On April 15, Governor Chris Sununu issued the following statement after the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to accept and expend $2,000,000 to centralize the processing of Involuntary Emergency Admission cases by creating a statewide mental health docket.
“Today’s action will reduce the number of patients waiting for mental health care in hospital emergency departments,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Our work is not done, and we remain committed to increasing capacity in community-based services and even further improving access to mental health care for children, youth, adults, and families in crisis.”
The request includes funding for a centralized filing system, two circuit court judges, staff, and counsel for patients subject to an involuntary emergency admission, as well as equipment for hospitals to ensure patients have remote access to court hearings.
“The Judicial Branch is committed to serving the people of New Hampshire, including the most vulnerable, as efficiently and equitably as possible,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald. “The Circuit Court’s proposal to create a statewide, centralized mental health docket with dedicated judicial and staff resources will transform the processing of involuntary emergency admissions requests. We believe this approach will ensure the rights of patients are protected and will help provide a permanent and sustainable solution to the longstanding emergency room boarding issue. We are prepared to move forward as quickly as possible on its implementation.”
This plan will result in significant efficiencies through dedicated staff, will avoid dismissals of petitions due to logistical challenges, and will do so while protecting the rights of patients in the system. These improvements are part of an ongoing collaborative effort between Governor Sununu, Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald, Circuit Court Administrative Judge David King, DHHS Commissioner Shibinette, hospital leadership and clinicians as well as other stakeholders to transform the State of New Hampshire’s mental health system.