senate Bill S3423

Amended

Provides a mental hygiene legal service to certain patients or residents of residential healthcare facilities

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 22 / Feb / 2011
    • REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
  • 04 / May / 2011
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO JUDICIARY
  • 16 / Jun / 2011
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO JUDICIARY
  • 16 / Jun / 2011
    • PRINT NUMBER 3423A
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
  • 30 / Apr / 2012
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE

Summary

Provides a mental hygiene legal service to patients or residents of residential healthcare facilities who have been admitted directly from a facility and who have a chronic mental illness and are receiving services related to such illness.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S3423
S3423A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Mental Hygiene Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง47.01, Ment Hyg L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: A126A
2009-2010: A10824B, S7432

Votes

9
0
9
Aye
0
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3423

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to providing a mental
hygiene legal service to certain patients or residents of residential
healthcare facilities

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill provides mental hygiene
legal services with authority to provide legal assistance to patients
or residents of residential health care facilities including nursing
homes who have been admitted directly from a psychiatric facility or
a psychiatric ward of a hospital and who have a serious mental
illness for which they are receiving services related to such illness.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Sections 1 of the bill amends section 47.01 subdivision (a) of the
mental hygiene law to include patients and residents of residential
healthcare facilities including nursing homes who have been directly
admitted from a facility licensed by the Office of Mental Health and
who have a serious mental illness and are receiving services for such
illness.

Section 2 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:
The NYS Court of Appeals, the State's highest court,
recently ruled that Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS) lacks
jurisdiction to represent mentally ill individuals who have been
admitted to nursing homes from psychiatric centers and psychiatric
hospital wards because the Office of Mental Health does not license
the facilities. The legislature amended the law in 1993 to
significantly expand MHLS's jurisdiction to include individuals in a
range of other in and out-patient facilities without regard to the
type of facility or a person's lack of legal admission status and
avoid the need for MHLS to do battle to establish a jurisdictional
foothold. Unfortunately, by a vote of 4-3, the Court of Appeals
decided that those amendments are not sufficient to afford seriously
mentally ill individuals access of protective MHLS when in a setting
not licensed by OMH.

In the mid 1990's a practice of transferring individuals from
psychiatric centers and psychiatric wards of hospitals to specialized
units in nursing homes called neurobiological units (NBU's) where
they continued to receive intensive psychiatric treatment was begun.
These individuals were not there for traditional nursing home care. A
series of award winning articles in the New York Times focused in
part on this practice and claimed that the residents in the NBU were
being deprived their legal protection. The article claimed that the
NBU's were like being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric center
without any legal protections. MHLS began looking into the matter and
sought access to the residents and their records in order to provide
advocacy and legal representation. Nursing homes denied them access
and in June 2003, MHLS commenced a court action seeking jurisdiction
to protect the rights of these individuals.


Nursing homes have since shut down NBU's, however there continues to
be a steady flow of seriously mentally ill individuals being
transferred from OMH licensed psychiatric centers and hospital wards
to nursing homes.

Seriously mentally ill individuals deserve the same protections that
they would be afforded had they remained in the OMH licensed
facilities. They are not being discharged because they have been
cured or stabilized. If these individuals continue to require
intensive, institutional care and treatment that a nursing home
provides, they must continue to be provided with the protections that
MHLS was designed to provide. Many of these individuals have been in
nursing homes for years without legal representation waiting this
court decision. This bill will clearly put in statute MHLS' authority
to provide legal assistance to these seriously mentally ill
individuals who are alleged to be in need of care and treatment in
such restrictive settings.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: A.10824-B/S.7432-A - Vetoed Memo 6811.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
No new costs.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3423

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 22, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. McDONALD -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Mental Health and Develop-
  mental Disabilities

AN ACT to amend the mental hygiene  law,  in  relation  to  providing  a
  mental hygiene legal service to certain patients or residents of resi-
  dential healthcare facilities

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision (a) of section 47.01 of the mental hygiene law,
as amended by chapter 7 of the laws of  2007,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  (a) There shall be a mental hygiene legal service of the state in each
judicial  department.  The  service  shall  provide  legal assistance to
patients or residents of a facility as defined in section 1.03  of  this
chapter,    PATIENTS  OR  RESIDENTS OF RESIDENTIAL HEALTHCARE FACILITIES
INCLUDING NURSING HOMES LICENSED AND OPERATING PURSUANT TO ARTICLE TWEN-
TY-EIGHT OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW WHO HAVE BEEN ADMITTED DIRECTLY FROM A
FACILITY AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1.03 OF THIS CHAPTER AND WHO HAVE A SERI-
OUS MENTAL ILLNESS AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1.03 OF THIS  CHAPTER  AND  ARE
RECEIVING SERVICES RELATED TO SUCH ILLNESS, or any other place or facil-
ity which is required to have an operating certificate pursuant to arti-
cle  sixteen or thirty-one of this chapter, and to persons alleged to be
in need of care and treatment in  such  facilities  or  places,  and  to
persons  entitled to such legal assistance as provided by article ten of
this chapter. The head of such service in each judicial  department  and
such  assistants  and  such staff as may be necessary shall be appointed
and may be removed by the presiding justice of the appellate division of
the judicial department.   Appointments and  transfers  to  the  service
shall comply with the provisions of the civil service law. Standards for
qualifications  of  the personnel in the service shall be established by
the presiding justice of the appellate division of the judicial  depart-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00579-01-1

S. 3423                             2

ment.  The  presiding  justice of the appellate division of the judicial
department shall promulgate such rules or regulations as may  be  neces-
sary to effectuate the purposes of this article.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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