Action Alert: Individuals living with chronic mental illness need your help!
Please take a few minutes to call and email members of the House Health and Human Services committee (contact information below) to urge them in supporting SB1716 that will be heard in an HHS Hearing this coming Monday, 3/22.
SB 1716 is a short, simple bill to help the AZ State Hospital (ASH) provide (a) better care for the sickest mentally ill individuals in Arizona, and (b) more transparency to the public and legislature for how care is provided at the hospital.
ASH will no longer be able to limit the number of patients who can be admitted based on the county where the patient lives. Currently, only 55 patients form Maricopa County can be at ASH. — even when there are empty beds:
- ASH offers the highest level of psychiatric care. Admission should be based on clinical need, like dangerousness to self and others and beds used for the sickest psychiatric patients statewide.
- Nobody should be excluded from treatment because of their zip code.
Reforms the existing ASH Governing Body (Governing Body) to operate like a private board and without conflicts of interest:
- Majority of members will NO LONGER be employees of the Department of Health Services, which oversees ASH.
- Requires that the Chair of the Independent Oversight Committee (IOC) be invited to Board meetings and provide quarterly reports about human rights violations with patients.
- Improves transparency — requires Governing Body file annual reports with the Legislature that describe the treatment provides and what is working.
Patient safety improvement:
- ASH has an outmoded video surveillance system that puts patient safety at risk. Need a better surveillance system. The bill requires ASH to maintain a surveillance system with video and audio and appropriates $500,000 to do so.
A better run State Hospital protects public safety and health by getting treatment to our most mentally ill patients ad holding the hospital accountable.
Sample of suggested email and/or talking points for phone call. Please tailor your own message using one or more of the following sentences:
Dear Representative _______,
I ask that you support SB 1716. We need to improve our State Hospital and protect the public.
All beds available there should be open to the sickest people in Arizona.
We need better accountability at the hospital because of the dangerousness of the people treated there.
House of Representatives, Health and Human Services Committee members contact information:
Joanne Osborne, Chairman JOsborne@azleg.gov (602) 926-3181
Regina E. Cobb, Vice-Chairman RCobb@azleg.gov (602) 926-3126
Kelli Butler KButler@azleg.gov (602) 926-5156
Joseph Chaplik JChaplik@azleg.gov (602) 926-3436
Randall Friese RFriese@azleg.gov (602) 926-3138
Alma Hernandez AHernandez@azleg.gov (602) 926-3136
Jacqueline Parker JParker@azleg.gov (602) 926-3375
Amish Shah AShah@azleg.gov (602) 926-3280
Justin Wilmeth JWilmeth@azleg.gov (602) 926-5044
Again, SB1716 is slated to be heard in the House HHS Committee on Monday, 3/22.
Please contact the HHS members by 10 am Monday morning.
Or call the Governor’s office at 1-602-542-4331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your partnership in helping the chronically mentally ill and their families in our state is so appreciated, thank you!