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Law strengthens mental health detentions

Posted at 1 p.m. on March 7, 2018

The Brillion News

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill (AB) 538 into law on Wednesday, March 7, at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

AB 538 prohibits the transfer of an individual from a hospital’s emergency department to another facility for emergency detention until a hospital employee or medical staff member determines the transfer is medically appropriate.

In addition, the bill specifies that a health care provider can satisfy his or her duty to warn about an individual whom they believe has a substantial probability of harming himself/herself or others by 1) contacting law enforcement; 2) contacting the county department who needs to approve the emergency detention; 3) by provider approving the emergency detention themselves, if the provider is an agent of that county department; 4) or taking any other action a reasonable provider would take to fulfill the duty to warn.

The bill also provides immunity for actions taken in good faith to warn of dangerousness.

Authored by Representative John Jagler, R–Watertown, and Senator Robert Cowles, R–Green Bay, the bill passed both the Assembly and Senate on voice votes. It is Act 140.



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