Minden, NV- Assembly Bill 85, sponsored by the Northern Regional Behavioral Health Policy Board, was signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on May 15, 2019 at the Nevada State Capitol Building in Carson City.
The bill improves areas of the 72-hour involuntary crisis hold process in Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 433A. The existing law stated the 72-hour time period began after medical clearance, which caused confusion and allowed room for different interpretations of the medical clearance process. The medical clearance process could last from a few hours to a few days. Jessica Flood, the board’s coordinator, said Assembly Bill 85 aims to “clarify and standardize” legal hold practices across the state.
In addition, AB85 intends to reduce stigma by replacing the language “person with mental illness” with “person in a mental health crisis”. The Northern Regional Behavioral Health Policy Board leaned on a working group of subject matter experts from healthcare, law enforcement, emergency medical services, courts, advocates and more to develop clear language and align with best practices. The work group includes judges, district attorneys, and public defenders as well as representatives from Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, the Nevada Hospital Association, and Renown Hospital, among others.
The Northern Regional Behavioral Health Policy Board represents Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, and Storey counties. The Northern Behavioral Health Policy Board includes Karen Beckerbauer from Douglas County Social Services, Taylor Allison from Partnership Douglas County, Chief David Fogerson from East Fork Fire, and Dr. Joseph McEllistrem from Carson City and Douglas County Jails. Other members include Dr. Robin Titus of the Nevada Assembly, Dr. Ali Banister from Carson City Juvenile Probation, Edrie LaVoie from Lyon County Human Services (Retired), Nicki Aaker from Carson City Health and Human Services, Adrienne Sutherland from Community Chest, Sandie Draper of NAMI Western Nevada, Wanda Nixon from Mineral County, and Kevin Morss from Health Plan of Nevada.
Created by the 2017 Nevada Legislature (Assembly Bill 366), the Regional Health Policy Boards (Northern, Washoe, Rural and Southern regions) consist of 13 members each and advise the Division of Public and Behavioral Health on matters pertaining to behavioral health issues, promote improvements in the delivery of behavioral health services, coordinate with other regional policy boards and submit a report to the Commission on Behavioral Health.