Senate Considers Changing Involuntary Commitment Law

Feb 20, 2014

The State Senate has given initial approval to a change in the way Wyoming handles involuntary hospitalization of those needing mental health treatment.  The bill removes the requirement that a judge must review the involuntary commitment within 72 hours of it taking place.

Senator John Schiffer of Kaycee said that the bill speeds up when a person gets evaluated by a medical professional and allows for faster treatment…if necessary.  But it delays when a court hearing would take place if it's determined that the person should be hospitalized involuntarily longer. Senator Tony Ross of Cheyenne said he is concerned about that.

"The reality is that you could have an individual hospitalized for maybe 8 or 9 days or held before they ever get to the final detention hearing.  I'm just concerned that we are somehow affecting their due process rights and I'm very concerned about that."

Schiffer said that currently people can be held for a long period of time without getting medical treatment.  He said the bill intends to change that. The bill will be debated two more times.