COLUMBUS—State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Scott Ryan (R-Newark) recently introduced legislation that would add advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with a psychiatric/mental health subspecialty to the list of authorized professionals who are able to carry out mental health holds. The legislation, House Bill 111, was previously carried by Carfagna’s predecessor, former Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl, during the 131st General Assembly. With a 98-0 floor vote, it earned strong bipartisan support in the Ohio House but failed to pass out of the Ohio Senate before year end.
If there is evidence that an individual represents a substantial risk of physical harm to self or others, current Ohio law permits psychiatrists, licensed clinical psychologists, licensed physicians, health officers, parole officers, police officers, and sheriffs to have the individual involuntarily transferred to a hospital for a mental health examination. The hold may last for up to 24 hours.
Adding qualified advanced practice registered nurses as authorized professionals in this realm would provide another important resource to ensure more effective and efficient care for those individuals in need. Carfagna estimates there are approximately 400-500 APRNs with this specialty that would be further empowered under this legislation.
“Ohio’s need for greater mental health resources is compounded by the scarcity of medical professionals that can deal with individuals in crisis,” remarked Carfagna. “By utilizing the expertise of this subset of APRNs, we can further help our most vulnerable citizens when time is of the essence.”
House Bill 111 now awaits a committee designation.
Carfagna represents all of Knox County and part of Delaware County in the Ohio legislature, District 68.