May. 14, 2019

HARRISBURG — The House Human Services Committee today reported out legislation authored by Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) to more clearly define current law on who can provide consent in order for a minor to receive mental health treatment.

“The Department of Human Services had promised it would offer guidance on parents’ consent rights for mental health treatment for their teenage children,” Ortitay said. “It has been very slow to act and only recently provided information to school districts. Current law allows parents to consent to a minor child receiving mental health treatment; however, some providers are allowing the minor child to be the only one to provide this consent. Children under 18 are still minors, and many times aren’t mature enough to fully understand their needs.”

House Bill 672 would clearly define that a parent or guardian has the right to consent to inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment on behalf of a minor less than 18 without a minor’s consent. The bill also would continue the provision of Act 147 of 2004 that allows minors 14 and older to consent to treatment without the consent of their parent or guardian. As amended in committee, a minor placed in mental health treatment would be advised of his or her right to appeal and if a parent sought inpatient treatment, a professional review of the necessity would be performed.

“Last session, I authored similar legislation (Act 47 of 2018) that dealt with parental involvement in substance abuse cases,” said Rep. Marcia Hahn (R-Northampton). “As I said when my bill became law, I firmly believe parents and guardians should have the final say in treatment decisions that involve minor children in their care, which is why I feel House Bill 672 is so important.”

“I am so pleased to see this important piece of legislation move forward,” said Rep. Pam Snyder (D- Greene/Fayette/Washington). “Representatives Ortitay, Hahn and I have worked on this issue for the past five years, and hopefully, we can get it to the finish line. It is so important for the health and welfare of our teens.”

This issue was brought to Ortitay’s attention three years ago by a constituent. She could not get the help her daughter needed because of confusion surrounding the guidance provided by the department.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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