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A05746
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
2187
Session of
2020
INTRODUCED BY GALLOWAY, T. DAVIS, ULLMAN, SCHLOSSBERG, KENYATTA,
CALTAGIRONE, HILL-EVANS, HOHENSTEIN, MURT, KINSEY,
YOUNGBLOOD, CIRESI, FRANKEL, DeLUCA, HOWARD AND JOHNSON-
HARRELL, JANUARY 10, 2020
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES, JANUARY 10, 2020
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), entitled "An
act to consolidate, editorially revise, and codify the public
welfare laws of the Commonwealth," in children and youth,
providing for Statewide children's mental health ombudsman.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known
as the Human Services Code, is amended by adding a section to
read:
Section 710. Statewide Children's Mental Health Ombudsman.--
(a) The secretary, subject to the appropriation of State funds
or the receipt of Federal funds , shall establish for a Statewide
children's mental health ombudsman , shall establish a Statewide
children's mental health ombudsman for the following purposes:
(1) Advocating on behalf of children with mental health
disorders.
(2) Identifying barriers to effective mental health
treatment and proposed solutions.
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(3) Monitoring and ensuring compliance with relevant
statutes, regulations, rules and policies pertaining to
children's behavioral health services.
(4) Receiving, investigating and resolving through
administrative action, as described under subsection (d),
complaints filed by a child or by individuals legally authorized
to act on behalf of the child, or by an individual, organization
or government agency that has reason to believe that an entity
regulated by the Commonwealth has engaged in activities,
practices or omissions that constitute violations of applicable
court orders, statutes or regulations or that may have an
adverse effect upon the health, safety, welfare or rights of
children.
(b) Within sixty days of the appropriation of State funds or
receipt of Federal funds required under subsection (a) to
establish a Statewid e children's mental health ombudsman , the
secretary shall designate an individual to act as the ombudsman
who shall be qualified by training and experience to perform the
duties of the ombudsman.
(c) The ombudsman shall report to the secretary and the
Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Advocacy and
Reform or its successor.
(c) (d) The ombudsman shall serve for a term of five years
and shall continue to hold office until a successor is
appointed. the The secretary may reappoint the ombudsman for
one additional term. The secretary may remove the ombudsman only
for neglect of duty, misconduct or inability to perform duties.
(d) (e) The secretary, in consultation with the ombudsman,
the Deputy Secretary for Medical Assistance Programs and the
Director of the Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health Services
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Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Executive
Director of the Governor's Office of Advocacy and Reform or its
successor , shall establish policies and procedures to facilitate
the purposes of the ombudsman. The policies and procedures shall
include procedures for filing complaints, investigating
complaints and taking action to implement resolutions to
complaints, including the use of State agency enforcement
authority to resolve complaints as recommended by the ombudsman.
(e) (f) In ensuring that the goals of the ombudsman are met,
the following shall apply:
(1) The ombudsman shall monitor the development and
implementation of Federal, State and local statutes, regulations
and policies regarding services and supports for children with
mental health disorders, including the education of children
with mental health disorders.
(2) The ombudsman shall maintain complete records of
complaints received, the actions taken, findings, outcomes and
recommendations in response to any complaints and other actions,
including those taken by the Commonwealth and private agency
responses to serious complaints.
(3) Each quarter, the ombudsman shall send a report to each
government agency about which a complaint was that was the
subject of a complaint received by the ombudsman during the
relevant period, listing the complaints involving that agency
which that were received during the past quarter , and . The
ombudsman shall meet regularly with the secretary, the Deputy
Secretary for Medical Assistance Programs and the Director of
the Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health Services Mental
Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Executive Director
of the Governor's Office of Advocacy and Reform or its successor
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and shall report on any Statewide problems that the ombudsman
has identified and potential solutions.
(4) The ombudsman shall report annually, within one hundred
twenty days of the end of the fiscal year, to the Governor, the
President pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, the Majority Chairman and the Minority Chairman
of the Aging and Youth Committee of the Senate, the Majority
Chairman and the Minority Chairman of the Children and Youth
Committee of the House of Representatives, the Majority Chairman
and the Minority Chairman of the Education Committee of the
Senate, the Majority Chairman and Minority Chairman of the
Education Committee of the House of Representatives, the
Majority Chairman and the Minority Chairman of the Health and
Human Services Committee of the Senate, the Majority Chairman
and the Minority Chairman of the Health Committee of the House
of Representatives and the Majority Chairman and the Minority
Chairman of the Human Services Committee of the House of
Representatives, on the activities of the children's mental
health ombudsman, including complaints that are relevant to the
ombudsman and an analysis of patterns in complaints made through
the ombudsman and shall make recommendations for legislation,
policy or programmatic changes related to the protection of the
rights of children with mental health disorders. The report
shall be made available to the public and published on the
department's publicly accessible Internet website.
(f) (g) The department shall may promulgate regulations
necessary for the implementation of this section.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 90 days.
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