SECTION 1. The Massachusetts General Laws are hereby amended by inserting the following new chapter:
1.) An Act to improve the quality of mental health services, and rights of patients, by providing for sufficient privacy.
2.) All individuals, who present themselves, for mental health services, and/or are admitted for such services, and/or assessment, shall be entitled to a specific private intake room, or physical space, where only they, medical staff, and relevant security, may hear any intake, and/or treatment conversations.
3.) These provisions, may not be waivered, except in extreme emergency circumstances; which shall be specifically noted, and the reasons therefore, by responsible medical, and intake staff.
4.) In the context, of significant, and substantial reductions in funding, for various medical services, including mental health services, it has occurred that patients being seen for intake, and/or treatment, have been seen in open wards, and/or emergency general settings, without privacy. This can have various effects, in denying privacy, diminishing the provision of needed information between medical staff, and actual or potential patients, and compromising important treatment discussions.
5.) It is in the interests of public policy, that such inherent violations, of needed confidentiality, be reduced, and/or eliminated to the extent possible, by various measures.
6.) The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and its Public Health Council (PHC), are hereby authorized to develop, establish, and enforce the needed regulations, to carry out the intent of this legislation.
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