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MAPA Update & Action Alert: TIME SENSITIVE 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
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We Need Your Help!
We urgently need PAs to contact the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse; e-mail or call in and encourage them to report H. 3205/S.1085 out favorably.

The legislation which MAPA filed this legislative session, H.3205 and S.1085, An Act enabling physician assistants to authorize psychiatric and substance abuse holds, which would allow PAs to sign for Section 12 and Section 35 Holds, must be moved out of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse by the February 7th deadline! If action is not taken before this deadline, our bills will not move forward this session.

Background: 
Mass General Laws, Sections 12 and 35 of Ch. 123, permit the civil commitment of persons posing a risk of serious harm by reason of mental illness or chemical dependency. Under current law, a PA who believes that a patient requires hospitalization by reason of mental illness or chemical dependence must solicit the support of a qualifying medical provider to authorize an emergency hold or petition the courts. Physician Assistants are currently not listed as authorized medical providers to can authorize a civil commitment of a client in an emergency setting. These bills would rectify that oversight.

Current Action Steps:
We would like the Committee to hear from YOU, PAs practicing in the field, as to why the proposed legislative change is important to you.

We are asking you to CONTACT the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse via phone or by e-mail.  We want to make it as easy and fast for you as possible – see below template for your communication. This must be done ASAP as February 7th is approaching fast!

By PHONE: (617) 722-2060
By EMAIL: Chairwoman Denise Garlick: Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov
Chairwoman Cindy Friedman: Cindy.Friedman@masenate.gov
Cc: Robert.Reed@mahouse.gov (Committee staff)

What to Say:
“I am a (practicing PA, etc.) in the Commonwealth and am calling you in support of S.1085/H.3205, which is currently before the Mental Health Committee.  This legislation is very important to me because ________ (i.e., I must wait for a physician or someone else to sign paperwork, thus delaying patient access to care, etc.).

I would ask that the Committee report this bill out favorably as soon as possible, ahead of the Joint Rule 10 deadline of February 7th, 2018.”

In addition, feel free to reach out to Sarah Christie (sarahc.mapa@gmail.com), MAPA Past-President, or to Charlotte Boghossian (cboghossian@charlesgroupconsulting.com), a MAPA government affairs consultant, if you need guidance.

As always, thank you!

Your advocacy will help ensure that PAs are able to practice at the top of their license and that patients receive the quality care that they deserve.

Download Fact Sheet