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Ohio House Passes Legislation Allowing Involuntary Mental Health Evaluations By Advanced Practice Nurses

February 19, 2016 - 1:52 PM

COLUMBUS - On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 217, legislation sponsored by Representative Margaret Ruhl (R-Fredericktown) that would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have an individual involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health evaluation in the event of an emergency.

HB 217 allows an APRN with a psychiatric sub-specialty to have an individual hospitalized if the nurse reasonably suspects that the individual could be a risk to self or others. A mental health professional must perform an evaluation within twenty-four hours of a patient’s admittance to the care facility.

“I am honored to be able to sponsor this legislation to add the APRNs to the list of individuals able to have clients involuntarily evaluated for mental health,” Ruhl said.  “The APRNs are generally among the first trained professionals to have contact with people struggling with mental illnesses, and their training would allow them to see warning signs of the intent to self-harm or harm others.  House Bill 217 will ultimately result in faster, more efficient care to those in need.”

In Ohio, there are about 300 APRNs with the psychiatric-mental health certification who would be able to involuntarily hospitalize individuals for a mental health evaluation under House Bill 217. To become qualified, an RN must receive a graduate degree in a nursing specialty or related field. The nurse must then sit for a national certification examination, and obtain a Certificate of Authority from Ohio. This certificate must be reviewed biennially with a continuing education requirement of twenty-four hours.

HB 217 passed unanimously and will now head to the Senate for further consideration.

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