PA 10-60—sSB 246

Public Health Committee

Appropriations Committee

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

SUMMARY: This act permits clinical social workers and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are members of a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DHMAS)-certified community support program to issue emergency certificates directing a person with psychiatric disabilities to be taken to a hospital for evaluation. The law already allows social workers and APRNs who are members of a DMHAS-operated or –funded mobile crisis team, jail diversion program, crisis intervention team, advanced supervision and intervention support team, or assertive case management support program to issue emergency certificates.

As with social workers and APRNs already authorized to issue emergency certificates, those working in the community support program must (1) have received at least eight hours of specialized training in conducting direct evaluations and (2) as a result of direct evaluation, reasonably believe the person has psychiatric disabilities; is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or gravely disabled; and needs immediate care or treatment.

The act also requires the DMHAS commissioner to (1) certify intermediate care beds in general hospitals to provide inpatient mental health services for adults with serious and persistent mental illness and (2) operate a behavioral health recovery program providing clinical substance abuse treatment, psychiatric treatment, and nonclinical recovery support services not covered under Medicaid.

Finally, the act allows the head of a psychiatric hospital, or his authorized representative, to restrict patient communication by mail and telephone if a patient (1) sends obscene mail to another person or (2) makes harassing telephone calls. It also makes a technical change to a statute regarding the Connecticut Valley Hospital Advisory Council.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010 except for the provision regarding intermediate care bed certification, which takes effect July 1, 2010, and the provision regarding the behavioral health recovery program, which takes effect upon passage.

INTERMEDIATE CARE BED CERTIFICATION

The act requires the DMHAS commissioner to adopt regulations establishing general hospital intermediate care bed certification requirements and procedures. In adopting the regulations, the commissioner must consider the need for such beds. DMHAS must establish policies and procedures necessary to implement these certification requirements while adopting them as regulations.  The commissioner must print notice of the intent to adopt regulations in the Connecticut Law Journal no later than 20 days after the policies and procedures are implemented. These policies and procedures are valid until the final regulations are adopted.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RECOVERY PROGRAM

The act requires the DMHAS commissioner, within available appropriations, to operate a behavioral health recovery program serving Medicaid-eligible individuals with substance abuse disorders or psychiatric disabilities. DHMAS may provide residential substance abuse treatment, recovery support services, peer supports, housing assistance, transportation, food, clothing, and personal care items. Under the act, DMHAS is responsible for all services and payment related to the provision of these services.

The act allows the DHMAS commissioner to adopt regulations for the program and establish policies and procedures necessary to implement the program while adopting regulations. The commissioner must print notice of the intent to adopt regulations in the Connecticut Law Journal not later than 20 days after the policies and procedures are implemented. These policies and procedures are valid until the final regulations are adopted.

BACKGROUND

Community Support Programs

Community support programs provide mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation services and supports to help DHMAS clients function independently in the community. Services are provided by mobile, interdisciplinary teams of clinicians and peer specialists based on an individualized service plan the team develops. Services are provided in a community setting and may include medication management, psychosocial rehabilitation, interpersonal and other skill development, and education and support to clients' families. Currently, 14 DHMAS-certified programs operate statewide.

OLR Tracking: ND: SS: PF: DF