Wednesday, November 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Three Yolo County residents receiving treatment under Laura’s Law

By
From page A1 | January 30, 2014 |

Back in June, when the Yolo County Board of Supervisors approved a pilot project implementing “Laura’s Law,” Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis noted the “awesome authority” inherent when a court can order involuntary treatment for individuals with serious mental illness.

“We have to tread very carefully,” Provenza said at the time.

Indeed, even though Laura’s Law had been on the books for a decade, only one county in California — Nevada County — had fully implemented the measure.

Approved by the state Legislature in 2003, Laura’s Law was named after a Nevada County woman who was murdered during a killing spree by a man with a long history of mental illness who had resisted treatment.

The law allows courts to order involuntary outpatient treatment — also known as assisted outpatient treatment — for individuals with a serious mental illness, a recent history of hospitalization or violent behavior, as well as non-compliance with a voluntary treatment plan indicating a likelihood of becoming dangerous to themselves or others.

The law was authored by then-Assemblywoman Helen Thomson of Davis, who was among those urging Yolo County supervisors last year to implement the law locally.

Supervisors unanimously did so in June, creating a one-year pilot project with four available slots for assisted outpatient treatment.

But in approving the project, Provenza requested that the county mental health department return to the board with updates.

“We have to make sure we do this correctly,” he said in June.

The county’s acting mental health director, Mark Bryant, provided just such an update on Tuesday.

Bryant said the first day the pilot project rolled out, his department received its first referral.

He briefly worried the floodgates had been opened.

“But it’s been slower since then,” Bryant said.

Still, three of the four available slots are filled and Bryant made a fifth spot available if need be.

The law spells out exactly who can refer individuals for involuntary outpatient treatment, namely: the person’s spouse, parent, sibling, adult child or roommate; or a treating doctor or peace officer. Referrals are made to the county mental health director — currently Bryant — who then investigates and chooses whether to file a petition with the court for assisted outpatient treatment.

In Nevada County, referrals rarely even made it to court.

Nevada County’s program director, Carol Stanchfield, told Yolo County supervisors last year that merely making contact with referred individuals often got them into treatment voluntarily.

Bryant told supervisors on Tuesday that that has been the case locally. Two of the three individuals are participating in treatment voluntarily and the third person, referred just a few weeks ago, is still in the initial engagement process.

“At this point there has not been a need to seek judicial intervention,” Bryant said. “That may become necessary, but at this point the goal is to engage patients and have them accept voluntary treatment.”

Two other individuals also were referred under the law, Bryant said, but neither were deemed eligible for involuntary outpatient treatment.

Bryant’s first-hand knowledge of each of the cases pleased Supervisor Matt Rexroad of Woodland, who said, “The fact that you know individual attributes of each of these people tells me we’re doing this the right way … (with) individual determinations for each of these people and not just (sliding) them into categories.”

Whether Yolo County eventually will need more than the five slots available is unclear, Bryant said, but he will return to the board for additional funding if needed.

And funding is less of an issue under Laura’s Law than it has been in the past. Under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, assisted outpatient treatment now can be paid for through the state’s Mental Health Services Act.

However, Nevada County’s experience indicated assisted outpatient treatment can be cheaper than the alternative anyway.

According to the Nevada County Grand Jury, 17 individuals entered that county’s assisted outpatient treatment program for an extended period of time between April 2008 and December 2010. The total cost to the county for their treatment during that time was $482,443.

But in the one year preceding their entry into treatment, those 17 individuals had incurred a combined $425,100 in hospitalizations and incarcerations, the grand jury said. Had they not spent that time in assisted outpatient treatment, the projected cost of hospitalizations and incarcerations over that 2 1/2-year period would have topped $1 million, the grand jury reported.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Food fight … in a good way

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fremont Weir parking lot remains closed

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

    Happy Thanksgiving from The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Free bike clinic, ride set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Year-end films to see, or not, on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    LCI marks 50 years with special service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Speaker proposes changes in humanities doctorate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Senior Center hosts holiday sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sutter sponsors qigong for holiday de-stress

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn to use Skype at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Girls who volunteer may apply for grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis Community Gift Project brightens holidays for children

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Boy Scouts start Christmas tree sales on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Volunteers needed to grow plants for habitat restoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Rainbow City community meeting set Dec. 1

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    She wants more from him

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Planting love at new home

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Innovation parks comparison

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Musings in the wake of Ferguson decision

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Let’s not lose another good DHS coach

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils prepare for a new season on the mat

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    No excuses, but there’s hope for UCD after 2-9 season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Joseph, Manzanares lead 10 All-Big Sky Aggie picks

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS wrestling is not just for boys

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Little League offers early sign-up discounts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Kings get past Pelicans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    Salute to non-steamed broccoli

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    It really is ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Elzyne Thompson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Death notice: Buddy Ralph Mills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Ready, Set, Shop!

    Shop locally: You can have your pie and eat it too

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS1

    Santa’s little helper: secrets to happy holiday shopping

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: RSS2

    Make sure it gets there: deadlines for shopping and shipping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS2

    Downtown lights up at holiday open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS3

    Full of warm wishes and over-sharing, the holiday card lives on

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS4

    Shop smart: Protect your wallet and your identity this shopping season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5

    Woodland celebrates the holidays downtown

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5