BILL SUMMARY for SB16-169
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
02:37 PM -- SB16-169
The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representatives Kraft-Tharp and Landgraf, prime sponsors, presented Senate Bill 16-169, concerning changes related to the seventy-two-hour emergency health procedure. Representative Kraft-Tharp explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Landgraf provided further information about the effect of the bill. Representative Landgraf responded to questions regarding who may remove a 72-hour hold on mental health emergencies under current law. Representative Kraft-Tharp responded to questions regarding the timing of mental health emergency procedures under the bill.
Discussion ensued regarding the conditions to which those undergoing an emergency mental health procedures are subjected when they are placed in a county jail, and the types of personnel available to assist the committed person in these facilities.
Representative Kraft-Tharp responded to questions regarding how those who are experiencing a mental health crisis and present a danger to themselves and others are handled. The following persons testified regarding SB 16-169:
03:07 PM -- Mr. Chris Johnson, representing the County Sheriffs of Colorado, and Ms. Katherine Mulready, representing the Colorado Hospital Association, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Johnson discussed the need for law enforcement to intervene in mental health crises, and how often those under the auspices of a jail are checked on by staff. Mr. Johnson responded to questions regarding statutes governing restrictions placed on those undergoing a mental health crisis who are placed in the custody of a jail, and who pays for the placement of mental health crisis subjects in a jail. Mr. Johnson responded to further questions regarding the availability of trained mental health professionals to provide services to those undergoing a mental health crisis who are committed to a jail. Mr. Johnson responded to questions regarding the scope of the problem to be addressed by the bill. Discussion ensued regarding a forthcoming amendment to the bill.
Mr. Johnson responded to questions regarding how law enforcement handles those undergoing a mental health crisis once the hold time limit is reached under current law. Ms. Mulready explained how those undergoing a mental health crisis are handled by hospitals, and discussed the merits of the bill. Ms. Mulready also noted some deficiencies in the legislation. Ms. Mulready responded to questions regarding those professionals who may place a hold on persons undergoing a mental health crisis, and the availability of such professionals in rural areas.
Ms. Mulready responded to questions regarding a provision in the bill that requires hospitals to provide facilities for those committed to a mental health hold.
03:37 PM -- Mr. Lawrence Krause, representing the National Association of Mental Illness, testified in opposition to SB 16-169. Mr. Krause discussed the need for enhanced services at medical facilities for those undergoing mental health crises. Mr. Krause provided his opinion on a forthcoming amendment, and his solution to issues associated with involuntary holdings of those in mental health crisis.
03:44 PM -- Mr. Doug Wilson, representing the Office of the State Public Defender, testified in opposition to the bill. He noted some entities involved in addressing the issues that are the subject of the legislation, and voiced opposition to the subjection of those undergoing a mental health crisis to jail for the lengths of time prescribed by SB 16-169. Mr. Wilson clarified his objections to the legislation, and his position on the bill if a forthcoming amendment were adopted. Mr. Wilson responded to questions regarding alternatives to using jails to hold those undergoing mental health crises.
Mr. Wilson responded to further questions about his objections to the bill. Discussion ensued regarding some potential constitutional issues with SB 16-169.
04:01 PM -- Dr. Patrick Fox, representing the Department of Human Services, testified in opposition to the bill. Dr. Fox explained that the bill requires a remedy to potential constitutional issues, and supported a forthcoming amendment. Dr. Fox discussed some forthcoming efforts to address the issues raised by the bill, and clarified points made during earlier discussion. Dr. Fox provided his position on the bill should it be amended. Dr. Fox responded to questions regarding why a number of hospitals have not sought to be designated facilities for holding persons undergoing mental health crises.
Dr. Fox responded to questions regarding federal guidelines for health care facilities accommodating those undergoing a mental health crisis. Dr. Fox responded to questions regarding the scope of a forthcoming amendment, and the ability of certain hospital personnel to assist with persons who are undergoing mental health crises.
04:24 PM -- Mr. Mark Ivandick, representing Disability Law Colorado, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Ivandick discussed problems associated with incarcerating those undergoing mental health crises for several days.
04:27 PM -- Ms. Moe Keller, representing Mental Health Colorado, testified in support of the bill. She discussed action taken on the bill in the Senate. She also discussed challenges related to crisis response. Ms. Keller responded to questions regarding the effect of a forthcoming amendment and the costs associated with the bill.
04:35 PM -- Ms. Jennifer Hill, representing the Colorado Mental Wellness Network, testified in support of the bill.
04:37 PM -- Ms. Kelly Erb, representing the Colorado Rural Health Center, testified in support of the bill. Committee members received a pair of maps outlining access to health care in Colorado (Attachment A).
04:38 PM -- Mr. Doug Muir, representing Centura Health, testified in support of the bill.
04:40 PM -- Ms. Gail Finley, representing the Colorado Hospital Association, testified in support of SB 16-169. Ms. Finley discussed efforts undertaken in rural counties to manage persons undergoing mental health crises. Ms. Finley explained why she is opposed to a certain provision in the bill, and discussed a potential conflict created by the bill.
04:46 PM -- Ms. Terri Barnhart, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.
04:47 PM -- Ms. Carol Meredith, representing the Arc of Colorado, testified in support of the bill.
Representatives Kraft-Tharp and Landgraf addressed issues raised during testimony. The committee laid the bill over for future action.