News Headlines Article

Emergency room doctors need more flexibility
Sacramento Bee

It’s a fearful thing to have to go to the emergency room. Unfortunately, when those in a mental health crisis are brought in from the street, there are appalling delays in receiving proper treatment, much to the frustration of ER doctors.

That’s due to a long-obsolete state law that ties the hands of these highly trained physicians, creating a situation that is unfair to all patients in the ER. I’m referring to “5150” holds, named after the section of state law that authorizes an involuntary 72-hour detention for those who are believed to need mental health services to prevent harm to themselves or to others.  While the intent of that law is public safety, the reality is that these involuntary holds keep many people with behavioral health conditions from getting timely treatment.