New York Mental Hygiene Law § 22.11 Treatment of minors




(a) For the purposes of this section, the word “minor” shall mean a person under eighteen years of age, but does not include a person who is the parent of a child or has married or who is emancipated.

(b) In treating a minor for chemical dependence on an inpatient, residential, or outpatient basis, the important role of the parents or guardians shall be recognized.  Steps shall be taken to involve the parents or guardians in the course of treatment, and consent from such a person for inpatient, residential, or outpatient treatment for minors shall be required, except as otherwise provided by subdivision (c) of this section.

(c) Minors admitted for inpatient, residential or outpatient treatment without parental or guardian involvement.

1. If, in the judgment of a physician, parental or guardian involvement and consent would have a detrimental effect on the course of treatment of a minor who is voluntarily seeking treatment for chemical dependence or if a parent or guardian refuses to consent to such treatment and the physician believes that such treatment is necessary for the best interests of the child, such treatment may be provided to the minor by a licensed physician on an inpatient, residential or outpatient basis, a staff physician in a hospital, or persons operating under their supervision, without the consent or involvement of the parent or guardian.  Such physician shall fully document the reasons why the requirements of subdivision (b) of this section were dispensed within the minor's medical record, provided, however, that for providers of services which are not required to include physicians on staff, pursuant to regulations promulgated by the commissioner, a qualified health professional, as defined in such regulations, shall fulfill the role of a physician for purposes of this paragraph.

2. If the provider of services cannot locate the parents or guardians of a minor seeking treatment for chemical dependence after employing reasonable measures to do so, or if such parents or guardians refuse or fail to communicate with the provider of services within a reasonable time regarding the minor's treatment, the program director may authorize that such minor be treated on an inpatient, residential or outpatient basis by the provider of services without the consent or involvement of the parent or guardian.  Such program director shall fully document the reasons why the requirements of subdivision (b) of this section were dispensed within the minor's medical record, including an explanation of all efforts employed to attempt to contact such parents or guardians.

3. Admission and discharge for inpatient or residential treatment shall be made in accordance with subdivision (d) of this section.

(d) Inpatient or residential treatment.  1. Admission procedures.  (i) A copy of the patient's rights established under this section and under section 22.03 of this article shall be given and explained to the minor and to the minor's consenting parent or guardian at the time of admission by the director of the facility or such person's designee.

(ii) The minor shall be required to sign a form indicating that the treatment is being voluntarily sought, and that he or she has been advised of his or her ability to access the mental hygiene legal service and of his or her rights under this section and section 22.03 of this article.  The signed form shall be included in the minor's medical record.

(iii) At the time of admission, any minor so admitted shall be informed by the director of the facility or the director's designee, orally and in writing, of the minor's right to be discharged in accordance with the provisions of this section within twenty-four hours of his or her making a request therefor.

(iv) Emergency contacts.

(A) At the time of admission, the provider of services shall use its best efforts to obtain from the minor's consenting parent or guardian a telephone number or numbers where he or she may be reached by the facility at any time during the day or night.  In addition, such provider of services shall also use its best efforts to obtain from the parent or guardian a name, address and appropriate telephone number or numbers of an adult designated by such parent or guardian as an emergency contact person in the event the facility is unable to reach such parent or guardian.

(B) If the minor is admitted in accordance with subdivision (c) of this section, the provider of services shall use its best efforts to obtain from the minor the name, address, and telephone number of an adult who may serve as an emergency contact, and the facility shall verify the existence and availability of such contact upon notice to and with the prior written consent of the minor.

(C) Failure to obtain emergency contacts, after reasonable effort, in accordance with this section shall not preclude admission of the minor to treatment.

(v) Notice of admission and discharge procedures.

(A) A copy of the facility's admission and discharge procedures shall be provided to the minor and to the minor's consenting parent or guardian at the time of admission by the director of the facility or such person's designee.  Such information shall also be mailed to the designated emergency contact person by regular mail.

(B) If the minor is admitted in accordance with subdivision (c) of this section, a copy of the facility's admission and discharge procedures shall be provided to the minor.  Such information shall also be mailed to the designated emergency contact person by regular mail.

(vi) Each minor admitted for inpatient or residential chemical dependence treatment pursuant to this subdivision shall be provided with written notice regarding the availability of the mental hygiene legal service for legal counsel, and shall be provided access to the service upon request.

2. Discharge procedures.  All minors admitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be discharged in accordance with the following:

(i) Any minor admitted to an inpatient or residential chemical dependence treatment facility has the right to be discharged within twenty-four hours of his or her request in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision.

(ii) If discharge is requested prior to completion of a minor's treatment plan, such minor must request discharge in writing.

(A) Upon receipt of any form of written request for discharge, the director of the facility in which the minor is admitted shall immediately notify the minor's parent or guardian.  If the facility is unable to contact such parent or guardian within a reasonable time, or if the minor has been admitted pursuant to subdivision (c) of this section, the facility shall notify the designated emergency contact person.

(B) The minor shall not be discharged from such facility until it is determined:

(1) that the safety and well being of such minor will not be threatened or the expiration of twenty-four hours, whichever is sooner;  or

(2) that the parent, guardian, or designated emergency contact person has made appropriate and timely departure arrangements with the facility.  However, unless otherwise directed by the minor's parent or guardian or designated emergency contact person pursuant to this item, such minor shall be discharged within twenty-four hours after submission of the request.

(iii) Writing materials for use in requesting a discharge shall be made available at all times to all minors admitted under this section.  The staff of the facility shall assist such minors in preparing or submitting requests for discharge.


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