San Francisco To Be Fifth Calif. County To Implement Laura’s Law
Next week, San Francisco will become the fifth California county to implement Laura's Law, which allows involuntary treatment of individuals with severe mental illness, KQED's "State of Health" reports.
California passed Laura's Law in 2002. However, the state gave counties the decision on whether to implement the measure.
The law is aimed at individuals with a history of hospitalization, incarceration or violence who are resisting receiving mental health care. Family members, health care providers or law enforcement officers can ask the court to force patients into outpatient treatment. However, patients forced to undergo treatment cannot be force to take medication (Dembosky, "State of Health," KQED, 10/26).
Details of S.F. Program
In July 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to adopt the law. San Francisco County will be the fifth in the state to implement the law, after Contra Costa, Kern, Nevada and San Diego counties.
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, the measure's sponsor, said it will "help those who are clearly suffering and cannot help themselves," but patient advocates argued that the measure violates individuals' civil rights (California Healthline, 7/9/14).
San Francisco will begin implementing the law -- called the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program -- on Nov. 2.
Officials estimate that about 100 San Francisco residents each year will meet the program's eligibility requirements. They say treatment under the program will cost about $40,000 per person annually ("State of Health," KQED, 10/26).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.