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We helped STOP HB 3524 and HB 2995: Defend Privacy of Oregonians with Psychiatric Diagnoses!

HB 3524, if it had passed the 2007 Oregon legislative session, would have allowed Oregon police to create a database of certain Oregonians with psychiatric labels. HB 2995 would have allowed private mental health care information to be disclosed by health care practitioners without permission. Because of citizens speaking out in testimony and letters and calls, including following MindFreedom Oregon alerts, these two bills were STOPPED! Thank you! [Update July 2007]

Update - July 2007:

Victory!

This is the latest news to follow-up on the below alert.

HB 3524 was STOPPED, and died in committee, during this 2007 legislative session.

The flawed HB 2995, sponsored by Rep. Holvey of Lane County, didn't get past its March 2007 hearing.

MindFreedom Oregon Urgent Human Rights Alert! - 24 March 2007.

Thank you to the MindFreedom members and allies who spoke out, attended hearings and more to stop these bills.

The original alert that was issued

   Protect Your Privacy! Prevent Discrimination!

   STOP Proposal For Oregon "Mental Health Database" to Violate Your Privacy

   STOP Proposal to Disclose *Your* Private Mental Health Info Without Your Permission!

   Oppose Both HB 3524 and HB 2995! Speak Out At Public Hearing This Thursday!

These two bills are twin attacks against the human rights of Oregonians diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities.

HB 3524 would create a database for the police to list certain people diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities!

HB 2995 would allow public bodies and licensed health care providers to disclose private and protected health information without anyone's permission!

You may speak out against these bills at a state-wide public hearing by a House Committee *THIS* Thursday, 29 March 2007, 6 pm, in the Albany City Hall in Albany, Oregon. (Details below.)

These bills are a combination-violation of all Oregonians' fundamental human rights.

These bill segregate. These bills violate privacy. These bills put into law some of the worst aspects of disempowerment, discrimination and prejudice in the psychiatric system.

You are encouraged to contact your Oregon Senator and Representative to stop this bill.

~~~~~~~~~

SPEAK OUT AT A STATE LEGISLATURE SPECIAL PUBLIC HEARING on HB 3524 and HB 2995 TO BE HELD IN ALBANY, OREGON!!!


Usually legislature hearings are in Salem. This special official Public Hearing will be held in Albany, Oregon.

Date: *This* Thursday - 29 March 2007

Time: 6:00 P.M.

The Oregon House Committee on Human Services and Women's Wellness will be holding this Public Hearing at:

Albany City Hall
333 Broadalbin SW
Albany, Oregon

This Public Hearing will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

From the State Legislature Announcement:

"HB 3524 FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Establishes Mental Health Database to assist law enforcement officers in assisting mentally ill individuals to obtain medical, mental health and social services.

"HB 2995 FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Permits public bodies, officers or agents of public bodies, or licensed health care providers to disclose protected health information about individual with mental illness for purpose of safely providing professional services."

~~~~~~~~~

   Talking Points to Oppose HB 3524:


Why have HB 3524 authors ignored the voices of groups of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors about what we want and need?

Because HB 3524 bill is so bad it is a reminder about how during World War Two, Oregon made a list of Japanese-American citizens for rounding up.

This Mental Health Database is described by Rep Andy Olson as an attempt to "decriminalize mental illness."

It is not.

Instead, this bill provides a means to coerce vulnerable people. This bill hinders empowerment.

Rep Olson had made claims that this bill is to get people with mental health issues out of the jails and into treatment, yet:

In the requirements on the person's history, no previous jail terms are mentioned -- just hospitalizations. This bill does not provide for a plan to get the "mentally ill" people who are already suffering in jail out of jail.

Money and resources need to be put into mental health advocacy and advocacy groups outside of the "system" that assist people in obtaining the things they need like peer support, family support, housing, education, access to information and access to peers.

Law enforcement officers need to be trained on how to deal with all people, to be trained in crisis intervention. They need to be trained on what their community health resources are.

HB 3524 is just a bureaucratic nightmare, which will waste time and money to administer and maintain. The focus needs to be on police training and police education on how to work with all people who are in an encounter with law enforcement personnel. After all, even 'normal' people act irrationally.

The bill's author claim they will "work with advocacy groups," yet MindFreedom and groups of psychiatric survivors/consumer in Oregon were not informed about this bill. Why not?

In the category of requirements for "contact person" the preference is for a parent, guardian or foster care provider. The bill writers prefer to have a contact person who has to have "legal standing," and it could not just anyone of your choosing.

This suggests juveniles or underage people. The assumption is "mentally ill' people are not the head of a family; are not married; are not in charge of their lives. Saying they do not have "regular" family life and are not individuals who contribute to the good of their communities. This is plain discrimination.

And just exactly how do they plan on putting people on the list?

House Bill 3524 is a bill to establish a Mental Health Database to assist law enforcement officers in assisting mentally ill individuals to obtain medical, mental health and social services. HB 3524 would become operative July 1, 2008.

The bill has an unscientific definition of who a "mentally ill" person is.

The bill claims that written, voluntary, consent must be obtained first by the Dept of State Police. However, we all know that for disempowered and vulnerable people with psychiatric labels, there can and will be undue pressure to "sign away" our human rights. They will provide a form. Written consent must be witnessed by a physician or licensed psychologist. Consent may be withdrawn. When withdrawn, the Dept of State Police will remove information of person's identity from the database.

The information of identity in this database will include:

The "mentally ill" person's name, date of birth, last known address and physical description; a name and telephone number for a contact person for the person, preferably a parent, guardian or foster care provider; a diagnosis or description of the symptoms of the person's illness; a list of medications prescribed for the person.

The bill claims that the Department of State Police shall work with the Department of Human Services, the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and advocacy groups for "mentally ill" people to develop a program that assists "mentally ill" people in obtaining medical, mental health and social services and that protects the rights of the "mentally ill" and of the public. This outreach has not happened.

~~~~~~~~

   Talking Points to Oppose HB 2995:


Many of the same arguments above apply to HB 2995.

HB 2995 also violates privacy. Incredibly, this bill would allow health care providers to simply give away private and protected mental health care information about you, without any check or balance at all.

The main question to ask is: Why not apply such a bill to ALL health information about ALL citizens?

Because, of course, the public would be outraged! But apparently the sponsor of HB 2995 feels that those of us diagnosed with psychiatric disorders are somehow separate and different from the general public, and our protected and private information can be disclosed without any permission from anyone, even from ourselves or guardians.

~~~~~~~~~

   ADDITIONAL ACTION you can take right now!!


Whether or not you can attend the public hearing in Albany this Thursday:

Contact your State Representative and Senator to oppose both of these bills: HB 2534 and HB 2995!!

To find your State Representative and Senator you can use this handy locator:

http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

STATUS of These Flawed Bills:

HB 3524 has been referred to Human Services and Women's Wellness with subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

HB 2995 has also been referred to Human Services and Women's Wellness with subsequent referral to Judiciary.

Especially if your representative is a member of the Human Service and Women's Wellness, please consider additional outreach such as phone call, letter and/or personal visit with staff or legislator (call them to schedule a visit ahead of time):

Carolyn Tomei, Chair
Sara Gelser, Vice-Chair
Andy Olson, Vice-Chair
Jean Cowan
Vic Gilliam
Tina Kotek
Ron Maurer

To track the status of these bills click "house bill" and plug the bill number in here:

http://www.leg.state.or.us/searchmeas.html

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO OTHER OREGONIANS WHO CARE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS!

~~~~~~~~~~

   Here is the actual text for these two bills:


~~~~~~~~~~

HB 3524 Sponsors, Summary and Text:

74th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2007 Regular Session

NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in an amended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minus signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within { + braces and plus signs + } .

LC 3662

Sponsored by Representatives GELSER, OLSON; Representatives BRUUN, CANNON, DALLUM, ESQUIVEL, FLORES, GILLIAM, GIROD, KRIEGER, MAURER, NELSON, ROBLAN, ROSENBAUM, SCHAUFLER, G SMITH, TOMEI, WHISNANT, Senators ATKINSON, BEYER, BROWN, BURDICK, NELSON

SUMMARY

The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced.

Establishes Mental Health Database to assist law enforcement officers in assisting mentally ill individuals to obtain medical, mental health and social services.

Becomes operative July 1, 2008.

A BILL FOR AN ACT

Relating to a Mental Health Database.

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. { + (1) As used in this section, 'mentally ill person' means a person who, because of a mental disorder, is one or more of the following:

(a) Dangerous to self or others.

(b) Unable to provide for basic personal needs and is not receiving such care as is necessary for health or safety.

(c) A person who:

(A) Is chronically mentally ill, as defined in ORS 426.495;

(B) Within the previous three years, has twice been placed in a hospital or approved inpatient facility by the Department of Human Services under ORS 426.060;

(C) Is exhibiting symptoms or behavior substantially similar to those that preceded and led to one or more of the hospitalizations or inpatient facility placements referred to in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph; and

(D) Unless treated, will continue, to a reasonable medical probability, to physically or mentally deteriorate so that the person will become a person described under either or both subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph.

(2)(a) The Department of State Police shall create and maintain a Mental Health Database containing the information described in subsection (4) of this section.

(b) The Department of State Police may create and maintain the database within the Law Enforcement Data System.

(c) The Department of State Police shall ensure that the database is accessible and searchable by law enforcement agencies.

(3) Before entering information that identifies an individual into the database, the Department of State Police shall obtain the express written consent of the individual. The Department of State Police, along with the Department of Human Services, shall develop a standard form to be used for this purpose. The written consent must be witnessed by a physician or licensed psychologist. The form shall clearly state that consent by the mentally ill person is voluntary and that consent is revocable. Upon receipt of a revocation of consent, the Department of State Police shall remove identifying information about an individual with mental illness from the database.

(4) The database shall contain the following items:

(a) The mentally ill person's name, date of birth, last known address and physical description;

(b) A name and telephone number for a contact person for the person, preferably a parent, guardian or foster care provider;

(c) A diagnosis or description of the symptoms of the person's illness;

(d) A list of medications prescribed for the person; and

(e) A safety alert, if applicable, for law enforcement personnel.

(5)(a) The purpose of the Mental Health Database is to provide law enforcement agencies with information that will help the agencies assist mentally ill people to obtain medical, mental health and social services.

(b) The Department of State Police shall work with the Department of Human Services, the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and advocacy groups for mentally ill people to develop a program that assists mentally ill people in obtaining medical, mental health and social services and that protects the rights of the mentally ill and of the public. The Department of State Police shall ensure that, prior to its implementation, the database program complies with the requirements of ORS 192.518 to 192.526 and the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy regulations, 45 C.F.R. parts 160 and 164.

(c) The Department of State Police shall develop and require training for all personnel with access to the database to ensure that it is used in a way that protects the confidentiality rights of the mentally ill. + }

SECTION 2. { + This 2007 Act becomes operative July 1, 2008. + }

~~~~~~~~~~~~

HB 2995 Sponsor, Summary and Text:

74th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2007 Regular Session

NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in an amended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minus signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within { + braces and plus signs + }

House Bill 2995 Sponsored by Representative HOLVEY

SUMMARY The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced. Permits public bodies, officers or agents of public bodies, or licensed health care providers to disclose protected health information about individual with mental illness for purpose of safely providing professional services. Declaring emergency, effective on passage.

A BILL FOR AN ACT

Relating to protected information about individual with mental illness; and declaring an emergency.

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. { + Section 2 of this 2007 Act is added to and made a part of ORS 192.518 to 192.526. + }

SECTION 2. { + Notwithstanding ORS 179.505, a public body as defined in ORS 174.109, an officer or agent of a public body or a person licensed by a health professional regulatory board listed in ORS 676.160 may disclose protected health information about an individual with a mental illness that was obtained in the course of providing professional services to the individual, without obtaining an authorization from the individual or a personal representative of the individual, to another public body, an officer or agent of a public body or a person licensed to provide health care services under ORS chapter 676 for the purpose of protecting the safety of the individual and the safety of the public body, officer or agent of the public body or licensed health care professional while providing treatment or other professional services to the individual. + }

SECTION 3. { + This 2007 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2007 Act takes effect on its passage. + } ----------

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- end -

And remember that while you're lobbying your Oregon State Legislators, *against* HB 3524 and HB 2995, please remember to *support* SB 363 and 364 for empowerment and self-determination in the mental health system! For information on those good bills see:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act/us/or/sb363-364/

[Thanks much to Jody Parker on the MindFreedom Oregon Advisory Committee for crucial help with this alert.]



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Matt Morrissey

Matt Morrissey is on the MFI Choice in Mental Health Campaign Committee. Matt is a psychiatric survivor with a master’s in counseling who directs the adult day program at Full Spectrum Progressive Mental Health, which is a nonprofit center in San Francisco that offers voluntary programs for adults and adolescents in severe emotional distress. Full Spectrum is a Sponsor Group in MFI. Matt is shown here speaking at an MFI co-sponsored protest in front of the American Psychiatric Association. (Photo by Tom Olin)
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