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5CA1FD3EE066C9FD87258743005869FF Hearing Summary


Date Sep 1, 2021      
Location HCR 0112

Operation and Effectiveness of Mental Health Holds - Committee Discussion Only

10:05:46 AM  

Laura Ferguson, 27-65 Manager, Office of Behavioral Health, Department of Human Services, made a presentation about the mental health hold process. She provided a handout to the committee (Attachment C). She outlined the mental health hold process, which involves initial custody, evaluation, and further treatment. Ms. Ferguson explained the certification process. She responded to questions about the effectiveness of mental health holds and the availability of placements for mental health services.

10:13:59 AM  

Lauren Snyder, State Policy Director, Mental Health Colorado, presented on peoples lived experience with 72-hour mental health holds. She provided a handout to the committee (Attachment D).

10:23:19 AM  

Sabah Muhammad, Legislative and Policy Counsel, Treatment Advocacy Center, presented to the committee on mental health holds.  She provided the committee with a handout (Attachment E) and a Washington Post opinion article, which can be accessed here: She referenced the grading of the states documents that her organization has developed. She reviewed elements of Colorado's process and laws related to mental health holds. Ms. Muhammad discussed that Colorado does not have citizen access to the courts and the need to sufficiently detail the procedures to guide practitioners for assisted outpatient treatment. She further discussed limitation in Colorado law to assisted outpatient treatment.

10:34:27 AM  

Ms. Muhammad continued to discuss the issues people with severe mental illness face and how medical issues become criminal issues. She discussed the assistance to legislators that the Treatment Advocacy Center can provide to address matters concerning the severally mentally ill.

10:40:31 AM  

Dr. David Iverson, Director of Psychiatry, Colorado Coalition of the Homeless, and Chair of the Task Force Concerning the Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems (MHDCJS Task Force), presented on the criminalization of mental illness. He referenced a Frontline documentary that can be found here: Dr. Iverson discussed how the continuum of care has disappeared. He discussed the lack of civil beds for people with serious mental illness and the effects of deinstitutionalization.  Dr. Iverson discussed mental health holds, diversion programs, and the importance of peer support.

11:01:21 AM  

The panelists responded to questions about mental health holds and the impacts of various payment methods on the length of mental health holds. The panelists discussed the need for additional data on mental health holds, especially why mental health holds are terminated. Dr. Iverson discussed how discharge plans are addressed for someone who was admitted for a mental health hold.

11:14:30 AM  

The panelists continued to respond to questions about discharge plans and the requirements and oversight of those plans. Ms. Snyder referenced changes related to emergency departments that were made by Senate Bill 17-207.

11:30:01 AM  
The panelists responded to questions about mental health holds and involuntary versus voluntary treatment. The panelists discussed potential changes may be needed to the mental health hold process and laws. Dr. Iverson discussed involuntary medication restrictions and ending certification for treatment.
11:39:53 AM  
Ms. Muhammad provided additional comments about assaults on professionals. She discussed the issues that can occur when police are the first responders to mental health crisis.
11:44:38 AM  
The committee recessed.