Thursday, January 10, 2013

HB78 and SB33, new bills to amend KRS 202A.081

Double victory, two bills introduced to amend Kentucky's court-ordered community-based outpatient treatment law - 2013!

On Jan. 8, 2013, HB 78 was introduced by Chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, Representative Tom Burch. Concurrently, on Jan 8, 2013, Senator J. Denton, Senate Health and Welfare Chair introduced SB 33
This act is relating to amend the current KRS 202A.081, to extend the length of an order for community-based outpatient treatment and permit re-hospitalization for failure to abide by the order. This act will lengthen the current 60 days order to 180 days and will strengthen the current law by adding that outpatient providers are require to use evidence-based practices.

Please write and call Senator Denton and Representative Tom Burch for sponsoring these important bills! While this is far from what a model AOT law would be, it is a step in the right direction to help prevent future tragedies that are unfolding across Kentucky and the US daily.

In addition, please write and call your local legislators and ask them to support these bills. We hope these bills will be discussed in committee, when the general assembly convenes on February 5, 2013 (Day 5 of 30 Days).

Representative Tom Burch, Health and Welfare (H) [Chair] (D), Mailing Address: 4012 Lambert Ave, Louisville KY 40218. Frankfort Address(es) 702 Capitol Ave, Annex Room 332E, Frankfort KY 40601 Phone Number(s) Home: (502) 454-4002, Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. EMAIL:  

Senator Julie Denton (R), Frankfort Address(es) 702 Capitol Ave, Annex Room 252. Frankfort KY 40601 Phone Number(s) Home: (502) 489-9058, Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 64, Annex email: click here
Many Kentucky leaders are hopeful that these bills are a step in the right direction! Future advocacy efforts will still be be needed to fund appropriate behavioral health services, especially for those who are trapped in the revolving door and are unable to access treatment to keep them from becoming a threat to themselves or others.

Changes are needed for a small subset of vulnerable individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, who often lack insight (anosognosia*) and don’t accept treatment voluntary. In some areas of Kentucky, these individuals are frequently defaulted to jail and more so to homelessness. Under current Kentucky law, the KRS 202A.081 is underutilized, therefore eliminating funding sources that would actually help the sickest access treatment and recover! We believe current law omits the needed framework to provide care to these individuals, who due to the symptoms become either dangerous or incapable of making informed medical decisions concerning their treatment.

These amendments would aid patients who experience repetitive psychotic episodes that cause 'irreversible', cognitive brain damage! The consequences of untreated mental illness are as apparent as they are devastating: homelessness, criminalization, suicide, violence, victimization, lost productivity, permanently decreased medication responses, and the incalculable costs of unnecessary suffering. Due to advances in recent years, treatment is now available that can eliminate or substantially alleviate the symptoms of mental illness for most who suffer from it. With treatment, people with mental illness can reclaim their lives. But first, there must be treatment!

Evidence Based Practices: Describes any treatment or service, that has been shown to be effective such as:

•   Assertive Community Treatment (ACT Teams),Read recent article in the Courier Journal about ACT program in Louisville.
•   Outpatient case management
•   Peer Support Programs
•   Jail Diversion Programs, Mental Health Courts and Re-entry Services
(Individual Placement Support) IPS Supported Employment and Supported Housing
•   Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)


*Anosognosia is impaired or lack awareness of illness — a neurological syndrome is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications. Caused by damage to the brain, it affects approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia and 40% of individuals with bipolar disorder.

Please write to GG Burns at:, to add your name to "change mental health laws in Kentucky" advocacy mailing list  as we keep up with latest updates and monitor the progress of these bills. Thank you for your support. 

Review the HB here, the SB is the same:

click on file to print

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