Missouri Governor Signs Two Anti-Psych Bills
SS SCS SB 532 (Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 532) – Modifies provisions relating to educational and medical consent provided by relative caregivers. Signed by Governor Nixon 7/9/2014; goes into effect 28 August 2014.
This act allows relative caregivers, acting under an affidavit, to consent to medical treatment and educational services for a minor child with whom such caregiver lives if consent of the legal parent or guardian cannot be obtained through reasonable efforts. A parent may also delegate such consent authority to the relative caregiver in writing. “Relative caregiver” is defined as a competent adult who is related by blood, marriage or adoption, who is not the legal parent or guardian and who represents in the affidavit that the child lives with the adult and that the adult is responsible for the care of the child.
This is an important protection as it prevents consent for medical treatment, including psychiatric treatment, from defaulting to the state if the parent is not available.
CCS#2 HCS SCS SB 716 (Conference Committee Substitute No. 2 for House Committee Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 716) – Modifies provisions relating to public health. Signed by Governor Nixon 7/10/2014; goes into effect 28 August 2014.
VULNERABLE PERSON ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS (Sections 630.017 and Section 2)
This act provides that upon receipt of a report of possible vulnerable person abuse, the Department of Mental Health shall initiate an investigation within 24 hours and shall complete all investigations within 60 days, unless good cause for the failure to complete the investigation is documented.
For investigations alleging neglect of a patient, resident, or client, the guardian shall be notified of the investigation and given an opportunity to provide information to the investigators; the results of the investigation shall be provided to the guardian 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.
This act also requires the department of mental health to develop guidelines for the screening and assessment of persons receiving services from the Department that address the interaction between physical and mental health to ensure that all potential causes of changes in behavior or mental status caused by or associated with a medical condition are assessed. The provisions of this act relating to screening and assessments shall only apply to state owned or operated facilities and not to long-term care facilities or hospitals.
This is an important change in the law as it recognizes that mental symptoms can be caused by physical issues and requires the Missouri Department of Mental Health to assess persons for medical conditions and not just for mental symptoms. If you know someone who might have input into such guidelines, now is the time to have them contact the DMH. California developed such guidelines in 1991, called the Medical Evaluation Field Manual, which will be the subject of a future newsletter.