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Department of Mental Health Inpatient Study

SECTION 186.   There is hereby established an advisory committee for the purpose of arranging for and evaluating an independent analysis of the public and private behavioral health care services available to the residents of the commonwealth.

The advisory committee shall consist of the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on health care financing, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, or their designees, 1 member of the minority party to be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives, 1 member of the minority party to be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and the secretary of health and human services, the commissioner of mental health, the commissioner of public health, the commissioner of insurance, and the director of Medicaid, or their designees; and 1 representative from each of the following organizations: the Association for Behavioral Healthcare; the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems; the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians; the Massachusetts Hospital Association; the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers; the Massachusetts Medical Society; the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society; the Massachusetts Nurses Association; the Service Employees International Union; AFSCME Council 93; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans; Health Law Advocates; the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts; and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The advisory committee shall be co-chaired by 1 advisory committee senate member designated by the senate president and 1 advisory committee house member designated by the speaker of the house of representatives.

Subject to appropriation and upon the appointment of the co-chairs, the advisory committee shall: (1) convene upon the call of the co-chairs to commission an independent consultant to evaluate and analyze the public and private behavioral health care services available to the residents of the commonwealth. The advisory committee shall advise, direct and consult with the independent consultant on the execution and completion of the analysis. The analysis shall include, but not be limited to, an account of the following: (a) the availability of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care services, including community based supports; (b) the inpatient capacity of acute and continuing care beds at public and private psychiatric facilities, including overall bed availability and bed availability for co-morbid and difficult to place patients, average length of stay and geographic location; (c) the connection between public and private behavioral health care services; (d) the payment and reimbursement of behavioral health care services; (e) the implementation of state and federal mental health parity laws; (f) the prior authorization and adverse determination requirements related to the coverage of behavioral health care services; (g) the boarding of behavioral health patients in hospital emergency departments; (h) the use of direct admissions to inpatient behavioral health care services from a community-based setting; and (i) a review of the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program; and (2) convene upon the call of the co-chairs to: (a) advise and consult with the independent consultant on the completion and implementation of the analysis; and (b) review and make recommendations to the independent consultant on the preliminary findings of the analysis.

Not later than December 28, 2012, the consultant shall provide to the legislature a report containing: (i) an assessment of the state's inpatient services provided through the department of mental health; (ii) an estimate of the appropriate number of inpatient mental health beds given the current number of community placements; and (iii) the anticipated impact of the closure of Taunton State Hospital on the mental health needs of the southeastern region of the commonwealth. Until this report is provided, the department of mental health shall not reduce the number of inpatient beds at Taunton State Hospital. The independent consultant shall report to the general court the preliminary results of its analysis by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives and the clerk of the senate on or before April 30, 2013. The independent consultant shall report to the general court the final results of its analysis by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives and the clerk of the senate on or before November 15, 2013. The advisory committee shall file its recommendations based on the final report of the independent consultant with the clerk of the house of representatives and the clerk of the senate on or before December 31, 2013.
 

Veto Explanation:
I am vetoing this section consistent with my veto in item 5095-0015 of section 2, while recommending an alternative study by the Department of Mental Health in my supplemental budget proposal.