COLUMBUS — State Senator Dave Burke today introduced Senate Bill 43, which seeks to clarify Ohio’s existing laws regarding court-ordered outpatient treatment for mental illness. Burke sponsored the legislation with Senator Charleta Tavares (D- Columbus).

Under current law, Ohio judges are empowered to use the civil commitment code to find the least restrictive alternative for individuals who meet the criteria for court-ordered treatment. Unfortunately, that criteria states that a court order is issued when the person would benefit from treatment in a “hospital.” While many judges understand that they are able to order outpatient treatment, the conflicting language means that this option is not always exercised. 

“Ohio’s existing law in this matter is unfortunately confusing, and results in individuals being treated in hospitals and other settings at an increased cost,” Burke said. “This bill is meant to help individuals with persistent and severe mental illness receive treatment in the least restrictive setting possible.

In addition, the bill codifies the state-approved affidavit form so that in the event there is cause to believe an individual is in need of court-ordered treatment, family members can more easily locate the form and file it with the appropriate Probate Court.

Senate Bill 43 will now be assigned to a Senate committee for further discussion.

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