State mental health bills in review

From the California Coalition for Mental Health (CCMH):

They are in the process of reviewing all of the newly introduced bills, but highlighted SB 1606 as the one most likely to generate the most interest and controversy.

SB 1606 by Senator Leland Yee and sponsored by the California Psychiatric Association would significantly expand the AB 1421 Thomson 2002 (Laura’s law) assisted outpatient program, attempting to accomplish the following:

  1. Allow referrals for evaluation for eligibility into this program for people found not to meet involuntary hospitalization criteria
  2. Change the law from being option in each county to being a statewide program that will exist in every county.
  3. Change the nature of voluntary services that must have been refused before the involuntary court order could be made from having refused full Adult system of Care (AB2034 or MHSA full service partnership) array of services to having been offered any treatment but continues to refuse
  4. Changes to the services that must be made available from ACT program (very similar to AB 2034 but with specified high level staffing ratios) to any services that includes case management.

Unchanged are the criteria for whom the law applies to, which are people who must meet all of the following criteria:

  • unlikely to survive safely without supervision
  • a history of lack of compliance
  • either:
    1. at least 2 incarcerations or psychiatric hospitalizations in the past 36 months; or
    2. one or more acts of serious and violent behavior toward himself or herself or another or threats or attempts to cause serious harm within the past 48 months
  • offered treatment and continues to engage
  • condition is substantially deteriorating
  • court ordered outpatient treatment is least restrictive placement to ensure recovery and stability
  • necessary to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would lead to a 5150 – involuntary hospitalization
  • will benefit from the treatment

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