Wheeler Legislation to Improve Mental Health Reporting and FOID Renewal Process Passes House

Last fall, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) began to work with the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to address a reporting issue linked to mental health concerns and gun violence. A review of required reporting showed a number of hospitals were failing to report certain mental health admissions to keep guns away from potentially dangerous individuals. House Bill 4855, which passed the House today, addresses this reporting problem by clearly defining when a hospital needs to report a mental health admission.

“As I have said before, even though we already have rules in place to keep firearms out of the hands of someone suffering from a potentially dangerous mental health problem, if those rules are not being followed, it means nothing,” said Wheeler. “However, if those rules lack clarity, the fault is with the rules and we need to correct them.”

The recently formed Public Safety Task Force pointed out the statistical reality that two-thirds of gun deaths are attributed to suicide. This is one of the reasons Illinois law already requires hospitals to report certain mental health admissions to ensure that people at risk of harming themselves or others will not have access to firearms. The lack of clarity in the reporting process occurred because current state statute ambiguously defines what constitutes a “patient” receiving mental health treatment and under what circumstances it needs to be reported. This led many hospitals and medical facilities to underreport required admissions to DHS and ISP.

“Hospitals and medical facilities have a responsibility to not only provide care to patients, but also ensure their rights are protected,” said Wheeler. “Through House Bill 4855, we are not only providing clarity to our hospitals about when they need to report an admission for safety concerns, but also ensure the right to privacy is protected. In addition, we worked closely with ISP, DHS and ISRA to ensure an individual’s right to their FOID card is not infringed, which is another critical component of this bill.”

As part of the agreement for this legislation, the Illinois Hospital Association has committed to improved staff training at Illinois’ hospitals to ensure the law is being properly followed and patient rights are being respected.

For more information, Click Here.

No comments :