Psychotropic Medication Bills Filed

Psychotropic Medication bills, HB 1405 and SB 1808 and have been filed in the House and the Senate. Running the bills through DiffPDF, it appears they are substantially the same as SB 2718 and HB 1567, which were filed in 2010, with some cosmetic changes. For example, both the House and the Senate bills still have the same likely typos in them that I spotted in 2010.

I wrote some off-the-cuff analyses of those bills in four parts back then:

  1. Florida SB 2718 Introduces Mental Health Treatment Plans and Cost Effective MDT Model 
  2. SB 2718 on Psychotropic Medications: Moving Discretion, Removing Discretion 
  3. SB 2718 on Psychotropic Medications: Consent and Assent 
  4. SB 2718 on Psychotropic Medications: Setting Standards 

I don’t know how much of the above I still stand by, so don’t hold me to it.

Recall that in 2010 the bills allegedly died due to push-back from doctors who wanted less paperwork/didn’t want to be conscripted into the case planning element of dependency/etc. If this is true, it was a failure of public education. The bills as far as I can see do not add any new requirements on doctors beyond what they already do: see children and write a report explaining their treatment plans for the court to review.

What’s new is that this bill elevates the doctor’s treatment plan to case plan status, where the Department is then obligated to implement that plan as they would any service provided to a parent. From the physician’s perspective of having the child’s well-being foremost in their mind and having healthy skepticism about the Department’s ability or willingness to follow through with treatment recommendations, this is an important and powerful tool to improve the care of children in the system.

Over the last couple of years, the Department has promulgated administrative rules to cover psychotropic medication and we learned a great deal through that process. I think the 2010 bills were good but could be made even better. I look forward to seeing what can be accomplished.

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