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General Laws

Section 16P. The secretary of health and human services shall facilitate the coordination of services for children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services by convening a monthly meeting of agencies within the executive office of health and human services, the department of early education and care, and the department of elementary and secondary education.

The secretary shall publish a monthly report on the status of children awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services. The report shall include, but need not be limited to, the following data for the previous month: (i) the number of children who are MassHealth members who are awaiting psychiatric hospitalization in hospital emergency rooms or at emergency services sites after an exhaustive search has failed to identify an available bed in a psychiatric hospital and the average length of time each such child shall be required to wait before such a bed is identified; the number of such children in psychiatric hospitals awaiting post-hospitalization residential placement or community-based services, including their agency affiliation, if any; the number of such children temporarily placed and awaiting appropriate longer-term placement; (ii) an estimate of the numbers of available psychiatric hospital beds, residential school placements approved under chapter 71B, group homes by agency, and foster home placements, and how long those beds were available; and (iii) the data reported by the department of children and families under section 23 of chapter 18B and the department of mental health under section 24 of chapter 19.

The monthly report shall be submitted to the children’s behavioral health advisory council, the child advocate and the general court by filing it with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, and the senate and house committees on ways and means.

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