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This entry was published on 2022-08-19
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SECTION 7.09
Powers of the office and commissioner; how exercised
Mental Hygiene (MHY) CHAPTER 27, TITLE B, ARTICLE 7
§ 7.09 Powers of the office and commissioner; how exercised.

(a) The commissioner shall exercise all powers vested in the office.
He may delegate any function, power, or duty assigned to him or to the
office of mental health to a director of a facility operated by such
office or to any other officer or employee of such office, unless
otherwise provided by law. He may enter into agreements with the
executive director of the justice center for the protection of people
with special needs or the other commissioners of the department in order
to ensure that programs and services are provided for all of the
mentally disabled.

(b) The commissioner may adopt regulations necessary and proper to
implement any matter under his jurisdiction. Proposed rules and
regulations shall be submitted at least sixty days prior to action
thereon to the mental health services council for its advice, in
accordance with section 7.05 of this chapter, unless the commissioner
finds that the public health, safety or general welfare requires that
such submission be dispensed with.

(c) The commissioner shall administer the forensic psychiatric program
of the office. Commitments to the commissioner of mental hygiene
pursuant to the provisions of the criminal procedure law and the
correction law shall be deemed to be commitments to the custody of the
commissioner of mental health or the commissioner of developmental
disabilities, as appropriate. The commissioner of mental health shall
arrange with the commissioner of developmental disabilities for the
placement, where appropriate, of any such committed person in a school.

(d) The commissioner and directors of office facilities may request
and upon such request the coroner, coroner's physician or medical
examiner shall provide to such persons access to original autopsy
slides, tissue materials and specimens derived from any autopsy or
inquiry with respect to the death of a patient or resident in a mental
hygiene facility, as defined in subdivision two of section five hundred
fifty of the executive law. Such original materials shall be preserved
intact, except for unavoidable changes due to necessary scientific
testing, and shall be returned to the coroner, coroner's physician or
medical examiner.

(e) The commissioner shall accept custody of a juvenile under an order
issued by the family court pursuant to the provisions of section 322.2
of the family court act. He or she may place the juvenile in any
appropriate facility or program under his or her jurisdiction, but he or
she shall comply with any order requiring treatment in a residential
facility made pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision five of section
322.2 of the family court act, unless, after a hearing held in
accordance with subdivision seven of section 322.2 of the family court
act, the court modifies the order. In determining the appropriate
placement, the commissioner shall be furnished with a copy of the
findings of the court pursuant to subdivision four or five of section
322.2 of the family court act and shall consider the nature of the act
alleged in such findings and the level of the juvenile's mental
disability. The commissioner shall review the condition of the juvenile
in accordance with the requirements of section 322.2 of the family court
act and he or she may petition the family court at any time for any
relief authorized by such section.

(f) The commissioner may approve special employment programs which are
operated by facilities within the office of mental health, for purposes
of producing products and services for procurement by the state or any
governmental agency, political subdivision or public benefit corporation
thereof, in accordance with the provisions of sections one hundred
seventy-five-a and one hundred seventy-five-b of the state finance law.
The term "special employment program" shall have the same meaning as
such term is defined in section one hundred seventy-five-c of the state
finance law.

(g) The commissioner shall work cooperatively with the commissioner of
the office for people with developmental disabilities and the
commissioner of the office of temporary and disability assistance to
assist the commissioner of education in furnishing integrated employment
services to individuals with severe disabilities, including the
development of an integrated employment implementation plan, pursuant to
article twenty-one of the education law.

(h) The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations to address
the communications needs of non-English speaking individuals seeking or
receiving services in facilities operated or licensed by the office in
order to facilitate their access to services. Such rules and regulations
shall include, but not be limited to, reasonable means to accommodate
the language capabilities and preferences of non-English speaking
individuals in such facilities where a significant number of non-English
speaking individuals seek or receive services.

(i) The commissioner of mental health shall be authorized to have
access to criminal history information contained in the central data
facility established by the division of criminal justice services, upon
such terms and conditions as the commissioner of mental health and the
commissioner of the division of criminal justice services shall agree.
The report containing such criminal history information may be
summarized for inclusion in the patient's clinical record, however, such
report shall be destroyed within fourteen days of its receipt. Such
information shall be used for purposes of making decisions regarding
care and treatment, health and safety, privileges and discharge planning
for patients admitted to or retained in hospitals operated by the office
of mental health. The commissioner of mental health shall promulgate
standards regarding the use of such information, which may include, but
not be limited to, consideration of the type of offense and the date of
conviction, and its relevance to care and treatment, health and safety,
privileges and discharge planning. Patients shall be given written
notice that their criminal history information will be obtained by the
hospital, that the opportunity exists to request the correction of any
inaccurate criminal history information in accordance with the
regulations of the division of criminal justice services, and that the
opportunity exists to challenge the accuracy of such information
maintained in the patients' clinical record to the extent authorized by
section 33.16 of this chapter. Such information shall be kept
confidential to the extent required under applicable federal and state
law, including section 33.13 of this chapter.

(j) (1) The commissioner, in cooperation with other applicable state
agencies, shall collect, retain or modify data or records, and shall
transmit such data or records: (i) to the division of criminal justice
services, or to the criminal justice information services division of
the federal bureau of investigation, for the purposes of responding to
queries to the national instant criminal background check system
regarding attempts to purchase or otherwise take possession of firearms,
as defined in 18 USC 921(a)(3), in accordance with applicable federal
laws or regulations, or (ii) to the division of criminal justice
services, which may re-disclose such data and records only for
determining whether a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the
penal law should be denied, suspended or revoked, under subdivision
eleven of such section, or for determining whether a person is no longer
permitted under federal or state law to possess a firearm. Such records,
which may not be used for any other purpose, shall include only names
and other non-clinical identifying information of persons who have been
involuntarily committed to a hospital pursuant to article nine of this
chapter, or section four hundred two or subdivision two of section five
hundred eight of the correction law, or article seven hundred thirty or
section 330.20 of the criminal procedure law or sections 322.2 or 353.4
of the family court act, or to a secure treatment facility pursuant to
article ten of this chapter.

(2) The commissioner shall establish within the office of mental
health an administrative process to permit a person who has been or may
be disqualified from possessing such a firearm pursuant to 18 USC
922(4)(d) or who has been or may be disqualified from continuing to have
a license to carry, possess, repair, or dispose of a firearm under
section 400.00 of the penal law because such person was involuntarily
committed or civilly confined to a facility under the jurisdiction of
the commissioner, to petition for relief from that disability where such
person's record and reputation are such that such person will not be
likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and where the
granting of the relief would not be contrary to public safety. The
commissioner shall promulgate regulations to establish the relief from
disabilities program, which shall include, but not be limited to,
provisions providing for: (i) an opportunity for a disqualified person
to petition for relief in writing; (ii) the authority for the agency to
require that the petitioner undergo a clinical evaluation and risk
assessment; and (iii) a requirement that the agency issue a decision in
writing explaining the reasons for a denial or grant of relief. The
denial of a petition for relief from disabilities may be reviewed de
novo pursuant to the proceedings under article seventy-eight of the
civil practice law and rules.

* (k) Notwithstanding any other law, rule or regulation, on request by
a representative of a cemetery organization or funeral establishment,
the commissioner and directors of office facilities shall release to the
representative the name, date of birth, or date of death of a person who
was a patient at the facility when the person died, unless the person or
the person's guardian provided written instructions to the facility not
to release such person's name or dates of birth and death. A
representative of a cemetery organization or a funeral establishment may
use a name or date released under this subdivision only for the purpose
of inscribing the name or date on a grave marker.

* NB There are 2 sb (k)'a

* (k) The commissioner shall develop clear and detailed definitions of
at least four categories of types of injuries that a staff member or
person confined may experience as the result of an assault by or an
altercation between a person confined and any staff member or other
person confined in state forensic psychiatric centers as such term is
defined in section 7.17 of this article. On at least a quarterly basis
beginning in January of each year, the commissioner shall report to the
legislature on the number of types of injuries within the detailed
categories required by this subdivision.

* NB There are 2 sb (k)'a

* (l) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the
commissioner, in conjunction with the commissioner of the office of
addiction services and supports and the director of the division of
veterans' services shall develop a public education initiative designed
to eliminate stigma and misinformation about mental illness and
substance use among service members, veterans, and their families,
improve their understanding of mental and substance use disorders and
the existence of effective treatment, and provide information regarding
available resources and how to access them. These public education
initiatives may include the use of the internet, including the use of
social networking sites.

* NB Effective until April 1, 2023

* (l) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the
commissioner, in conjunction with the commissioner of the office of
addiction services and supports and the director of the department of
veterans' services shall develop a public education initiative designed
to eliminate stigma and misinformation about mental illness and
substance use among service members, veterans, and their families,
improve their understanding of mental and substance use disorders and
the existence of effective treatment, and provide information regarding
available resources and how to access them. These public education
initiatives may include the use of the internet, including the use of
social networking sites.

* NB Effective April 1, 2023

(m) The commissioner shall publish on the website of the office
information regarding the mental illness anti-stigma distinctive license
plate established under section four hundred four-dd of the vehicle and
traffic law. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, a
link to the department of motor vehicle website where an individual may
order such license plate.