Sunday, September 21, 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

    Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Davis Community Meals needs cooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Send kids to camp!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Wise words

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Awareness is key to this fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Where is this going?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

    We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

     
    Options for protection come with flu season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

     
    Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Archer will get my vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Mike Keefe cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Building something at schools’ HQ

    By Our View | From Page: A10

    Don’t sell city greenbelt

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino project is flawed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Maybe David can beat Goliath again

    By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

     
    Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    ‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

    Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    .

    Business

    UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Styles on target for November debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

    MBI hires VP of marketing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8