House approves teen mental health custody bill

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by Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 4:24 PM

BOISE -- A House committee has approved a bill giving Idaho physicians and nurse practitioners the authority to place juveniles who pose a threat to themselves or others into temporary custody.

The bill approved by the House Health and Welfare Committee Thursday is an effort to get mentally ill teens out of hospital emergency rooms and into appropriate care more quickly.

Idaho Medical Association lobbyist Ken McClure says the bill is modeled after existing law giving doctors authority to hold severely mentally ill or dangerous adults for up to 24 hours. Now, doctors treating juveniles admitted to hospital emergency rooms must confer with police before teens are put into custody.

Opponents like Republican Rep. Brandon Hixon of Nampa argued for adding a parental consent requirement before transporting teens to care centers.

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