An Act To Address Maine's Shortage of Behavioral Health Services for Minors
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §7708 is enacted to read:
§ 7708. Behavioral health resource for minors website
(1) Admissions to all hospital emergency departments of minors with behavioral health needs, including length of stay and criteria for admission and discharge;
(2) Programs available to minors with behavioral health needs, including the number and type of programs and the number of beds, slots or placements of the programs available to the minors; and
(3) Minors with behavioral health needs sent to a facility or program outside the State for treatment, including the type of program and length of stay for each minor; and
(1) Reasons for extended stays, including lack of beds, slots or placements in other facilities or programs, refusal of admission to other facilities or programs due to behavioral concerns or lack of community-based programs such as home-based support, step-down programs providing partial hospitalization or outpatient treatment providers or programs;
(2) Specific behavioral health needs treatment programs and the waiting list for admission to each program; and
(3) Funding mechanisms for appropriate service delivery and programming to provide short-term, transitional assistance, such as temporary staff increases, one-on-one staffing or staff training to address specific areas of behavioral health needs, to minors with behavioral health needs who are discharged to residential placements, partial hospitalization or home-based programs.
The department shall study the data collected and analyzed to determine the extent of the issue of minors with behavioral health needs being held in hospital emergency departments, the characteristics of the minors and any progress made on efforts to address the issue. By January 1st of each year, the department shall submit a summary of the study along with conclusions and any recommendations to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters. The committee may report out legislation based upon the study and recommendations to the Legislature by February 1st of that year.
Sec. 2. Department of Health and Human Services to study behavioral health needs advocate. In conjunction with the report required under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 7708, subsection 3, for the report due January 1, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services shall study the feasibility of adding a child behavioral health needs advocate within the department to ensure best practices among behavioral health needs providers and to coordinate the department's activities regarding addressing the behavioral health needs of minors with activities by hospital emergency departments and behavioral health treatment providers such as hospitals, step-down programs providing partial hospitalization, contracted behavioral health residential programs and the Department of Corrections. For purposes of this section, "behavioral health needs" has the same meaning as in Title 22, section 7708, subsection 1, paragraph A.
1. Defines "behavioral health needs" to mean a wide range of mental health disorders and illnesses, substance use disorder, developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorder;
2. Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to take measures to address the issue of extended stays in hospital emergency departments by minors with behavioral health needs by:
3. Directs the department to study the data and analysis on extended stays in hospital emergency departments by minors with behavioral health needs and submit an annual report to the Legislature that identifies:
4. Directs the department to study the feasibility of adding a child behavioral needs advocate within the department to coordinate the department's activities with those of various agencies and programs that provide behavioral health needs services to minors and to submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2020.