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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 26, 2013 11:30 AM
From: Senator Patricia H. Vance
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo #11 - Involuntary Mental Health Treatment Standard
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation to amend the Mental Health Procedures Act to establish a more reasonable threshold for involuntary emergency mental health treatment.

Current law sets a relatively high standard for an individual to meet before a court will intervene to ensure that treatment is provided. Often, the “clear and present danger” standard is so difficult to satisfy that significant and irreparable harm occurs before any treatment can be offered. Families watch the deterioration of their loved ones and feel powerless to stop the spiral.

My legislation will allow the court to look at the totality of the circumstances in determining whether involuntary mental health treatment can be offered. It will allow mental debilitation to be considered as well as physical and will eliminate the requirement that an act be committed in furtherance of the threat. Doctors will be able to assess the individual as a whole and determine whether a risk exists.

Introduced as SB796