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Mental Health Treatment Bill Passes Ohio House

November 16, 2022
Brett Hudson Hillyer News

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation sponsored by State Representatives Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) that changes the law regarding involuntary treatment of mentally ill persons subject to a court order.

“At the end of the day, we just want to keep these mentally ill individuals safe and healthy,” Hillyer said. “We must do our part in ensuring that they get the help they need, and I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to get that done.”

House Bill 439 establishes a new category under which an individual may be considered a “mentally ill person subject to court order:” psychiatric deterioration. A person falls into this category and is considered a “mentally ill person subject to court order” if they pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or others by indicators such as:

  • The person’s judgment is impaired by a lack of understanding of having an illness or need for treatment;
  • The person’s refusal to receive treatment; and
  • A diagnosis of certain behavioral disorders.

The bill also changes conditions under which a general hospital is not required to transfer a person to a hospital licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). The respective general hospital would not have to transfer any person who is not medically stable, nor would they have to release someone if they are unable to identify an OhioMHAS-licensed hospital willing to accept the transfer.

H.B. 439 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.