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Relating to court-ordered mental health services.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is required to implement a provision of
this Act only if the legislature appropriates money specifically for that purpose.
SB 362 would authorize a judge to order a proposed patient to receive court-ordered temporary or extended outpatient mental health services if: (1) the judge finds that appropriate mental health services are available to the proposed patient; (2) the jury finds, from clear and convincing evidence, that the proposed patient has a severe and persistent mental illness, the proposed patient will be unable to live safely in the community without court-ordered outpatient mental health services, those services are needed to prevent a relapse that would likely result in serious harm to the proposed patient or others, and the proposed patient is unable to participate in outpatient treatment services effectively and voluntarily; and (3) the judge and jury also find from clear and convincing evidence that the proposed patient's condition is expected to continue for more than 90 days and he or she has received court-ordered inpatient or outpatient mental health services for specified lengths of time. This bill would set out the evidence requirements for meeting the clear and convincing standard.
Also, the bill would require an order for temporary outpatient mental health services to state that treatment is authorized for not longer than 45 days, unless the judge finds that a period not to exceed 90 days is necessary. An order for extended outpatient mental health services must provide for a period not to exceed 12 months. A defendant would not be eligible for temporary or extended mental health services if they are charged with a criminal offense that involves an act, attempt, or threat of serious bodily injury to another person.
This bill would also set requirements for hearings, the process by which a facility administrator may assess the appropriateness of transferring a patient to outpatient mental health services, continuing care plans for a patient scheduled to be furloughed or discharged, and payment of psychoactive medication.
Finally, this bill would authorize a trial court to release a defendant on bail, under certain circumstances, for a Class B misdemeanor or higher while the charges are pending, and enter an order transferring the defendant to the appropriate court for court-ordered outpatient mental health services.
Texas Action recommends supporting SB 362 because it promotes limited government. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, rates of mental illness in jails are four to six times higher than in the general population. SB 362 would help reduce high rates of recidivism by providing better access to mental health services while maintaining public safety.