I write to comment on the issues of access that are of great concern to all of us but have been exaggerated by David Greenfield in the service of obtaining prescribing privileges for psychologists.
At the local mental health authority (LMHA) where I am medical director, patients can walk into any of our main offices and receive a same day comprehensive assessment. They can then see a psychiatrist or APRN within two to four weeks for a one hour psychiatric evaluation to develop a treatment plan. Appointments are usually sooner if the patient was recently discharged from a hospital. We take all insurance including Medicare and Medicaid.
We currently have four buprenorphine clinics with over 200 patients, accepting new patients. We have two methadone clinics with 300 patients, accepting new patients. We have a growing number of Vivitrol patients and all opiate dependent patients are offered Narcan.
I write in response to your opinion piece, “No one returns my calls…”
I am the chief psychiatrist at Tangerine Project, a small private practice clinic in Farmington, CT. For any form of referrals, kindly have your patients contact us. We provide medication assisted therapy, including buprenorphine.
I hope this helps counter your argument. If you or any other psychologists you know wish to start prescribing, which IS the practice of medicine, may I suggest attending medical school and completing residency. To become a psychiatrist, the arduous journey will take a mere eight years of training and thousands of hours. Your patients, especially those who do not know the difference between a highly confident psychologist who lacks common sense and a psychiatrist, deserve nothing less.
Sohrab Zahedi, M.D., Farmington.
I want to express my full support for the statement presented by my colleague (“Mental health safety must come first,” by Tichianaa Armah, MD) with whom I had the privilege of working a few years ago at the Community Health Center. This is an articulate and very persuasive argument against the passage of SB 966 and why it would be patently unwise to bestow prescriptive authority to psychologists. I fully endorse Dr. Armah’s perspective.
Velandy Manohar, M.D. , North Haven