ASSEMBLY, No. 5491

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JUNE 6, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† CLINTON CALABRESE

District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman† DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman† ANTHONY S. VERRELLI

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle, Timberlake and B.DeCroce

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Allows follow up calls from operators of NJ Suicide Hopeline to minors at risk of committing suicide.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

 


An Act concerning the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline, amending P.L.1968, c.230, and supplementing Chapter 9A of Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.1968, c.230 (C.9:17A-4) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1. †a. †(1) †The consent to the provision of medical or surgical care or services or a forensic sexual assault examination by a hospital or public clinic, or consent to the performance of medical or surgical care or services or a forensic sexual assault examination by a health care professional, when executed by a minor who is or believes that he or she may have a sexually transmitted infection, or who is at least 13 years of age and is or believes that he or she may be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or have acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or by a minor who, in the judgment of the treating health care professional, appears to have been sexually assaulted, shall be valid and binding as if the minor had achieved the age of majority. Any such consent shall not be subject to later disaffirmance by reason of minority.† In the case of a minor who appears to have been sexually assaulted, the minor's parents or guardian shall be notified immediately, unless the treating healthcare professional believes that it is in the best interests of the patient not to do so.† Inability of the treating health care professional, hospital, or clinic to locate or notify the parents or guardian shall not preclude the provision of any emergency or medical or surgical care to the minor or the performance of a forensic sexual assault examination on the minor.

†††† (2) As used in this subsection, "health care professional" means a physician, physician assistant, nurse, or other health care professional whose professional practice is regulated pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes.

†††† b.††† When a minor believes that he or she is adversely affected by a substance use disorder involving drugs or is a person with a substance use disorder involving drugs as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2) or is adversely affected by an alcohol use disorder or is a person with an alcohol use disorder as defined in section 2 of P.L.1975, c.305 (C.26:2B-8), the minor's consent to treatment under the supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine, or an individual licensed or certified to provide treatment for an alcohol use disorder, or in a facility licensed by the State to provide for the treatment of an alcohol use disorder, shall be valid and binding as if the minor had achieved the age of majority.† Any such consent shall not be subject to later disaffirmance by reason of minority.† Treatment for an alcohol use disorder or a substance use disorder involving drugs that is consented to by a minor shall be considered confidential information between the physician, the treatment provider, or the treatment facility, as appropriate, and the patient, and neither the minor nor the minor's physician, treatment provider, or treatment facility, as appropriate, shall be required to report such treatment when it is the result of voluntary consent, except as may otherwise be required by law.

†††† When a minor who is [sixteen] 16 years of age or older believes that he or she is in need of behavioral health care services for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders, the minor's consent to temporary outpatient treatment, excluding the use or administration of medication, under the supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine, an advanced practice nurse, or an individual licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist, certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or licensed psychologist, or in an outpatient health care facility licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.), shall be valid and binding as if the minor had achieved the age of majority.

†††† When a minor who is 16 years of age or older believes that he or she is in need of behavioral health care services for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders and places a telephone call to the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline for counseling and support, that minor shall be allowed to consent to receive a follow-up call from the operator of the hopeline who received and responded to the minorís original call without parental consent or authorization in accordance with the provisions of P.L †††, c.††† †(C.†††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and that consent shall be valid and binding as if the minor had achieved the age of majority.

†††† Any such consent shall not be subject to later disaffirmance by reason of minority.† Treatment for behavioral health care services for mental illness or emotional disorders or receiving a follow-up telephone call from an operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline pursuant to the provisions of P.L††† , c.†††† (C.†††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) that is consented to by a minor shall be considered confidential information between the physician, the individual licensed to provide professional counseling, the advanced practice nurse, [or] the health care facility, or the operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline that places a follow-up call, as appropriate, and the [patient] minor, and neither the minor nor the minor's physician, professional counselor, nurse, [or] outpatient health care facility or the operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline, as appropriate, shall be required to report such treatment or telephone call when it is the result of voluntary consent.

†††† The consent of no other person or persons, including but not limited to, a spouse, parent, custodian, or guardian, shall be necessary in order to authorize a minor to receive such hospital services, facility, or clinical care or services, medical or surgical care or services, or counseling services from a physician licensed to practice medicine, an individual licensed or certified to provide treatment for an alcohol use disorder, an advanced practice nurse, or an individual licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, or for the minor to receive a follow-up telephone call from an operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline pursuant to P.L.†††† , c.††† (C.†††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), as appropriate, except that behavioral health care services for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders shall be limited to temporary outpatient services only.

(cf: P.L.2017, c.131, s.7)

 

†††† 2.††† (New section)† An operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline who receives and responds to a telephone call from a minor who is 16 years of age or older for counseling and support and the operator identifies as at a high risk of committing suicide shall place follow-up calls to the minor, as appropriate, without the necessity of obtaining parental consent or authorization pursuant to subsection b. of section 1 of P.L.1968, c.238 (C.9:17A-4).

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill allows operators of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline to place follow-up telephone calls to minors, 16 years of age or older who place calls to the hotline for counseling and support and who are identified as being at a high risk of committing suicide, without having to obtain the consent or authorization of the minorís parent.

†††† Under current guidelines governing suicide hotlines established by the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, operators of such hotlines are prohibited from placing follow-up calls to minors who they identify as being at a high risk of committing suicide without the consent or authorization of the minorís parent.

†††† The bill amends section 1 of P.L.1968, c.230 (C.9:17A-4) to stipulate that when a minor who is 16 years of age or older believes that he or she is in need of behavioral health care services for the treatment of mental illness or emotional disorders and places a call to the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline for counseling and support, the minor would be allowed to consent to receive a follow-up telephone call from the operator of the hotline who received and responded to the minorís original call without parental consent or authorization.† The minorís consent would be valid and binding as if the minor were an adult.

†††† Presently, minors can consent to certain types of temporary, outpatient, behavioral health, and substance use disorder treatment services.† Current law does not allow minors to receive follow-up calls from the operators of suicide hotlines without parental consent.

†††† The bill also amends section 1 of P.L.1968, c.230 (C.9:17A-4) to mandate that the minorís consent for receiving a follow-up telephone call from an operator of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline would be considered confidential information between the operator and minor, and the minor or the operator would not be required to report the call to the minorís parent, if the call was the result of voluntary consent.† The bill amends the law to also stipulate that a minor would not need the consent of anyone to receive a follow-up call from an operator of the hotline.

†††† The New Jersey Suicide Hopeline is a Statewide suicide prevention hotline provided in partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Human Services.† In 2018, the hotline received approximately 15,488 calls from youth under the age of 25.† Research shows there is a significant benefit to follow-up telephone calls from operators of suicide hotlines to youth who are in crisis and at high risk for suicide.† Allowing the operators of the New Jersey Suicide Hopeline to make follow-up calls to minors who are at a high risk to commit suicide would help in the prevention of youth suicide in the State.