RD459 - Joint Commission on Health Care Review of the Minor Consent Requirement for Voluntary Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment, Senate Bill 184 (Senator McWaters) and House Bill 1097 (Delegate LeMunyon)

  • Published: 2014
  • Author: Joint Commission on Health Care
  • Enabling Authority: Letter Request from the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice

Executive Summary:
During the 2014 General Assembly Session, Senate Bill 184 and House Bill 1097 were introduced to amend the minor consent requirement for inpatient psychiatric treatment. SB 184 and HB 1097 took different approaches but both would eliminate the requirement to receive the consent of a minor who is 14 years of age or older for inpatient psychiatric treatment on a voluntary basis.

The Code of Virginia addresses, in §§ 16.1-338 and 16.1-339, the criteria for voluntary admission of minors for inpatient psychiatric treatment. Under current statutory provisions, only parental consent is required to admit a minor younger than 14 years of age to a “willing mental health facility for inpatient treatment.” However, minors 14 years of age or older must consent to inpatient psychiatric treatment for a voluntary admission to move forward. (*1) SB 184 would remove the “provisions of the Code requiring the consent of a minor 14 years of age or older prior to admission to a mental health facility for inpatient treatment. The bill allows for admission of a minor of any age upon application and with the consent of a parent. After admission, if a minor 14 years of age or older objects to inpatient treatment, his admission shall be reviewed by a juvenile and domestic relations district court judge, and counsel and a guardian ad litem shall be appointed for the minor.” (*2) HB 1097 would eliminate “the requirement that a minor who is 14 years of age or older consent to psychiatric treatment” without providing a review process for considering objections on the part of the minor. (*3)

SB 184 was passed by indefinitely by the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice with a letter from the Clerk of the Senate referring the bill’s subject matter to the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) for review. HB 1097 was left in the House Committee on Courts of Justice and referred to JCHC by letter of the Committee Chair for review.
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(*1) Code of Virginia § 16.1-338.A.
(*2) Virginia’s Legislative Information System, Senate Bill 184: Summary as Introduced at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=141&typ=bil&val=sb184.
(*3) Virginia’s Legislative Information System, House Bill 1097: Summary as Introduced at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=141&typ=bil&val=hb1097.