Advocacy E-News January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015



The New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has published proposed new rules for N.J.A.C. 10:37G-3, Short Term Care Facility (STCF) Standards, closed acute care adult psychiatric units in a general hospital for short term admission of individuals who meet the legal standards for commitment. Under the proposed new rules STCF staff may disclose to a family member, other relative, a close personal friend of the patient, or any other person identified by the patient, patient Protected Health Information (PHI) directly relevant to the person’s involvement in the patient’s care or payment related to the patient’s care to notify or assist in the notification of (including identifying or locating) a family member, a personal representative of the patient, or another person responsible for the care of the patient, of the patient’s location, general condition, or death.

In addition STCF staff may disclose the patient’s PHI if they first:
1. Obtain the patient’s verbal agreement;
2. Provide the patient with the opportunity to object to the disclosure and the patient does not express an objection; or
3. Reasonably infer from the circumstances, based on the exercise of professional judgment, that the patient does not object to the disclosure.

The proposed new rules also include provisions to facilitate opportunities for families of patients to meet with professional STCF staff in order to improve assessment, service planning and coordination of care. The proposed amendment at N.J.A.C. 10:37G-2.4(b) would include families in discharge planning as well as.

See the proposed rules



Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden (S2360) to help provide the courts access to more accurate and up-to-date information when considering a request for the expungement of mental health records for the purpose of purchasing a firearm was approved today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the Senate for consideration

Current law requires licensed firearms retailers to conduct a background check of prospective firearms purchasers using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill would require a purchaser applying for expungement to serve notice to law enforcement officials in his or her current state of residence. Law enforcement officials would have the discretion as to whether to provide information to the court on the applicant’s criminal history or behavior for consideration during the expungement proceedings.

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Legislation (A-3435) to help minors to seek treatment for mental illness and emotional disorders was approved, 67-3-1, by the full Assembly on Thursday. Specifically, the bill would amend current law to permit a minor to give consent for behavioral health care for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders. The bill provides that the minor’s consent to treatment would be valid and binding as if the minor were an adult. Additionally, under the bill, the treatment would be considered confidential information between the physician, the individual who is licensed to provide professional counseling, or the health care facility, as appropriate, and the patient. The provisions of the bill are similar to those which already permit a minor to consent to treatment for venereal disease, HIV, AIDS, sexual assault, or drug or alcohol abuse.

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