Mass. General Laws c.6A § 16P

Coordination of clinically-appropriate behavioral health services for children; monthly report

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Section 16P

(a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Adult”, an individual who is older than 22 years of age.

“Awaiting residential disposition”, waiting not less than 72 hours to be moved from an acute level of psychiatric care to a less intensive or less restrictive, clinically-appropriate level of psychiatric care.

“Boarding”, waiting not less than 12 hours to be placed in an appropriate therapeutic setting after: (i) being assessed; (ii) being determined in need of acute psychiatric treatment, crisis stabilization unit placement, community-based acute treatment, intensive community-based acute treatment, continuing care unit placement or post-hospitalization residential placement; and (iii) receiving a determination from a licensed health care provider of medical stability without the need for urgent medical assessment or hospitalization for a physical condition.

“Children and adolescents”, individuals who are 22 years of age or less.

(b)(1)  The secretary of health and human services shall facilitate the coordination of services for children and adolescents awaiting clinically-appropriate behavioral health services by developing and maintaining a confidential and secure online portal that enables health care providers, health care facilities, payors and relevant state agencies to access real-time data on children and adolescents who are boarding, awaiting residential disposition or in the care or custody of a state agency and are awaiting discharge to an appropriate foster home or a congregate or group care program. The online portal and information contained in the online portal shall not be a public record under clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 or under chapter 66.

(2)  The online portal shall include, but not be limited to, the following data: (i) the total number of children and adolescents boarding, including a breakdown, by location, of where the children and adolescents are boarding, which shall include, but not be limited to, hospital emergency rooms, emergency services sites and medical floors after having received medical stabilization treatment or their homes; (ii) the total number of children and adolescents awaiting residential disposition, including a breakdown, by facility type, of where children and adolescents are awaiting residential disposition and the level of care or type of placement sought; and (iii) the total number of children and adolescents in the care or custody of a state agency who are hospitalized and have waited not less than 72 hours for discharge to an appropriate foster home or a congregate or group care program after having been determined to no longer need hospital-level care.

(3)  For each category of data included pursuant to paragraph (2), the online portal shall include: (i) the average wait time for discharge to the appropriate level of care or placement; (ii) the level of care required as determined by a licensed health care provider; (iii) the primary behavioral health diagnosis and any co-morbidities relevant for the purposes of placement; (iv) the primary reason for boarding, awaiting residential disposition or, for children and adolescents in the care or custody of a state agency, for having waited not less than 72 hours for discharge to an appropriate foster home or a congregate or group care program after an assessment that hospital-level care is no longer necessary; (v) whether the children and adolescents are in the care or custody of the department of children and families or the department of youth services or are eligible for services from the department of mental health or the department of developmental services; (vi) data on the insurance coverage type for the children and adolescents; and (vii) data on the ages, race, ethnicity, preferred spoken languages and gender of the children and adolescents.

(4)  The online portal shall include information on the specific availability of pediatric acute psychiatric beds, crisis stabilization unit beds, community-based acute treatment beds, intensive community-based acute treatment beds, continuing care beds and post-hospitalization residential beds. The online portal shall also enable a real-time bed search within a specified geographic region that shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the total number of beds licensed by the department of mental health, the department of public health and the department of early education and care; (ii) the total number of available beds, broken down by location, licensing authority, age ranges and the distance, in miles, from where a child or adolescent currently resides and is boarding; (iii) the average daily bed availability, broken down by licensing authority and age ranges; (iv) daily bed admissions, broken down by licensing authority and age ranges; (v) the facility or location in which a child or adolescent was admitted; (vi) daily bed discharges, broken down by licensing authority and age ranges; and (vii) the average length of stay in a bed, broken down by licensing authority and age ranges.

(5)  Quarterly, not later than 14 days after the end of the preceding quarter, the secretary shall report on the status of children and adolescents who are boarding, awaiting residential disposition or in the care or custody of a state agency and awaiting discharge to an appropriate foster home or a congregate or group care program. The report shall include a summary and assessment of the data published on the online portal pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (4) for the immediately preceding quarter and may include a summary and assessment of the data over several quarters; provided, however, that the report shall present the data in an aggregate and de-identified form. The report shall be submitted to the children’s behavioral health advisory council, established in section 16Q, the office of the child advocate, the health policy commission, the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on health care financing, the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery and the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities.

(c)  The secretary of health and human services shall facilitate psychiatric and substance use disorder inpatient admissions for adults seeking to be admitted from an emergency department or hospital medical floor by developing and maintaining a confidential and secure online portal that enables health care providers, health care facilities and payors to conduct a real-time bed search for patient placement. The online portal shall provide real-time information on the specific availability of all licensed psychiatric and substance use disorder inpatient beds that shall include, but not be limited to: (i) location; (ii) care specialty; and (iii) insurance requirements. The online portal and information contained in the online portal shall not be a public record under clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 or under chapter 66.

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Last updated: August 10, 2022
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