Friday, December 14, 2007

More money always helps ... but isn't tied to commitment laws

An expert from Utah told the Washington Post that improving their involuntary commitment standard did NOT result in skyrocketing costs.

Some experts believe changing the imminent-danger standard could be costly if it results in more people being hospitalized and treated. But states that have abandoned the standard have not seen a substantial rise in costs, officials said ... Utah changed its law in 2003 to remove the "immediate" criterion and allow judges to consider a person's mental history. There was an initial increase in people being ordered to treatment, said Jed Erickson, an associate director of Valley Mental Health in Salt Lake City, but that dropped off. Erickson said the publicity concerning the law's change increased awareness of the issue but didn't affect the mental health system itself.