senate Bill S5986A

Amended

Enacts the "freeze unsafe closures now act" to delay the closure and consolidation of state facilities operated by the office of mental health and the office for people with developmental disabilities

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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

  • 15 / Nov / 2013
    • REFERRED TO RULES
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
  • 09 / Jan / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
  • 09 / Jan / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 5986A
  • 11 / Mar / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
  • 11 / Mar / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 5986B
  • 17 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 17 / Jun / 2014
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1440
  • 17 / Jun / 2014
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 17 / Jun / 2014
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 17 / Jun / 2014
    • REFERRED TO WAYS AND MEANS

Summary

Enacts the "freeze unsafe closures now act" to delay the closure and consolidation of state facilities operated by the office of mental health and the office for people with developmental disabilities until April 1, 2017.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8294A
Versions:
S5986
S5986A
S5986B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Mental Hygiene
Laws Affected:
Amd Part J §§20 & 21, Part O §§2 & 4, Chap 56 of 2012

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5986A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 56 of the laws of 2012,
amending the mental hygiene law and other laws relating to the office
for people with developmental disabilities and the office of mental
health, in relation to delaying the closure and consolidation of
facilities operated by such offices

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill will postpone the closures
and consolidation of state facilities operated by the Office of Mental
Health and the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities until
October, 1, 2015.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 enacts the "The Freeze Unsafe Closures Now Act".

Section 2 includes legislative findings on the Executive's proposed
closures and consolidation of facilities operated by the Office of
Mental Health and the Office of People with Developmental
Disabilities.

Section 3 amends sections 20 and 21 of part J of Chapter 56 of the
Laws of 2012 to ensure that no state operated mental hygiene shall be
closed or consolidated before October 1, 2015.

Section 4 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: The Commissioners of the Office of Mental Health (OMH)
and the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
recently announced a plan to close numerous facilities operated by
them.

The Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees have held multiple
hearings around the State on the effects that these closures will have
on our communities.

They've heard that the plan will overburden hospital emergency rooms,
inundate local correctional facilities with many new inmates and
increase local government expenditures for mental health services.

The closures at OMH would result in the creation of a "Thruway Mental
Health System" - a system based on facilities around the Thruway by
closing facilities in the Southern Tier and the North Country and
basing them in Syracuse and Utica. Family members of inpatients at
these facilities, including our most vulnerable consumers - children,
would be forced to drive to Syracuse or Utica to see their loved ones
under care. Imagine having your child being treated for an illness and
being forced to drive 2 hours to visit them.

This plan will result in the loss of much needed inpatient beds in
communities throughout New York without adequate community based
alternatives for consumers. Emergency rooms for people with mental
illness in the Southern Tier are already overcrowded and the influx of
new patients who seek needed services from the Comprehensive
Psychiatric Emergency Program operated by United Health Services will
mean consumers aren't receiving much needed services,. The OPWDD plan


will cut the safety net for people with developmental disabilities.
Families will struggle to care for children or siblings that currently
receive care in the state system. Some of these consumers have violent
tendencies. These consumers may end up in the correctional system
rather than receiving the care they need.

The Agencies' proposals will have unforeseen impacts by forcing state
employees to move to new communities. Some communities will lose their
only access to specialized professionals like psychiatrists.

The Commissioners have based this plan on the Olmstead Decision of the
United States Supreme Court But the Olmstead Decision says that
individuals with mental disabilities have the right to live in the
community if "the State's treatment professionals have determined that
community placement is appropriate, the transfer from institutional
care to a less restrictive setting is not opposed by the affected
individual, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking
into account the resources available to the State and the needs of
others with mental disabilities." The plan introduced by OMH and OPWDD
fails these tests.

Therefore the Senate has introduced legislation to put a moratorium on
the closures until October 1, 2015. This will give the Agencies time
to make a more detailed plan and work with the local communities to
make sure that the appropriate safety nets are in place.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None to the
State for this fiscal year, but this bill would stop significant costs
to local governments when they are required to absorb new mental
hygiene consumers who have been released from State care in their
local mental hygiene system and jails.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

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

                                 5986--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            November 15, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  LIBOUS,  RITCHIE,  BONACIC,  BOYLE,  DeFRANCISCO,
  FARLEY, FLANAGAN,  GALLIVAN,  LAVALLE,  LITTLE,  MARCELLINO,  MAZIARZ,
  O'MARA,  SEWARD,  ZELDIN  --  read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules  --  recommitted  to
  the  Committee  on  Mental  Health  and  Developmental Disabilities in
  accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 --  committee  discharged,  bill
  amended,  ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit-
  tee

AN ACT to amend chapter 56 of the laws  of  2012,  amending  the  mental
  hygiene  law  and  other  laws  relating to the office for people with
  developmental  disabilities  and  the  office  of  mental  health,  in
  relation to delaying the closure and consolidation of facilities oper-
  ated by such offices

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

  Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
the "freeze unsafe closures now act".
  S 2. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds that the state
has recently announced its intent to downsize and close numerous facili-
ties  operated  by the office of mental health and the office for people
with developmental disabilities.   These  facilities  provide  inpatient
services  to  individuals  with  serious mental illness or developmental
disabilities who are very frail, who are dangerous or  violent,  or  who
are  children  and adolescents.  The stated purpose of these closures is
to achieve full community integration of the mentally ill  and  develop-
mentally  disabled  individuals residing throughout the state in accord-
ance with the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead.  Olmstead v. L.C., 527
U.S. 581 (1999),  is  a  United  States  Supreme  Court  case  regarding
discrimination  against people with mental disabilities, which held that
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with mental
disabilities have the right to live in  the  community  rather  than  in

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13050-04-4

S. 5986--A                          2

institutions,  if in the words of the opinion of the court, "the State's
treatment professionals have  determined  that  community  placement  is
appropriate,  the transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive
setting is not opposed by the affected individual, and the placement can
be  reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available
to the State and the needs of others with  mental  disabilities".    The
court  also  stated  that  "We  emphasize that nothing in the ADA or its
implementing regulations condones termination of institutional  settings
for persons unable to handle or benefit from community settings".
  These  closures would result in the loss of much-needed inpatient beds
without adequate planning for community-based,  state-provided  alterna-
tives.  This  plan  also reduces innovative programs that include family
involvement or behavior modification for the mentally ill and the devel-
opmentally disabled.   For mentally  ill  and  developmentally  disabled
consumers,  their  safety net has been cut.  The termination of services
to these individuals by the state will have a dramatic unforeseen impact
by forcing state employees to move to new communities,  disrupting  care
for  fragile consumers, increasing incidents of individuals with violent
tendencies to victimize children and others, the overburdening of hospi-
tal emergency rooms, and inundating local correctional  facilities  with
many new inmates.
  The  legislature  hereby finds that closure of these facilities is not
required by the Olmstead decision and other federal mandates to  achieve
full  community  integration of the mentally ill and the developmentally
disabled.  The state will not achieve significant  savings  by  shutting
the  doors  of  these  vital  facilities; unfortunately, there is a very
significant chance the individuals being affected by these closures will
turn up in our criminal justice system and/or health care facilities.
  The purpose of this act shall be to postpone action providing for  the
closure  of  facilities  operated by the office of mental health and the
office for people with developmental disabilities until April 1, 2015 so
more adequate planning and collaboration can occur.
  S 3. Sections 20 and 21 of part J of chapter 56 of the laws  of  2012,
amending  the  mental  hygiene law and other laws relating to the office
for people with developmental disabilities  and  the  office  of  mental
health, are amended to read as follows:
  S  20.  The commissioner of [the office for people with] developmental
disabilities shall provide notification to the  temporary  president  of
the  senate  and  the  speaker  of  the  assembly  sixty days prior to a
reduction in capacity of twenty persons or more or closure of a develop-
mental center or other institutional setting which is  subject  to  such
reduction  or closure pursuant to such commissioner's planned downsizing
and closing of institutional capacity.  PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT NO STATE
OPERATED FACILITY SHALL BE REDUCED IN CAPACITY OR CLOSED BY  THE  OFFICE
FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES PURSUANT TO THIS ACT PRIOR TO
OCTOBER 1, 2015.
  S  21.  This act shall take effect immediately, provided however, that
on or before May 31, 2012 the office for people with developmental disa-
bilities shall submit a report to the temporary president of the  senate
and  the  speaker  of  the  assembly  on  implementation  related to the
restructuring of developmental disabilities services offices. The office
shall also publish the report on the office's website. The report  shall
include  but not be limited to: the plan timeline for transition of each
of the developmental disabilities service offices  into  a  state  oper-
ations offices of the office for people with developmental disabilities;
the  location of each state operations office, its catchment area, and a

S. 5986--A                          3

list of services that will be administered under its  jurisdiction;  and
the  location  of  each  developmental disabilities regional office, its
catchment area, and a list  of  programs  under  its  jurisdiction;  and
provided  further  that  section  twenty of this act shall expire and be
deemed repealed on [March 31, 2013] OCTOBER 1, 2015.
  S 4. Sections 2 and 4 of part O of chapter 56 of  the  laws  of  2012,
amending  the  mental  hygiene law and other laws relating to the office
for people with developmental disabilities  and  the  office  of  mental
health, section 4 as amended by section 2 of part H of chapter 56 of the
laws of 2013, are amended to read as follows:
  S  2.  Notwithstanding  the  provisions of subdivisions (b) and (e) of
section 7.17 of the mental hygiene law,  section  41.55  of  the  mental
hygiene  law,  or  any  other  law to the contrary, the office of mental
health is authorized, ON AND AFTER OCTOBER 1, 2015,  to  close,  consol-
idate,  reduce,  transfer  or  otherwise redesign services of hospitals,
other facilities and programs operated by the office of  mental  health,
and  to  implement  significant  service reductions and reconfigurations
according to this section as shall be determined by the commissioner  of
mental health to be necessary for the cost-effective and efficient oper-
ation  of  such  hospitals,  other  facilities  and programs. One of the
intents  of  actions  taken  that  result  in  closure,   consolidation,
reduction,  transfer  or  other  redesign of services of hospitals is to
reinvest savings such that, to the  extent  practicable,  comparable  or
greater  levels  of  community  based  mental  health  services  will be
provided to persons with mental illness in need of services  within  the
catchment  areas of such hospitals, as determined by the commissioner of
mental health with approval from the director of  the  division  of  the
budget.
  (a) In addition to the closure, consolidation or merger of one or more
facilities,  the  commissioner  of  mental  health is authorized, ON AND
AFTER OCTOBER 1, 2015, to perform  any  significant  service  reductions
that  would reduce inpatient bed capacity by up to 400 beds, which shall
include but not be limited to, closures of  wards  at  a  state-operated
psychiatric  center  or the conversion of beds to transitional placement
programs, provided that the commissioner provide at least 45 days notice
of such reductions to the temporary president  of  the  senate  and  the
speaker  of  the  assembly  and simultaneously post such notice upon its
public website. In assessing which  significant  service  reductions  to
undertake,  the  commissioner  shall  consider data related to inpatient
census, indicating nonutilization or under utilization of beds, and  the
efficient operation of facilities.
  (b)  At  least 75 days prior to the anticipated closure, consolidation
or merger of any hospitals named in subdivision (b) of section  7.17  of
the  mental hygiene law, the commissioner of mental health shall provide
notice of such closure, consolidation or merger to the temporary  presi-
dent  of  the  senate,  and speaker of the assembly, the chief executive
officer of the county in which the facility is located, and  shall  post
such  notice  upon its public website. The commissioner shall be author-
ized to conduct any and all preparatory actions which may be required to
effectuate such closures during such 75 day period.  In assessing  which
of  such hospitals to close, the commissioner shall consider the follow-
ing factors: (1) the size, scope and type of services  provided  by  the
hospital; (2) the relative quality of the care and treatment provided by
the  hospital,  as  may  be  informed by internal or external quality or
accreditation reviews; (3) the current and  anticipated  long-term  need
for  the types of services provided by the facility within its catchment

S. 5986--A                          4

area, which may include, but not be limited to, services for  adults  or
children,  or other specialized services, such as forensic services; (4)
the availability of staff sufficient to address the current  and  antic-
ipated  long  term  service  needs; (5) the long term capital investment
required to ensure that the facility meets relevant  state  and  federal
regulatory  and capital construction requirements, and national accredi-
tation standards; (6) the proximity of the facility to other  facilities
with space that could accommodate anticipated need, the relative cost of
any  necessary renovations of such space, the relative potential operat-
ing efficiency of such facilities, and the  size,  scope  and  types  of
services provided by the other facilities; (7) anticipated savings based
upon  economies  of  scale or other factors; (8) community mental health
services available in the facility catchment area  and  the  ability  of
such  community  mental  health  services  to meet the behavioral health
needs of the impacted consumers; (9) the obligations  of  the  state  to
place persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than
in  institutions,  when  appropriate; and (10) the anticipated impact of
the closure on access to mental health services.
  (c) Any transfers of inpatient capacity or any resulting  transfer  of
functions  shall  be authorized to be made by the commissioner of mental
health and any transfer of personnel upon such transfer of  capacity  or
transfer  of  functions  shall  be  accomplished  in accordance with the
provisions of section 70 of the civil service law ON AND  AFTER  OCTOBER
15, 2015.
  S  4.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall be deemed to
have been in full force and effect on and after April 1, 2012;  provided
that  the  date  for  any  closure or consolidation pursuant to this act
shall be on a date certified by the commissioner of mental  health;  and
provided further, however, that SECTION TWO OF this act shall expire and
be deemed repealed [March 31, 2013] OCTOBER 1, 2015.
  S  5.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall be deemed to
have been in full force and effect on and after March 31, 2013.

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