CHA News

Counties May Delay Expansion of Involuntary Holds

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A new law that could impact hospital emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric capacity can be delayed until 2026 if county boards of supervisors across California adopt a resolution within the next few months.  

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom signed SB 43 (Eggman, D-Stockton) into law, expanding the definition of “gravely disabled” for purposes of placing a person on an involuntary psychiatric hold or a conservatorship.  

Unless each county adopts a resolution within the next two months to defer its implementation, starting Jan. 1, 2024, the expanded definition of “gravely disabled” will include individuals with a severe substance use disorder (or a co-occurring mental health disorder and a severe substance use disorder) and individuals who, due to a mental health or severe substance use disorder, are unable to provide for their personal safety or necessary medical care.  

This means that any peace officer or county-designated professional could place a broader group of individuals on an involuntary hold and transport them to a facility for assessment, evaluation, and treatment.  

Counties that choose to delay the implementation of SB 43 could use the additional time to work with local hospitals, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to develop needed policies, procedures, memoranda of understanding, training, and treatment capacity. Hospitals and County Behavioral Health Administrators will need to coordinate with their c county board of supervisors to act by mid-December 2023 to effectuate a delay.  

In the coming months, CHA will host a webinar for members that provides guidance and key considerations for SB 43 implementation. 

Contact Kirsten Barlow, vice president, policy, with any questions.