Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1497
By: Farabee
Public Health


The Texas Mental Health Code consists of definitions and concepts that no
longer meet the needs of mental health care providers and their patients.
In particular, the current definition of "facility" might impede the
placement of patients in community settings.  Past legislatures granted
the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation the authority,
with the approval of local courts, to designate community centers as single
portal authorities responsible for determining the best placement for
mentally ill and mentally retarded patients.  Today,  however, every local
mental health authority is designated as a single portal authority thereby
creating confusion related to the powers and duties of a single portal
authority. House Bill 1497 removes the term "single portal authority" and
clarifies the authority of state and local mental health and mental
retardation authorities. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Mental Health and
Mental Retardation in SECTION 2 (Section 533.014) of this bill. 


House Bill 1497 amends the Health and Safety Code to define "facility" and
"department facility" and to clarify other terms (Secs. 531.002 and
571.003). The bill replaces references to single portal authorities with
local mental health and mental retardation (MHMR) authorities (Secs.
533.014, 573.022, 574.012, 574.023, 574.027, 574.041, 575.011, 575.012).
The bill requires the Texas Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
(board) to adopt rules relating to the responsibility of local MHMR
authorities to  make recommendations relating to the most appropriate
treatment alternatives for individuals in need of MHMR services (Secs.
533.014, 533.035, and 574.012).  The bill requires local MHMR authorities
to consider public input, ultimate cost-benefit, and client care issues to
ensure consumer choice and the best use of public money in making such
recommendations. The bill authorizes the board  to delegate to the local
MHMR authorities the authority and responsibility to coordinate with
criminal justice entities (Sec. 533.035).  On the request of the local
mental health authority, the judge may order that a person admitted for
emergency detention be detained in a department mental health facility
(Secs. 573.022, 574.023, and 574.027).  


September 1, 2001.