HARRISBURG — The House today passed 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.
“Parents are legally responsible for their children until the age of 18,” Ortitay said. “While young people in their teens are learning independence, they are not mature enough to fully understand their needs. Parents should retain the right to get them help even when they refuse. Current law allows parents to consent to a minor child receiving mental health treatment; however, some providers are allowing only the minor child to provide this consent. This was never the intent of the law, and it needs delineated.”
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. A parent cannot overturn another parent’s consent on the minor’s behalf, but if one of the parents with legal custody rights objects to inpatient treatment sought by the other parent, a court petition can be filed and hearing held within 72 hours. In addition, a minor placed in mental health treatment would be advised of his or her right to appeal. When inpatient treatment is sought a professional review of the necessity would be performed. 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. The parent would not be able to revoke consent to treatment given by the minor.
Under the bill, a minor would be discharged from inpatient treatment in one of three ways. They are:
• An attending physician determines the minor is no longer in need of treatment.
• Consent to treatment is revoked by the parent and the minor agrees to be discharged.
• A court ordered period of up to 20 days has expired, and the attending physician does not believe additional treatment is needed.
The bill now goes to the Senate 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