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Mental Health Services

Since mental health is not specifically indicated within the current MMR, this could be considered a constraint.106 As the statutory text indicates, MMR in Massachusetts does not cover consent to mental health services, unless one considers mental health to be part of medical care.107 Nevertheless, the LO found a regulation by the Department of Mental Health pertaining to mature minors:

Ostensibly, this mental health regulation falls under the auspices of a general medical care definition for youths seeking treatment. However, because of the vague language, it leaves available a broad spectrum for interpretation and possible litigation. A recommendation for the Massachusetts legislature would be to either explicitly provide for mental health for youths in the MMR, or draft an additional statute that could be utilized by providers seeking to help youths needing mental health care who have not yet achieved the age of majority. As this regulation has not been challenged it could be utilized by mental health care providers to allow mental health treatment of minors without parental consent. The LO recommends that JRI publicize this regulation to mental health care providers in an effort to educate them, since health care providers may be unaware of the regulation.109 In addition, this regulation could be included in a packet that JRI sends to providers. However, one strategy may include not advertising the regulation to legislators since it has not yet been challenged establishing precedent. Therefore, it might not be prudent to call attention to it.



Footnotes

...106
Interview with Genny Price, supra n. 75.
...107
However, other states maintain separate statutes or use explicit language to express ability to consent to mental health care. See e.g., infra State Research Section, Michigan, Mich. Comp. Laws 330.1707 (2001), Mich. Comp. Laws 330.1498d (2001), and Washington, Wash. Rev. Code Ann 70.34.042 (2002).
...108
104 Code Mass Regs. 25.04 (2002).
...109
See Interview with Genny Price, supra n. 75.

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