Making Laura’s Law More User Friendly

Written by Judi Iranyi. Posted in Healthcare, Politics

Tagged: , , ,

Published on April 09, 2013 with 3 Comments

Laura's Law

By Judi Iranyi

April 9, 2013

State Senator Leland Yee has introduced Senate Bill 664 which, if passed, would remove a number of burdensome requirements in Laura’s Law, an assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) program passed by the California Legislature in 1999 and recently extended to December 31, 2017.

Leland Yee

Leland Yee

An AOT program allows court-ordered, intensive outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illnesses who refuse medication because their illness impairs their ability to make rational decisions.   Laura’s Law provides for a 180-day period of intensive treatment under the supervision of the court.  While we as a society must safeguard the civil rights of the unfortunate, we also have an obligation to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.  Laura’s Law provides safeguards to protect the civil rights of those being considered for the AOT program.

Currently AOT can only be used if a county’s board of supervisors enacts a resolution to implement and independently fund a discrete Laura’s Law program.  SB 664 eliminates this requirement.  SB 664 would give the county Department of Public Health complete discretion over whether or not to initiate an AOT program.

SB 664 also authorizes a county to limit the number of persons to whom it provides AOT.  This would allow a county to provide AOT services only to the extent its resources permit.

Proposition 63 passed in 2004, established a one percent tax on personal income above $1 million to fund expanded health services for mentally ill children, adults, and seniors.  SB 664 makes clear that Proposition 63 funds can be used to support a Laura’s Law program.

Only Nevada County has implemented Laura’s Law, while Los Angeles County chose to implement a small AOT pilot project.  Perhaps with the passage of SB 664, the other 56 California counties will implement Laura’s Law.

I urge the passage of SB 664.

Judi Iranyi is a licensed clinical social worker, a Long Term Care Ombudsman, a former social services advocate for the Homeless Advocacy Project, and a former member of San Francisco’s Shelter Monitoring Committee.

Judi Iranyi

Judi Iranyi

Judi Iranyi was born in Hungary at the close of World War II. Later she emigrated to Venezuela, and also lived in Trinidad, Barbados, and West Germany before moving to San Francisco in 1971. Ms. Iranyi became interested in photography in the sixties. She studied photography and art at City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, U.C. Berkeley, and John F. Kennedy University. However, she worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker until her retirement. Now that she is retired, Ms. Iranyi is dedicating her time to her photography. She has been published and has had two solo exhibitions. Her book, “Bay Area Families” was one of the ten jury selection mentions in the exhibit “Cover to Cover” at San Francisco Camerawork (2013) and won Second Prize in Portraiture in the Professional Women Photographer’s 38th Anniversary International Women’s Competition (2014).

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