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Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Massachusetts Legislative Advocacy

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, forty-seven states currently have assisted outpatient treatment laws on the books. The three exceptions are Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts. However, application of these laws is reportedly inconsistent, with some states rarely – if ever – utilizing the law.

Here in Massachusetts, legislation aimed at creating AOT laws has been filed in multiple legislative sessions in recent years. These bills have fallen under the legislative jurisdiction of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery or the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. For the 2019-20 Legislative Session, AOT legislation H.1741 was filed by State Representative Matt Murature (R-Plymouth). In addition, legislation has also been filed that indirectly addresses the issue of AOT. S.2274, filed by State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), is one example. S.2274 would create an AOT law relative to the well-being of new mothers and infants.

H.1741 received a public hearing on 9/19/19 and was placed into a study order by the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery on 2/20/20. On 2/3/20, S.2274 was also placed in a study order by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The same fate has become of similar proposals filed over the better part of the past decade in Massachusetts.

In addition to the support many mental health professionals and family members of those struggling with mental illness, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association is on record in favor of H.17141.

For details on this bill, visit here.


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