New Law Will Screen Patients For Suicide Risk Before Release

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Hospitals in Oregon will no longer be able to release patients who come into the emergency room in mental health crisis without first taking steps to prevent suicide and find treatment.

The Daily Astorian reports a new state law going into effect this fall requires hospitals that admit patients for mental health treatment to have a protocol at discharge to assess suicide risk, the capacity for self-care and the need for outpatient treatment, along with a transition plan and a timetable for follow-up appointments.

Hospital administrators had argued that doctors and nurses were not equipped to counsel the mentally ill on top of the stressful, around-the-clock demands of an emergency room. But state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, says officials aren’t buying that. Keny-Guyer says officials want every patient to get the care they needed.

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