Reducing Delay for Mental Health Drugs Is the Aim of Cutler Legislation

HARRISBURG – The House Health Committee today unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) that would help reduce the delay some mental health patients experience when refilling medications by exempting psychiatrists from Medicaid’s pre-authorization for prescribed medication.

“Any delay in mood-stabilizing drugs can have a profound effect on a patient,” said Cutler.  “This legislation is about ensuring patient safety by treating psychiatrist-prescribed drugs the same as physician-prescribed drugs.”

Cutler noted that there have been too many cases of pre-authorization requirements interfering with patient access to psychiatric prescriptions.

A study by the American Psychiatric Association showed that more than 61 percent of psychiatrists in Pennsylvania reported having patients who experienced difficulty in accessing prescribed medications due to the prior authorization requirement.  By contrast, the study found that psychiatrists in New York state, where mental health medications are not subject to prior authorization, only reported seeing patients who had difficulty in accessing medications at a rate of 27 percent.

“This law was initially created to safeguard against inappropriate prescribing, but we just aren’t seeing cases of this happening,” said Cutler.  “Psychiatrists are highly educated, skilled and professional.  It is time for us to allow them to operate within their scope of practice, just as Pennsylvania physicians are able to do.”

Legislation similar to House Bill 1287, which Cutler also authored, was approved by the House in November 2011, but it was never voted on by the Senate.

House Bill 1287 will now go before the full House for consideration.

Information about Cutler and his legislative priorities is available at and

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
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