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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 1: Creation; powers of department and commissioner; safety symposium

Section 1. There shall be a department of mental health, in this chapter called the department, and a commissioner of mental health who shall have and shall exercise supervision and control of the department. All action of the department shall be taken by the commissioner, or under the direction of said commissioner, by such agents or subordinate officers as he shall determine.

The department shall take cognizance of all matters affecting the mental health of the citizens of the commonwealth; provided, that the primary mission of the department shall be to provide for services to citizens with long-term or serious mental illness, early and ongoing treatment for mental illness, and research into the causes of mental illness. The department shall have supervision and control of all public facilities, for mentally ill persons and of all persons received into any of said facilities and shall have general supervision of all private facilities for such persons; provided, however, that this sentence shall not be deemed to interfere with or supersede any other provision of general or special law which grants or confers supervision and control of certain public facilities for mentally ill persons and persons admitted to such facilities or which grants or confers supervision over certain private facilities for such persons, to any other department of the commonwealth or to any political subdivision. The department shall have supervision and control of all hospitals, comprehensive centers and clinics, and other mental health facilities established within the department and, subject to appropriation, may further develop additional state hospitals, comprehensive centers and clinics, or other mental health facilities under commonwealth operation or, subject to appropriation, may contract with any private hospital, institution, nonprofit charitable corporation, partnership, collaborative or other agency furnishing community or complementary mental health services to pay it the ordinary and reasonable compensation for such services actually rendered or furnished to persons in need thereof. Such agreements may provide for the retention of all revenues resulting from all billings and third party reimbursements by the contracting agency, provided that the expenditure of such funds is made in conformance with applicable state and federal law and subject to the approval of the commissioner.

The department shall designate those facilities to which persons may be committed or admitted as patients under the provisions of chapter one hundred and twenty-three. The department shall periodically inform the courts as to the available facilities to which persons may be committed or admitted as patients or residents.

The department shall be a corporation for the purpose of taking, holding and administering in trust for the commonwealth any grant, devise, gift or bequest made either to the commonwealth, to it, or to any state hospital or other mental health facility of the department, for the use of persons under its control in any mental health facility of the department, or for the use of such hospital or facility, or if the acceptance of such trust is approved by the governor, for expenditure upon any work which the department is authorized to undertake.

The department shall select the site of any new state mental health facility and any land to be taken or purchased by the commonwealth for the purposes of any new or existing state mental health facility.

The department of highways shall construct and maintain roads on the grounds of property of a state mental health facility; and expenses so incurred shall be paid from appropriations for the maintenance of such facility.

The department may make contracts with the federal government relative to receiving persons in the United States armed forces for care and treatment in departmental facilities and for support of such persons.

The department shall, on an annual basis, conduct a safety symposium known as the Stephanie Moulton Safety Symposium, which shall be a forum to discuss topics including, but not limited to, best safety practices and policies and risk management for community-based services.