Missouri Legislative Report
Missouri’s legislative session runs from January to mid-May per the Missouri constitution. At the end of the session, many failing bills get attached as amendments to bills that are going through, so it isn’t possible to know what was really passed and really killed until the session is over. We have now gone through summaries of all the bills passed this year to find the legislation relevant to CCHR. We had some good results, with one VERY GOOD anti-psych bill passed, and a number of dangerous pro-psych bills killed.
Anti-psych bills passed = 2
Pro-psych bills killed = 19
CCHR STL has visited the Capitol each year early in the legislative session with displays on mental health issues which are visited by various legislators. We also visit each legislator’s office delivering an information packet that includes the latest CCHR DVD. We also keep our friends and allies who are actively lobbying at the Capitol informed on mental health (Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, Missouri Family Network). We also had one of our volunteers testify at an Appropriations Committee hearing about the lack of result for dollars spent on mental health.
Your charitable donations and your volunteer time given to CCHR St. Louis allow us to achieve these results. Thank you for your support!
ANTI-PSYCH BILLS PASSED
SB 716 – Public health
This bill is a conglomeration of many provisions relating to public health, but has sections that are very good anti-psych legislation:
• Requires an investigation of reported abuse or neglect of a patient, resident, or client to be initiated within 24 hours and completed within 60 days.
• The guardian of such patient, resident, or client is to be notified of the investigation and given an opportunity to provide information to the investigators, and shall be notified of the results of the investigation and decision of the department of mental health within five working days of its completion.
• The department of mental health shall obtain two independent reviews of all patient, resident, or client deaths that it investigates.
• Requires the department of mental health to develop guidelines for screening and assessment of persons receiving mental health services that address the interaction between physical and mental health, to ensure all potential causes of changes in behavior or mental status caused by or associated with a medical condition are assessed.
SB 532 – Educational and medical consent by relative caregivers
• Allows an adult caregiver with whom a child is living to sign educational and medical consent if the parent is not available. Although not directly psych related, this is an important protection as it prevents consent for medical treatment, including psych treatment, from defaulting to the state if the parent is not available.
PRO-PSYCH BILLS KILLED
HB 1070 & HB 2059 – Family Intervention Orders
• Establishes family intervention orders for the treatment of persons who abuse chemical substances.
HB 1173 & SB 589 – Statutory cause of action
• Creates a statutory cause of action for damages against health care providers, replacing the common law cause of action for injury or death, and requires finding that the “health care provider failed to use that degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by similarly situated health care providers and that such failure proximately caused injury or death.”
HB 1083 – Statute of limitations for mental health
• Establishes a two-year statute of limitations for actions against a mental health professional for malpractice, negligence, error, or mistake
SB 583 – Evidentiary standard for noneconomic damages
• Changes the evidentiary standard for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, which would include mental health.
• Changes standard from “preponderance of evidence” to “clear and convincing,” which is a higher, more stringent standard of evidence. This is related to such damages as pain and suffering etc.
HJR 45 & SJR 25 – Limitations on non-economic damages
• Proposes a constitutional amendment granting the General Assembly the power to limit by statute jury awards of noneconomic damages, including against health care providers, which would include mental health.
HB 1130 – Prohibits denial of mental health treatment
• Prohibits the denial of mental health care and treatment for children who are alleged victims of abuse or neglect and requires guardians ad litem to have training in child abuse and neglect.
HB 1399 – Firearms and ammunition sales tax for mental health
• Imposes a sales tax upon every retail sale of any handgun or ammunition, at the rate of one cent per transaction, for providing funds for mental health services
Died in committee.
HB 1493 & SB 769 – Coverage for eating disorders
• Requires all health insurance carriers and health benefit plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. Includes psych treatment.
HB 1605 – Mental Health Month
• Designates the month of May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” and the first full week of May as “Bipolar Disorder Awareness Week” in Missouri
HB 1694 – County Youth Initiative Fund
• Allows counties to pass a sales tax for a County Youth Initiative fund, which “may be expended for the purchase of the following services: (1) Juvenile delinquency prevention and rehabilitation programs; (2) Programs that provide opportunities for at-risk children and youth who are affected by adverse community dynamics; and (3) Programs that attempt to address the tenuous social infrastructure that often leads to crime, welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, high school dropouts, and extended unemployment.” These would be mental health programs.
HB 1901 – Multiple provisions on health care, several relating to mental health
• Mandates assessments and treatment if substance abuse contributed to a crime (Sect. 208.186.1. and 2.).
• Encourages school based clinics in rural areas (Sect. 208.661.1.). (Would include mental health.)
• Expands Medicaid for “medically frail,” including disabling mental disorders and chronic substance use. (Sect. 208.991.1.(7) etc.).
HB 2058 – Mental health for crime victims
• Adds board certified psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialists to the list of medical professionals from whom treatment costs may be compensated by the crime victim reimbursement fund.
HB 2223 – School-based psych clinic for trauma victims
• Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a comprehensive school-based mental health program for students dealing with trauma and violence.
SB 739 – MO HealthNet provisions, some relating to mental health
• Drugs/alcohol assessment when these are judged to be contributing factors in a crime or child abuse or neglect, and treatment may be required before family reunification (Sect. 208.186).
• Health clinics encouraged to co-locate on school premises, with prohibitions on abortions and contraceptives, and parental consent required (Sect. 208.661). (This will include mental health.)
SB 937 – Money for involuntary commitments
• Provides for the county counselor of Boone County to receive state money for performing duties related to mental health and mental health facilities.