Section 1. Notwithstanding the provision of any general or special law to the contrary, the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse shall conduct or commission an independent study of the Department of Mental Health Inpatient Hospital System. Said study shall include, but not be limited to the following:
a) Whether there is sufficient inpatient capacity in the public mental health system to effectively and appropriately meet the needs of individuals suffering from mental illness;
b) Whether patients are receiving timely access to public inpatient mental health facilities;
c) An assessment as to how many individuals on a monthly basis:
a. Have been referred for admission to a public inpatient hospital; or
b. Are pending decision for admission to such hospital; or
c. Are approved for admission by the Department to such hospital and are on a waiting list for public inpatient hospital services.
This assessment must include a review of the timeliness of the placement of patients into appropriate intermediate care at such hospitals.
d) Whether the current process used to determine eligibility for public inpatient hospital services is efficient and whether it is adversely impacting the appropriate utilization of acute inpatient psychiatric beds. Such analysis shall include recommendations for whether and how such determination process could be improved.
e) A review of admissions and re-admissions of Department of Mental Health clients into acute inpatient psychiatric hospitals or units;
f) Any other issue of relevance or concern to the Committee.
Section 2. The entity chosen to conduct the study shall consult with the Executive Office of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health, consumers, and providers. Consultation with providers shall include but not be limited to the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems and its member hospitals and institutions. Said study shall be completed within 24 months of passage of the bill and submitted to the Governor, the House and Senate Clerks, the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees.
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