Mental Health Archives

May 7, 2007

Governor Spitzer Signs "Jonathan's Law"

Governor Spitzer signed "Jonathan's Law" Saturday, May 5, 2007. According to the Governor's press release:

Jonathan's Law makes several important changes to state law. In particular, the new law will:
  • Require residential hygiene facilities to provide parents and guardians with telephone notification within 24 hours of incidents affecting the health and safety of their children;
  • Require such facilities to provide parents and guardians with a redacted incident report upon request; Require facility directors to meet with parents and guardians to discuss reported incidents;
  • Require facility directors to provide parents and guardians with written reports of actions taken in response to the incidents; and
  • Grant parents and guardians full access to records and documents pertaining to allegations and investigations into patient abuse or mistreatment, with redaction of patient and staff names.

The bill will also increase penalties to $1,000 per day or a maximum of $15,000 per violation for facilities licensed by OMRDD that fail to comply with applicable rules and regulations.

The Albany Times Union carried an article in its May 6 Sunday edition.

The bill text can be accessed here .

The law was opposed by the New York State Rehabilitation Association.

Update 5/10/2007: The enacted law is Chapter 24 of the Laws of 2007.

June 14, 2007

Mental Health and Privacy Topics of Report on Virginia Tech Tragedy

Top officials from the United States Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services have released their report after a review of some of the issues raised by the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech. The report addresses confusion and differing interpretations about state and federal privacy laws and regulations that impede information sharing and the capacity of the state and local mental health delivery systems to meet the full range of mental health needs. The report may be found here.

December 31, 2007

Kendra's Law Discussed in Washington Post

Today's Washington Post has an article giving some lengthy and favorable treatment to New York's Kendra's Law.

Susan Wezel had been committed to the city's hospital wards more than a dozen times in 10 years. Her psychosis was so deep and debilitating that she lost her career and her relationship with her son, as she refused to take her medication or follow treatment.

But because of a New York state law, Wezel hasn't been hospitalized in more than a year. She doesn't wander the streets alone at night anymore. She takes her medication willingly. She even has plans to follow her dream of singing at a neighborhood nightspot, something that was unthinkable 18 months ago.

Wezel and her caseworker agree that the transformation occurred because of the law, which allowed officials to force Wezel into an outpatient treatment program after she was discharged from a hospital.

Known as Kendra's Law, it is considered one of the most far-reaching mental health statutes in the country. It gives great latitude to doctors, social workers and relatives to take mentally ill people before a judge to force them into treatment, and it provides money for clinical services.

See the full article here.

April 15, 2008

C. Brown on "Creating a positive culture for children"

From the State Bar News, NYSBA's Annual Meeting Edition (March/April 2008), an article by Cailin Brown on the Presidential Summit, am panel, leads the issue (1)

...Experts shared ideas on breaking the cycle for youth at risk,
Cailin Brown reports, "Treating children like adults in the criminal justice system is an antiquated approach in the New York court system, one that needs to be replaced by a more responsive method for dealing with youth who have gone astray."
The panel discussion covered a wide range of the factors and included an impassioned plea by Honorable Michael A. Corriero, for the bar to recognize the injustices that adolescents face in the justice system.
'The law must be repealed and replaced by a law that is more sensitive to developmental realities of children...' The court system criminalizes children as young as 13 for their behavior.

More on a pediatric note, FDA updated its efforts (March, 2008), reporting on the medical, statistical, and clinical pharmacology reviews of pediatric studies conducted in response to a Written Request issued under the BPCA and pediatric assessments conducted under PREA. (2). For example, 2 of the 4 pediatric drug reviews include pediatric drugs used in the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B infections and bipolar mania (aka mixed episodes). The Division of Pediatric Drug Development (DPDD) is part of the Office of Counter-Terrorism and Pediatric Drug Development (OCTAP), in the Office of the Center Director, CDER.(3)
What are we learning? Author Robert M Julien prefaces his 2001 book, " A Primer of Drug Action, A concise non technical guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs"in part as follows: there has been "an explosion of knowledge about drugs, about the underlying disorders for which they are used, ...this knowledge is accelerating, and remarkable advances are occurring. Within the last five years, we have witnessed the introduction of totally new classes of drugs for treating schizophrenia, depression and bipolar illness. We have come to recognize the chronic and disabling nature of persistent anxiety and dysthymia. We have watched the explosion in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders of children and adolescents, and we have gained new understanding of the biochemical abnormalities in behavioral and psychological disorders....Finally as our knowledge of molecular biology increases, we are witnessing the identification , sequencing and cloning of drug receptors, processes that will produce the psychotherapeutic drugs of the future. ...
In 1975 when the first editions of A Primer of Drug Action was published, we had few drugs to treat many of the psychological disorders discussed in this ninth edition... Child and adolescent psychopharmacology was embryonic and most of the drugs presented in this book had not been conceived of.. As the 21st century progresses , we will....".

(1) NYSBA State Bar News, March/April 2008, article by Cailin Brown, assistant professor of communications at The College of Saint Rose,
(2) "In accordance with section 505A(k)(1) of the Act (Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act of 2007 (BPCA)) and section 505B(h)(1) of the Act (Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2007 (PREA)), as amended by FDAAA (Pub. L. No. 110-85)..."
(4) "A Primer of Drug Action, A concise, nontechnical guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs", Ninth edition by Robert M. Julien, MD. PHS, St Vincent Hospital and Medical Center, Portland Oregon. (Worth Publishers, 2001)

Continue reading "C. Brown on "Creating a positive culture for children"" »

October 31, 2008

More on Federal Mental Health Parity

Here's the lead to the US News & World Report encapsulation of the new federal mental health parity law:

Access to mental-health care should soon be cheaper and easier for millions of Americans, thanks to a "mental-health parity" law signed by President Bush this month. After a 10-year battle by mental-health advocates, depression and bipolar disorder, for example, will reach equal footing with heart disease or cancer on Jan. 1, 2010.

The rest is here.

September 9, 2009

Federal Judge Rules That Adult Homes Violate ADA

From today's New York Times online:

The judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, ruled that the state was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by housing more than 4,300 mentally ill people in New York City in more than two dozen adult homes. He said the residents had little hope of mingling with anyone in the wider community.

Read the rest here.

April 5, 2010

Court of Appeals Refuses OMH Record Request

From today's Albany Times-Union:

New York's top court has refused to order nursing homes to give state lawyers access to hundreds of psychiatric patients so they can advocate for their rights to treatment alternatives, living conditions or even release.

The Court of Appeals, divided 4-3, concluded the state Office of Mental Health decided not to license the nursing homes, so lawyers for the Mental Hygiene Legal Service lack jurisdiction there.

The slip opinion for the case, Hirschfeld v. Teller, may be found on the Court of Appeals website. The decision, No. 29, was handed down March 30, 2010.

December 15, 2014

Insurance Circular Letter on Coverage of Gender Dysphoria

The New York Department of Financial Services has issued a circular letter to provide guidance regarding health insurance coverage for the treatment of gender dysphoria. The circular letter summarizes itself:

An issuer may not deny medically necessary treatment otherwise covered by a health insurance policy or contract ("policy") solely on the basis that the treatment is for gender dysphoria. Further, an issuer is required to provide an insured with the full range of utilization review appeal rights as described in Article 49 of both the Insurance Law and the Public Health Law (collectively, "Article 49") for any gender dysphoria treatment that is denied based on medical necessity.

The letter further provides this definition of gender dysphoria: ""Gender dysphoria" is the term currently used for the condition of people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one with which they identify." Read the full letter on the DFS website.

About Mental Health

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to HEALTH LAW SECTION BLOG in the Mental Health category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Managed Care is the previous category.

Professional Discipline is the next category.

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