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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2021 02:31 PM
From: Representative Eric R. Nelson and Rep. Mark Longietti
To: All House members
Subject: People who leave addiction treatment against medical advice (Former HB1052)
In the near future, Representative Mark Longietti and I plan to re-introduce legislation aimed at protecting the safety of people who decide to leave addiction treatment against medical advice.  Our bill will not change anything about protected confidential information governed by existing Federal or State laws.  It will codify an existing best practice for people who have given their consent to share information with a specific individual when that consent has not been revoked.  If a person leaves treatment against medical advice, we believe their designated loved one should be notified.  This notification is recognized to help save lives and is allowed to occur, but it is not explicitly required. 
Rehabilitation facilities are not required to notify the approved loved one when a person backslides during treatment and discharges themselves against medical advice. The person is often picked up by their dealer or enabler while the family believes they are still safe.  This notification gap has resulted in overdose deaths and young women have also been victimized and lured into prostitution.
It is not too dramatic to state that this is a life and death matter.  People in the throes of an addiction have diminished capacity for good decision making.  We have been working with research staff and DDAP on this best practice so that providers who are not currently providing notification will do so.
Last session, HB1052 passed the house with a bipartisan vote of 188-0. Please join Representative Longietti and myself in working to advance this much needed legislation.

Introduced as HB944