GNYHA Advocates for Mental Health Patients

February 20, 2018

GNYHA met with the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) and Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS) last week to continue discussions on ways to address the backlog of mental hygiene hearings required for certain mental health patients. GNYHA member hospitals report frequent postponements of mental hygiene cases causing treatment delays, and GNYHA is working with OCA and MHLS to identify strategies to reduce the backlog. At the meeting, New York County Chief Administrative Judge Deborah Kaplan and MHLS leadership agreed to use video technology when an individual consents in lieu of personal appearance. Video technology is intended to reduce OCA staff travel time to mental hygiene courts, resulting in more cases being heard on a given day—which in turn will reduce inefficient use of hospital resources when cases are adjourned. NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is scheduled to pilot video technology for this purpose in the coming months. Stakeholders also agreed to process certain uncontested outpatient treatment orders without lengthy hearings. Individuals contesting treatment recommendations will continue to be afforded hearings. OCA further agreed to review its calendar and assign mental hygiene cases when there are openings, and is developing training for court personnel who may be assigned mental hygiene cases. GNYHA will continue to advocate on behalf of members serving mental health patients to ensure timely access to mental hygiene courts and keep members apprised of the progress of the above initiatives.