AHLA Fundamentals of Behavioral Health Care Law
ebook ∣ (AHLA Members)
By Peter J. Domas
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Beginning in the mid-1950s, the approach to addressing serious behavioral health disorders began to shift from institutionalizing those afflicted to making community based outpatient treatment available. By the 1960s treatment policy had shifted to this new model to promote integrating people with mental illnesses into their communities. By 1970 community support programs began to appear with an emphasis on a fully continuous system of care that would serve the comprehensive needs of the seriously mentally ill. However, integrating behavioral and physical health requires that the applicable jurisprudence evolve at the same pace, and this faces resistance. Despite state legislatures' policy decisions that persons with mental illness can live in our society as functioning individuals, our jurisprudence of tort and injury law is often an impediment to that goal. This publication will serve as an introduction to the complex questions posed by behavioral health and the law.