Rep. Lindsey LaPointe

Filed: 3/1/2022





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 3977, AS AMENDED,
3by replacing everything after the enacting clause with the
5    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the First
6Responders Behavioral Healthcare Bill of Rights Act.
7    Section 5. Purposes. The General Assembly recognizes the
8difficult nature of the job of first responder, including
9trauma endured by first responders in the performance of their
10duties. It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that
11first responders, including police, firefighters, and
12emergency medical technicians across this State, have full
13access to supportive and responsive behavioral health services
14and treatment. The General Assembly recognizes that these
15services should be responsive to the individual's needs and
16must be kept confidential. The General Assembly recognizes



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1that the administration and provision of these services both
2recognize and reduce the historical barrier of stigma and a
3lack of confidentiality that first responders face when
4attempting to access behavioral health services and treatment.
5    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
6    "Behavioral health" means mental health, health relating
7to substance use, or both.
8    "Behavioral healthcare" means services, treatment,
9medication, and other measures to overcome, mitigate, or
10prevent a behavioral health issue. Such services, treatment,
11medication, and other measures qualify as "behavioral
12healthcare" even if there is no formal diagnosis of a specific
14    "Employee" includes a first responder employed by a unit
15of local government, school district, public or private
16hospital, or ambulance service. "Employee" also includes a
17public safety telecommunicator.
18    "Employer" means a unit of local government, a school
19district, or a public or private hospital or ambulance service
20that employs first responders. "Employer" includes a board
21that is responsible for hiring and promoting first responders
22and public safety telecommunicators.
23    "First responder" means a law enforcement officer or
24fireman as defined in Section 2 of the Line of Duty
25Compensation Act or an emergency medical technician (EMT) as



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1defined in Section 3.50 of the Emergency Medical Services
2(EMS) Systems Act.
3    "Patient" means:
4        (1) a person who is admitted as an inpatient or
5    resident of a public or private mental health facility for
6    mental health treatment under Chapter III of the Mental
7    Health and Developmental Disabilities Code as an informal
8    admission, a voluntary admission, a minor admission, an
9    emergency admission, or an involuntary admission, unless
10    the treatment was solely for an alcohol abuse disorder; or
11        (2) a person who voluntarily or involuntarily receives
12    mental health treatment as an outpatient or is otherwise
13    provided services by a public or private mental health
14    facility, and who poses a clear and present danger to
15    oneself or to others.
16    "Record" means any record kept by a therapist or by an
17agency in the course of providing behavioral health services
18to a first responder concerning the first responder and the
19services provided. "Record" includes the personal notes of the
20therapist or agency. "Record" includes all records maintained
21by a court that have been created in connection with, in
22preparation for, or as a result of the filing of any petition
23or certificate under Chapter II, Chapter III, or Chapter IV of
24the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code and
25includes the petitions, certificates, dispositional reports,
26treatment plans, and reports of diagnostic evaluations and of



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1hearings under Article VIII of Chapter III or under Article V
2of Chapter IV of that Code. "Record" does not include
3information that has been deidentified in accordance with
4HIPAA, as specified in 45 CFR 164.514. "Record" does not
5include a reference to the receipt of behavioral health
6services noted during a patient history and physical or other
7summary of care.
8    "Substance use" means the ingestion of one or more of the
9following: alcohol; caffeine; cannabis; hallucinogens;
10inhalants; opioids; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics;
11stimulants; tobacco; and other unknown intoxicating substances
12that the employee reasonably believes is interfering, or could
13interfere, either directly or indirectly, with the performance
14the employee's job duties.
15    Section 15. Rights to behavioral healthcare.
16    (a) First responders and public safety telecommunicators
17have the following rights:
18        (1) The right of full access to behavioral health
19    services and treatment that are responsive to the needs of
20    the individual and the professions of police, emergency
21    medical technician (EMT), firefighter, and public safety
22    telecommunicator.
23        (2) The right to seek, or access if required or
24    requested, services and treatment for behavioral health
25    needs without fear of repercussions by the employer or



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1    supervisor and without fear of reprisal.
2        (3) The right, in the course of seeking services and
3    treatment for behavioral health, that all records, notes,
4    and conclusions by the treatment provider shall not be
5    shared with an employer unless otherwise mandated by law.
6        (4) The right of an employee not to be compelled by the
7    employer under the threat of discipline to release any
8    records related to behavioral health.
9        (5) The right to have behavioral health records not be
10    used in any disciplinary or other proceeding against the
11    employee. If the employee waives the rights under this
12    paragraph, the employee retains the right to set the scope
13    of records that can be used in any disciplinary or other
14    proceeding against the employee, including, but not
15    limited to, treatment dates, facilities, actual or
16    suspected diagnoses, and program completion status.
17        The employee's records from a fitness for duty exam
18    related to the employee's behavioral health shall only be
19    used in a determination or proceeding against the employee
20    if the fitness for duty exam was ordered in connection
21    with that determination or proceeding.
22        (6) The right of an employee to seek treatment in any
23    geographic area without restrictions or limitations
24    imposed by the employer.
25        (7) The right to have behavioral health services and
26    treatment in a manner that reduces barriers to those



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1    services and treatment.
2        (8) The right to have the employer destroy and
3    disregard any behavioral health records that the employer
4    obtained pursuant to the employee's unsuccessful pursuit
5    of benefits under workers' compensation, pensions, and
6    other programs.
7    If a first responder waives any rights under this
8subsection, the right shall only be deemed waived to the
9extent specified by the first responder.
10    (b) The rights guaranteed to first responders in
11subsection (a) are judicially enforceable. An aggrieved
12employee may, under the Civil Practice Law, bring an action
13for damages, attorney's fees, or injunctive relief against an
14employer for violating subsection (a).
15    (c) An employee who seeks behavioral health services or
16treatment because of the use of an illicit substance is not
17subject to discipline by his or her employer for the use of the
18illicit substance unless a criminal act was carried out as a
19consequence of using that illicit substance.
20    (d) An employer is responsible for the costs of any
21behavioral health services and treatment obtained by an
22employee under this Act.".