Burrows files legislation aimed to improve mental health treatment

Fox34 Lubbock

LUBBOCK – Lubbock State Representative Dustin Burrows has filed legislation to provide access to mental health medications prescribed by specially trained licensed psychologists.

Due to a shortage of psychiatrists in Texas, right now, more than 80 percent of mental health medications are prescribed by primary care physicians or E.R. doctors, resulting in long wait times and higher costs for the patient.

Burrows says as a member of the House County Affairs Committee, he’s heard a lot about how jails, for instance, could benefit from this bill.

“If you look at our county jails and right now they have become the de facto mental health facilities,” he said. “And so you’ve got to have people who are actually in the jails that can help treat them and we have a shortage of psychiatrists, so hopefully this bill allows some new people to go in and do this and deal with patients who they’re already dealing with and have the background to do it.”

Psychologist Cheryl Hall says the bill would help those with mental health issues who live in underserved and rural areas as well.

“My patients are going to benefit from this because they’re going to be able to get the medication that they need in a timely manner which will help their treatment outcome,” she said.

Under the bill, only mental health medications would be able to be prescribed by the specially trained psychologists.

Read more here: http://www.fox34.com/story/34102114/burrows-files-legislation-aimed-to-improve-mental-health-treatment