Bill Text: NJ A4889 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires assessments prior to laboratory and diagnostic testing of persons undergoing mental health screening.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-17 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee [A4889 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-A4889-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4889

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 17, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  CAROL A. MURPHY

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires assessments prior to laboratory and diagnostic testing of persons undergoing mental health screening.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning mental health screening and amending P.L.1987, c.116.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    As used in P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.) and P.L.2009, c.112:

     a.     "Chief executive officer" means the person who is the chief administrative officer of an institution or psychiatric facility. 

     b.    "Clinical certificate" means a form prepared by the division and approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts, that is completed by the psychiatrist or other physician who has examined the person who is subject to commitment within three days of presenting the person for involuntary commitment to treatment, and which states that the person is in need of involuntary commitment to treatment.  The form shall also state the specific facts upon which the examining physician has based his conclusion and shall be certified in accordance with the Rules of the Court.  A clinical certificate may not be executed by a person who is a relative by blood or marriage to the person who is being screened.

     c.     "Clinical director" means the person who is designated by the director or chief executive officer to organize and supervise the clinical services provided in a screening service, short-term care or psychiatric facility.  The clinical director shall be a psychiatrist, however, those persons currently serving in the capacity will not be affected by this provision.  This provision shall not alter any current civil service laws designating the qualifications of such position. 

     d.    "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Human Services.

     e.     "County counsel" means the chief legal officer or advisor of the governing body of a county. 

     f.     "Court" means the Superior Court or a municipal court.

     g.    "Custody" means the right and responsibility to ensure the provision of care and supervision. 

     h.    "Dangerous to self" means that by reason of mental illness the person has threatened or attempted suicide or serious bodily harm, or has behaved in such a manner as to indicate that the person is unable to satisfy his need for nourishment, essential medical care, or shelter, so that it is probable that substantial bodily injury, serious physical harm or death will result within the reasonably foreseeable future; however, no person shall be deemed to be unable to satisfy his need for nourishment, essential medical care, or shelter if he is able to satisfy such needs with the supervision and assistance of others who are willing and available. This determination shall take into account a person's history, recent behavior, and any recent act, threat, or serious psychiatric deterioration.

     i.     "Dangerous to others or property" means that by reason of mental illness there is a substantial likelihood that the person will inflict serious bodily harm upon another person or cause serious property damage within the reasonably foreseeable future. This determination shall take into account a person's history, recent behavior, and any recent act, threat, or serious psychiatric deterioration.

     j.     "Department" means the Department of Human Services.

     k.    "Director" means the chief administrative officer of a screening service, short-term care facility, or special psychiatric hospital.

     l.     "Division" means the Division of Mental Health Services in the Department of Human Services.

     m.   "In need of involuntary commitment" or "in need of involuntary commitment to treatment" means that an adult with mental illness, whose mental illness causes the person to be dangerous to self or dangerous to others or property and who is unwilling to accept appropriate treatment voluntarily after it has been offered, needs outpatient treatment or inpatient care at a short-term care or psychiatric facility or special psychiatric hospital because other services are not appropriate or available to meet the person's mental health care needs.

     n.    "Institution" means any State or county facility providing inpatient care, supervision, and treatment for persons with developmental disabilities; except that with respect to the maintenance provisions of Title 30 of the Revised Statutes, institution also means any psychiatric facility for the treatment of persons with mental illness.

     o.    "Mental health agency or facility" means a legal entity which receives funds from the State, county, or federal government to provide mental health services.

     p.    "Mental health screener" means a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, registered professional nurse, or other individual [trained] who meets the criteria established by the commissioner in accordance with this subsection to [do outreach only for the purposes of] perform psychological [assessment] assessments and who is employed by a screening service [and possesses].  A mental health screener shall possess the license [,] to practice as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or registered nurse, as appropriate, or shall otherwise meet the criteria for certification as a mental health screener established by regulation of the commissioner.  An individual shall possess academic training [or] and experience and fulfill any other requirements to be a certified screener, as required by the commissioner pursuant to regulation; except that a psychiatrist and a State licensed clinical psychologist who meet the requirements for mental health screener shall not have to comply with any additional requirements adopted by the commissioner.

     q.    "Mental hospital" means, for the purposes of the payment and maintenance provisions of Title 30 of the Revised Statutes, a psychiatric facility.

     r.     "Mental illness" means a current, substantial disturbance of thought, mood, perception, or orientation which significantly impairs judgment, capacity to control behavior, or capacity to recognize reality, but does not include simple alcohol intoxication, transitory reaction to drug ingestion, organic brain syndrome, or developmental disability unless it results in the severity of impairment described herein.  The term mental illness is not limited to "psychosis" or "active psychosis," but shall include all conditions that result in the severity of impairment described herein.

     s.     "Patient" means a person over the age of 18 who has been admitted to, but not discharged from, a short-term care or psychiatric facility, or who has been assigned to, but not discharged from, an outpatient treatment provider.

     t.     "Physician" means a person who is licensed to practice medicine in any one of the United States or its territories, or the District of Columbia.

     u.    "Psychiatric facility" means a State psychiatric hospital listed in R.S.30:1-7, a county psychiatric hospital, or a psychiatric unit of a county hospital.

     v.    "Psychiatrist" means a physician who has completed the training requirements of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

     w.   "Psychiatric unit of a general hospital" means an inpatient unit of a general hospital that restricts its services to the care and treatment of persons with mental illness who are admitted on a voluntary basis.

     x.    "Psychologist" means a person who is licensed as a psychologist by the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners.

     y.    "Screening certificate" means a clinical certificate executed by a psychiatrist or other physician affiliated with a screening service.

     z.     "Screening service" means a public or private ambulatory care service designated by the commissioner, which provides mental health services including assessment, emergency, and referral services to persons with mental illness in a specified geographic area.

     aa.   "Screening outreach visit" means an evaluation provided by a mental health screener wherever the person may be when clinically relevant information indicates the person may need involuntary commitment to treatment and is unable or unwilling to come to a screening service.

     bb.  "Short-term care facility" means an inpatient, community based mental health treatment facility which provides acute care and assessment services to a person with mental illness whose mental illness causes the person to be dangerous to self or dangerous to others or property.  A short-term care facility is so designated by the commissioner and is authorized by the commissioner to serve persons from a specified geographic area.  A short-term care facility may be a part of a general hospital or other appropriate health care facility and shall meet certificate of need requirements and shall be licensed and inspected by the Department of Health and Senior Services pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.) and in accordance with standards developed jointly with the Commissioner of Human Services. 

     cc.   "Special psychiatric hospital" means a public or private hospital licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide voluntary and involuntary mental health services, including assessment, care, supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness.

     dd.  "Treatment team" means one or more persons, including at least one psychiatrist or physician, and may include a psychologist, social worker, nurse, and other appropriate services providers.  A treatment team provides mental health services to a patient of a screening service, outpatient treatment provider, or short-term care or psychiatric facility.

     ee.   "Voluntary admission" means that an adult with mental illness, whose mental illness causes the person to be dangerous to self or dangerous to others or property and is willing to be admitted to a facility voluntarily for care, needs care at a short-term care or psychiatric facility because other facilities or services are not appropriate or available to meet the person's mental health needs. A person may also be voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility if his mental illness presents a substantial likelihood of rapid deterioration in functioning in the near future, there are no appropriate community alternatives available, and the psychiatric facility can admit the person and remain within its rated capacity. 

     ff.   "County adjuster" means the person appointed pursuant to R.S.30:4-34.

     gg.  "Least restrictive environment" means the available setting and form of treatment that appropriately addresses a person's need for care and the need to respond to dangers to the person, others, or property and respects, to the greatest extent practicable, the person's interests in freedom of movement and self-direction.

     hh.  "Outpatient treatment" means clinically appropriate care based on proven or promising treatments directed to wellness and recovery, provided by a member of the patient's treatment team to a person not in need of inpatient treatment.  Outpatient treatment may include, but shall not be limited to, day treatment services, case management, residential services, outpatient counseling and psychotherapy, and medication treatment.

     ii.    "Outpatient treatment provider" means a community-based provider, designated as an outpatient treatment provider pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.8), that provides or coordinates the provision of outpatient treatment to persons in need of involuntary commitment to treatment.

     jj.    "Plan of outpatient treatment" means a plan for recovery from mental illness approved by a court pursuant to section 17 of P.L.2009, c.112 (C.30:4-27.15a) that is to be carried out in an outpatient setting and is prepared by an outpatient treatment provider for a patient who has a history of responding to treatment.  The plan may include medication as a component of the plan; however, medication shall not be involuntarily administered in an outpatient setting.

     kk.  "Reasonably foreseeable future" means a time frame that may be beyond the immediate or imminent, but not longer than a time frame as to which reasonably certain judgments about a person's likely behavior can be reached.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.112, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 5 of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.5) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    The commissioner shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) regarding a screening service and its staff that effectuate the following purposes and procedures:

     a.     A screening service shall serve as the facility in the public mental health care treatment system wherein a person believed to be in need of involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment, a short-term care facility, psychiatric facility, or special psychiatric hospital undergoes an assessment to determine what mental health services are appropriate for the person and where those services may be most appropriately provided in the least restrictive environment.

     The screening service may provide emergency and consensual treatment to the person receiving the assessment and may transport the person or detain the person up to 24 hours for the purposes of providing the treatment and conducting the assessment.

     b.    [When a person is assessed] The assessment shall be performed by a mental health screener [and] prior to the performance of routine laboratory and diagnostic testing pursuant to section 1 or 2 of P.L.2009, c.242 (C.30:4-177.61 or C.9:3A-7.4), as appropriate. If, as a result of the assessment, involuntary commitment to treatment seems necessary, the routine laboratory and diagnostic testing shall be performed and the screener shall provide, on a screening document prescribed by the division, information regarding the person's history and available alternative facilities and services that are deemed inappropriate for the person.  When appropriate and available, and as permitted by law, the screener shall make reasonable efforts to gather information from the person's family or significant others for the purposes of preparing the screening document.  If a psychiatrist, in consideration of this document and in conjunction with the psychiatrist's own complete assessment, concludes that the person is in need of commitment to treatment, the psychiatrist shall complete the screening certificate.  The screening certificate shall be completed by a psychiatrist except in those circumstances where the division's contract with the screening service provides that another physician may complete the certificate.

     Upon completion of the screening certificate, screening service staff shall determine, in consultation with the psychiatrist or another physician, as appropriate, the least restrictive environment for the appropriate treatment to which the person shall be assigned or admitted, taking into account the person's prior history of hospitalization and treatment and the person's current mental health condition.  Screening service staff shall designate:

     (1)   inpatient treatment for the person if he is immediately or imminently dangerous or if outpatient treatment is deemed inadequate to render the person unlikely to be dangerous to self, others, or property within the reasonably foreseeable future; and

     (2)   outpatient treatment for the person when outpatient treatment is deemed sufficient to render the person unlikely to be dangerous to self, others, or property within the reasonably foreseeable future.

     If the screening service staff determines that the person is in need of involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment, the screening service staff shall consult with an outpatient treatment provider to arrange, if possible, for an appropriate interim plan of outpatient treatment in accordance with section 9 of P.L.2009, c.112 (C.30:4-27.8a).

     If a person has been admitted three times or has been an inpatient for 60 days at a short-term care facility during the preceding 12 months, consideration shall be given to not placing the person in a short-term care facility.

     The person shall be admitted to the appropriate facility or assigned to the appropriate outpatient treatment provider, as appropriate for treatment, as soon as possible.  Screening service staff are authorized to coordinate initiation of outpatient treatment or transport the person or arrange for transportation of the person to the appropriate facility.

     The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to alter the requirements of section 1 of P.L.2009, c.242 (C.30:4-177.61) concerning the use of standardized admission protocols and medical clearance criteria for transfer or admission of a hospital emergency department patient to a State or county psychiatric hospital or a short-term care facility.

     c.     If the mental health screener determines that the person is not in need of assignment or commitment to an outpatient treatment provider, or admission or commitment to a short-term care facility, psychiatric facility, or special psychiatric hospital, the screener shall refer the person to an appropriate community mental health or social services agency or appropriate professional or inpatient care in a psychiatric unit of a general hospital.

     d.    A mental health screener shall make a screening outreach visit if the screener determines, based on clinically relevant information provided by an individual with personal knowledge of the person subject to screening, that the person may need involuntary commitment to treatment and the person is unwilling or unable to come to the screening service for an assessment.

     e.     If the mental health screener pursuant to this assessment determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that a person is in need of involuntary commitment to treatment, the screener shall so certify the need on a form prepared by the division.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.112, s.5)

 

     3.    The Commissioner of Human Services, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et sq.), shall adopt rules and regulations as the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following the date of enactment, but the Commissioner of Human  Services shall take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends the mental health screening law, P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4D-27.1 et seq.), concerning assessments of persons believed to be in need of involuntary commitment to treatment.  The bill requires that an assessment be performed prior to the performance of routine laboratory and diagnostic testing.  If, as a result of the assessment, involuntary commitment to treatment seems necessary, then the routine laboratory and diagnostic testing is to be performed.  (Laboratory and diagnostic testing may currently be completed and submitted to screening services before the assessment, so this bill seeks to avoid such testing expenses if the person does not need commitment, and to reduce hospital emergency room waiting times because staff would not have to wait for test results to be reviewed before the assessment is performed.)

     In addition, the bill amends the definition of "mental health screener" to refer to regulations adopted by the Department of Human Services concerning "certified screeners" at N.J.A.C.10:31-3.3, and clarifies that the definition of this term includes any person who meets the criteria for certification as a mental health screener prescribed by regulation of the Commissioner of Human Services. 

     Lastly, the bill specifies that it does not alter the requirements of section 1 of P.L.2009, c.242 (C.30:4-177.61) concerning the use of standardized admission protocols and medical clearance criteria for transfer or admission of a hospital emergency department patient to a State or county psychiatric hospital or a short-term care facility.

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