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Ortitay introduces bill to clarify law on mental health treatment for minors

Observer-Reporter - 3/8/2018

State Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-South Fayette, introduced legislation to more clearly enforce current law on who provides consent in order for a minor to receive mental health treatment.

"Although a law was passed in 2004, confusion remains about the rights of parents and minors surrounding mental health treatment," Ortitay said. "Despite the fact that current law allows parents to consent to a minor child receiving mental health treatment, some providers are allowing the minor child to be the only one to allow for consent or not. This circumvents the law and may prevent minors from obtaining appropriate treatment."

House Bill 2126, also known as "Gabby's Law," would require the Department of Human Services to enforce the law that allows the parent, legal guardian or child to consent. If a professional fails to follow the law, the professional would face a fine, which would increase for each violation. The fine would start at $1,000 for a first violation, $2,500 for a second violation and $5,000 for a third violation.

This issue was brought to Ortitay's attention two years ago by a constituent, the mother of the daughter of the namesake of the bill. She could not get the help her daughter needed because of confusion surrounding the guidance provided by Department of Health.

The bill will be assigned to the Human Services Committee.


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