San Francisco Chronicle Endorses Two Bills Offering ‘Modest Help’ for Mentally Ill
Two bills on Gov. Gray Davis' (D) desk that offer "modest help" for the "plight of the mentally ill" could help "salvage" a year in which the energy crisis and the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon have caused people with mental illness to "fal[l] off the political agenda," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial says. AB 1424, sponsored by Assembly member Helen Thomson (D-Davis), would mandate access to medical records and testimony from family members and treatment providers prior to hospitalizing the mentally ill. The Chronicle says that because "[n]o physician would diagnose a physical ailment without" such information, mental illness "should receive the same standard of professional care." SB 1059, sponsored by Sen. Don Perata (D-Alameda), would provide "modest funds" to address the "lack of mental health services provided to mentally ill criminal offenders." The bill would create a Council on Mentally Ill Offenders recommended by the Little Hoover Commission, which last year publicized the "huge economic cost" that comes from neglecting mentally ill repeat offenders. The commission would "investigate and promote cost-effective ways of offering health services before people commit criminal acts" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/4).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.