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Children restraint procedures

Published (4/25/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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A bill that would lay out guidelines to mental health providers on restraint procedures for children in day treatment facilities awaits gubernatorial action.

Sponsored by Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Mpls), HF3377/SF3049* would require each agency to have a plan for when restrictive procedures and seclusion might be used on children, and under what conditions procedures would be used, including the use of mechanical restraints.

Amended and passed 120-12 by the House April 17, the Senate concurred on a 61-1 vote April 21.

The bill also specifies the need for oversight by a treatment center mental health professional when restraining measures are used. Parental consent would be requested at the time of program enrollment for the use of restrictive measures, and immediate notification of a parent would be required if a procedure is used.

Unlike day treatment programs that are not covered by certain rules, the use of restraint in both inpatient hospital programs and residential treatment facilities is strictly regulated, Glenace Edwall, director of the Department of Human Services Children’s Mental Health Division, told a House committee.

A successfully offered amendment from Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Mpls) would create a working group to develop recommendations on how to meet the acute mental health needs of children and adults and to reduce the number of unnecessary patient days in acute care facilities.

“A greater focus on front end services and post-hospital recovery programs can offer more appropriate care to people with mental health challenges as well as reduce the demands on our scarce hospital beds,” she said.

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo Township) would allow the human services commissioner to annually collect certain data from substance abuse treatment providers that receive appropriations from the Consolidated Chemical Dependency Treatment Fund. The data would include the number of client readmissions six months after release from inpatient treatment and the cost of treatment per person.

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