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Substitute Senate Bill No. 246

Public Act No. 10-60

AN ACT CONCERNING ISSUANCE OF EMERGENCY CERTIFICATES AND THE SAFETY OF PATIENTS AND STAFF AT FACILITIES OPERATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17a-503 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

(a) Any police officer who has reasonable cause to believe that a person has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, and in need of immediate care and treatment, may take such person into custody and take or cause such person to be taken to a general hospital for emergency examination under this section. The officer shall execute a written request for emergency examination detailing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody, and such request shall be left with the facility. The person shall be examined within twenty-four hours and shall not be held for more than seventy-two hours unless committed under section 17a-502.

(b) Upon application by any person to the court of probate having jurisdiction in accordance with section 17a-497, alleging that any respondent has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, and in need of immediate care and treatment in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities, such court may issue a warrant for the apprehension and bringing before it of such respondent and examine such respondent. If the court determines that there is probable cause to believe that such person has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, the court shall order that such respondent be taken to a general hospital for examination. The person shall be examined within twenty-four hours and shall not be held for more than seventy-two hours unless committed under section 17a-502.

(c) Any psychologist licensed under chapter 383 who has reasonable cause to believe that a person has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, and in need of immediate care and treatment, may issue an emergency certificate in writing that authorizes and directs that such person be taken to a general hospital for purposes of a medical examination. The person shall be examined within twenty-four hours and shall not be held for more than seventy-two hours unless committed under section 17a-502.

(d) Any clinical social worker licensed under chapter 383b or advanced practice registered nurse licensed under chapter 378 who (1) has received a minimum of eight hours of specialized training in the conduct of direct evaluations as a member of (A) any mobile crisis team, jail diversion program, crisis intervention team, advanced supervision and intervention support team, or assertive case management program operated by or under contract with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, or (B) a community support program certified by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and (2) based upon the direct evaluation of a person, has reasonable cause to believe that such person has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, and in need of immediate care and treatment, may issue an emergency certificate in writing that authorizes and directs that such person be taken to a general hospital for purposes of a medical examination. The person shall be examined within twenty-four hours and shall not be held for more than seventy-two hours unless committed under section 17a-502. The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall collect and maintain statistical and demographic information pertaining to emergency certificates issued under this subsection.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-471a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

(a) The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, in consultation and coordination with the advisory council established under subsection (b) of this section, shall develop policies and set standards related to clients residing on the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus and to the [placement of clients discharged] discharge of such clients from the hospital into the adjacent community. Any such policies and standards shall assure that no discharge of any client admitted to Whiting Forensic Division under commitment by the Superior Court or transfer from the Department of Correction shall take place without full compliance with sections 17a-511 to 17a-524, inclusive, 17a-566 to 17a-575, inclusive, 17a-580 to 17a-603, inclusive, and 54-56d.

(b) There is established a Connecticut Valley Hospital Advisory Council [to] that shall advise the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services on policies concerning, but not limited to, building use, security, clients residing on the campus and the [placement of clients discharged] discharge of clients from the campuses into the adjacent community. [The] In addition, the advisory council shall periodically review the implementation of the policies and standards established by the commissioner in consultation with the advisory council. The council shall be composed of six members appointed by the mayor of Middletown, six members appointed by the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services and one member who shall serve as chairperson appointed by the Governor.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-546 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

(a) Every patient shall be permitted to communicate by sealed mail with any individual, group or agency, except as [herein] provided in this section.

(b) Every hospital for treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities shall furnish writing materials and postage to any patient desiring them.

(c) If the head of the hospital or his authorized representative receives a complaint from a person demonstrating that such person is receiving obscene, threatening or harassing mail from a patient, the head of the hospital or his authorized representative may, after providing a reasonable opportunity for the patient to respond to the complaint, restrict such patient's mail to the complainant. The head of the hospital or his authorized representative shall notify the patient of the availability of advocacy services if such patient's mailing rights are restricted. Any such restriction shall be noted in writing, signed by the head of the hospital, and made a part of the patient's permanent clinical record.

(d) If the head of the hospital or his authorized representative determines that it is medically harmful to a patient to receive mail, all such correspondence shall be returned unopened to the sender, with an explanation, signed by the head of the hospital, for its return. A copy of this explanation shall be made a part of the patient's permanent clinical record.

(e) Every patient shall be permitted to make and receive telephone calls, except as [herein] provided in this section. Public telephones shall be made available in appropriate locations.

(f) If the head of the hospital or his authorized representative determines that a patient has made obscene, [or] threatening or harassing telephone calls, he may restrict such patient's right to make telephone calls. Any such restriction shall be noted in writing, signed by the head of the hospital, and made a part of the patient's permanent clinical record.

(g) If the head of the hospital or his authorized representative determines that it is medically harmful to a patient to make or receive telephone calls, this fact shall be explained, in writing, signed by the head of the hospital, to the patient's family and any persons who regularly make calls to, or receive calls from, the patient. A copy of the explanation shall be signed by the head of the hospital and placed in the patient's permanent clinical record.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2010) (a) The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall certify intermediate care beds in general hospitals to provide inpatient mental health services for adults with serious and persistent mental illness.

(b) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to establish requirements for certification of intermediate care beds in general hospitals and the process by which such beds shall be certified. In adopting such regulations, the commissioner shall consider the need for such beds.

(c) The commissioner shall implement policies and procedures to carry out the provisions of this section while in the process of adopting such policies and procedures in regulation form, provided notice of intent to adopt the regulations is published in the Connecticut Law Journal not later than twenty days after implementation. Such policies and procedures shall be valid until the time the final regulations are adopted.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall, within available appropriations, operate a behavioral health recovery program to provide clinical substance abuse treatment, psychiatric treatment and nonclinical recovery support services, which are not covered under the Medicaid program, for individuals with substance abuse disorders or psychiatric disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid pursuant to Sections 1902(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII) and 1902(k)(2) of the Social Security Act. Services provided under the program may include, but shall not be limited to, residential substance abuse treatment, recovery support services, peer supports, housing assistance, transportation, food, clothing and personal care items. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services shall be responsible for all services and payments related to the provision of the behavioral health recovery support services for eligible recipients.

(b) The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, for purposes of implementing the provisions of this section. The commissioner may implement policies and procedures to implement the provisions of this section while in the process of adopting such policies or procedures in regulation form, provided the commissioner prints notice of the intent to adopt regulations in the Connecticut Law Journal not later than twenty days prior to implementing such policies and procedures. Policies and procedures implemented pursuant to this subsection shall be valid until the time final regulations are adopted.

Approved May 18, 2010