Lawmakers propose bill to bring back psychiatric boarding

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — State lawmakers are proposing a bill to allow warehousing of mentally ill patients in hospitals and other facilities when no proper psychiatric beds are available for them.

The Seattle Times reports the bill — Senate Bill 5644 — is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday in the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee.

Senators Steve O'Ban, Bruce Dammeier and Jeanne Darnielle, two Republicans and a Democrat, want to bring back psychiatric boarding despite a state Supreme Court ruling against the practice. They say the proposal would make sure dangerous psychiatric patients aren't being set free when no psychiatric beds are available for them.

The bill says neither the state's interest in timely or appropriate treatment nor its interest in public health and safety are met by an inflexible ban on detention.

Lawmakers are also proposing a bill — Joel's Law or House Bill 1258 — that would increase psychiatric detentions.


Information from: The Seattle Times,

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