Governor Brown Signs Portantino’s Senate Bill Protecting Recipients of Acute Mental Health Services
Sacramento, CA – This week, Senate Bill 565, by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge), was signed and chaptered into law by Governor Brown. SB 565 requires a mental health facility, prior to a certification review hearing, to make reasonable attempts to notify family members or any other person designated by the patient of the exact time and place of the hearing at least 36 hours prior to the certification review hearing.
“Having had personal experience with this issue I strongly believe that it is vital we improve patient care and possibly save lives by enacting a modest and reasonable notice requirement. Encouraging a reasonable attempt to contact and include a family member or designated person’s comments during the evaluation process allows doctors and health care professionals to be better equipped to make evaluations in the best interest of their patients. Having a time certain for such an evaluation allows the family member or designated persons time to be at the hearing and the opportunity to add information germane to that evaluation,” stated Portantino.
Portantino became aware of barriers placed between family members and a loved one in treatment when his brother was placed on three short-term holds but was then released. Ultimately he took his own life.
“I was quite concerned that I could not find out when the evaluation hearings were taking place and I could not share my feelings about his desires. There needed to be some formal way for loved ones to share their concerns and I am very grateful to Governor Brown for sharing this concern. Hopefully, the implementation of SB 565 will have a positive benefit for patient mental health care,” concluded Portantino.
SB 565 received support from the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, Disability Rights California, NAMI California, National Association of Social Workers–CA, Pacific Clinics, and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California.
Sen. Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, La Verne, Los Feliz, Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Sunland-Tujunga, and Upland.