the growing demand and address the shortage of psychiatric time by changing the number of hours of psychiatric supervision required for each staff member per week.

Under the legislation, outpatient psychiatric clinics would be required to have a psychiatrist on site for two hours of psychiatric time per week for each full-time equivalent treatment staff member employed by the clinic. Half of the required on-site psychiatric time may be provided by other advanced-practice professionals specializing in behavioral health with the authority to prescribe medications in Pennsylvania. Telepsychiatry may be used, but will not count toward the required psychiatric time.

The legislation would allow licensed prescribing professionals to work within their scope of practice as is the case in the physical health care arena.


Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
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jkeaton@pahousegop.com  
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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