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Monday, June 8, 2015

Governor Vetoes Two Mental Health Bills

The day after Texas lawmakers went home, Gov. Greg Abbott pulled out his veto pen and dispatched a pair of TMA-supported mental health bills. Senate Bill 359 would have allowed a four-hour emergency department hold for a mentally ill patient the physician believes is a danger to self or others. “TMA is extremely disappointed in Governor Abbott for vetoing a bill that would have saved lives, provided short-term help for people with mental illness, and actually would have kept some of them out of forced imprisonment,” TMA President Tom Garcia, MD, told the media. “The governor should have reached out to physicians and other medical personnel who provide care in the real world of our emergency rooms before vetoing this legislation.” The governor also vetoed House Bill 225, which would have protected from prosecution people who seek emergency care for someone suffering a drug overdose. It also would have allowed first responders to administer an opioid antagonist to save someone from a potentially fatal overdose. Senate Bill 1462, which is still awaiting the governor’s action, also contains the opioid antagonist language.

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