Levine Measure Demands Equity for Patients Seeking Urgent Mental Healthcare

Thursday, February 13, 2020

(Sacramento, CA) – Leading efforts to expand urgent after care for thousands of Californians experiencing a mental health emergency, Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) today introduced AB 2242, which would require an appointment with a licensed mental health provider within 48 hours for any individual being released from an involuntary psychiatric hold.

Commonly referred to as a 72 hour hold, a psychiatric hold is an involuntary civil commitment of individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others and require inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. According to the California Department of Health Care Services, over 136,000 adults and over 18,000 children are placed on a 72 hour hold every year. 

While current law authorizes necessary follow up care after release from a 72 hour hold, follow up appointments with a mental health provider can often be delayed 30 days or more. Although no longer hospitalized, the individual is still experiencing a mental health crisis, requiring urgent outpatient care. Just as an individual suffering a heart attack receives urgent follow up care after their release from a hospital, the same equitable level of care should be offered to anyone suffering an inpatient mental health emergency.

“Individuals suffering from a mental health emergency need timely care and support, not bureaucratic delays,” said Assemblymember Levine. “When someone is hospitalized for a physical health emergency, urgent follow up care is the normal course of treatment. We need to end the stigma and treat mental health with the same urgency and equitable level of care that is offered to those with physical health needs.  By increasing the timely access to care, my AB 2242 will save lives and improve outcomes for those suffering a mental health emergency.” 

AB 2242 will be considered by the State Assembly this spring.

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