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Senate passes Jonathan's Law

"The current mental health care system is unsafe and must be changed immediately," said Michael Carey. "Many of the developmentally disabled cannot speak or defend themselves. The parents and legal guardians are the voice and advocate for their own children. Access to important information regarding their children's care is crucial for the safety of their children. Jonathan's Law is about access to these needed records."

State Assemblyman Tim Gordon, I-Bethlehem, announced today that the Assembly is expected to adopt the law on Monday.

Jonathan's Law (S.3105-A) does the following:

- ensures that parents or guardians have access to records concerning alleged abuse or investigations of abuse when it concerns their children. Upon written request, records must be released within 21 days of the conclusion of an investigation;

- mandates telephone notification to the parent or guardian of a patient when an incident occurs involving that patient, and upon request, a written incident report must be provided to the parent or guardian;

- directs the Commission on Quality Care (CQC) and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD) to prepare and disseminate a pamphlet on the right to access records relating to patient care and treatment;

- requires the CQC to notify the parents or guardians when there is credible evidence of alleged abuse or mistreatment; and

- establishes a task force on mental hygiene records to study and make recommendations on additional legislation regarding access to patient records and reports.

Read updates in next week's issue of Spotlight Newspapers, on newstands on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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