CONCORD—On Tuesday, Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye) introduced legislation to begin to address New Hampshire’s emergency room mental health crisis. Every day there are approximately 35 individuals awaiting mental health treatment in New Hampshire emergency rooms.
Senator Sherman offered the following statement regarding Senate Bill 11:
“This emergency measure will relieve pressure on our mental health system and help get patients the treatment they deserve. Currently, if you enter the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack you get treated immediately, but if you enter the emergency room with symptoms of severe depression you may wait weeks — that’s not right. We must address our mental health crisis through both immediate legislation and long term solutions including the 10-Year Mental Health Plan and the state budget. This legislation is a critical first step in addressing our mental health crisis.”
Senate Bill 11 does the following:
I. Authorizes the department of health and human services to use general surplus funds for designated receiving facilities and for voluntary inpatient psychiatric admissions.
II. Makes an appropriation to the department of health and human services for the purpose of renovating certain existing facilities.
III. Provides for rulemaking for involuntary admission hearing requirements.
IV. Makes an appropriation to the affordable housing fund, established in RSA 204-C:5, for transitional housing for persons leaving mental health treatment facilities.
V. Requires insurers to reimburse certain facilities for emergency room boarding.