The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the 20 largest newspapers in the U.S., gave a ringing endorsement for assisted outpatient treatment and for pending legislation in Pennsylvania and a similar proposal in New Jersey.
“Court-ordered outpatient treatment for the mentally ill is effective for the individual and less expensive for the state,” the paper wrote in an editorial on Monday, March 30, 2009.
Unfortunately, the paper noted, assisted outpatient treatment is rarely used in Pennsylvania.
“That’s because the state’s outdated 1976 mental-health law requires ill people to be a ‘clear and present danger’ to themselves or others before a judge can order them to get treatment,” the paper noted. “By the time people with mental illness deteriorate to that point, outpatient services are often not appropriate. They usually end up hospitalized.”
“The state Senate should move ahead with this legislation, the goal of which is more effective patient care, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer incarcerations,” the paper wrote.