senate Bill S3423A

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

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A126A
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, A10824B

Votes

8
0
8
Aye
0
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
1
excused
0
abstained
show Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities committee vote details
aye wr (1)
excused (1)

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3423A

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--A

                       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 -- reported  favorably  from  said  committee  and
  committed  to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee discharged, bill
  amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said  commit-
  tee

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
LICENSED  AND  OPERATING  PURSUANT TO ARTICLE TWENTY-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 SERIOUS  MENTAL  ILLNESS  AS
DEFINED  IN  SECTION  1.03  OF  THIS  CHAPTER AND ARE RECEIVING SERVICES
RELATED TO SUCH ILLNESS,  or  any  other  place  or  facility  which  is
required to have an operating certificate pursuant to article 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  depart-
ment.    Appointments and transfers to the service shall comply with the

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00579-03-1

S. 3423--A                          2

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

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