Advocates Seek Wider Implementation of State Mental Health Care Law
Mental health advocates in California are working to expand the implementation of a 2003 state law that aims to make it easier for judges to orderÂ patients with mental illnessÂ to take their medications, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Under the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a judge must determine that a patient poses a danger to himself or others before ordering him to undergo involuntary psychiatric treatment. Most psychiatric stays are limited to 72 hours.
The 2003 Laura's Law aimed to make it easier for judges to order patients to take medication under supervised treatment.
Call for Wider Implementation
Carla Jacobs, a mental health advocate with the group Lanterman-Petris-Short Act Reform Roundtable, said the problem with Laura's Law is that it allows each county to decide whether to use it.
As of now, only Los Angeles and Nevada counties have implemented the law.
Some patients and community agency workers have criticized Laura's Law because they say it violates the civil rights ofÂ patients with mental illness and creates unnecessary costs.
Critics say a better solution would be for the state to create more mental health care services (Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.