Senate OKs Miller bill expanding support following overdose, mental health ER visits
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today voted 34-2 to approve legislation sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller to expand the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act on hospital discharge planning.
The legislation (2019-S 0139), which now goes to the House of Representatives, would amend the Rhode Island statute consistent with new federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidance by allowing hospitals to contact the patient’s emergency contact and certified peer recovery specialist in certain situations.
The change will improve support for those hospitalized for drug overdoses and mental health emergencies by increasing the likelihood that their families or others wishing to assist them with treatment are aware of their hospitalization.
“Engaging patients’ personal support networks is critical to helping them recover and to ending the cycle of relapse and re-hospitalization. The federal government has recognized that patients with addiction or mental health issues may be unwilling or unable to consent to contact with their emergency contact or recovery coach. Amending state law to allow hospitals to make those calls will help provide better treatment and connect patients to support when they are discharged,” said Senator Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).
The bill amends the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act, which was sponsored by Chairman Miller in 2016 to help ensure that patients treated at hospitals, clinics and urgent-care facilities for substance-use or mental health disorders receive the appropriate care, intervention by recovery coaches and follow-up care they need to address their addiction. It required comprehensive discharge planning for patients treated for substance use disorders and mental health issues and required insurers to cover medication-assisted addiction treatment including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. The bill is named for two individuals who died of overdoses during its development, and whose circumstances shaped it.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903