HB 603 – Inmate Psychotropic Medicine and Healthcare Access (2011-2012)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_603
This bill authorizes a program to improve access to psychotropic drugs for treatment in Ohio’s prisons. It permits issuing certification to licensed psychologists and allowing medical professionals to provide medical and behavioral healthcare to inmates through telecommunication means.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Blessing (R), Rep. Heard (D)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Antonio (D), Rep. Beck (R), Rep. Celeste (D), Rep. Garland (D), Rep. Hackett (R), Rep. J. Adams (R), Rep. M. Slaby (R), Rep. Okey (D), Rep. O’Brien (D), Rep. Pelanda (R), Rep. R. Hagan (D), Rep. Stebelton (R), Rep. Terhar (R), Rep. Yuko (D)
Committee:Health and Aging (H)
Companion Bill:SB 329 – Inmate Health Care (2011-2012)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou129.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0603?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
The government is responsible for the health and safety of inmates while they are incarcerated, and ensuring there is adequate access to necessary medical care is part of that responsibility. However, the ACLU of Ohio is wary of the changes to inmate mental healthcare proposed in HB 603. The primary concern is that inmate mental healthcare could suffer by granting certain psychologists the ability to prescribe psychotropic medicines in jails, although it generally does not fall under their scope of practice. While expanding access may be necessary, with no evidence presented that shows an inability to increase access with presently qualified experts in Ohio, the merits of this bill deserve further scrutiny.