Public Comment / 2SHB 177: USH Amendments

Updated: 1 year ago
Public Policy

February 9, 2023
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080

DLC staff regularly visit Utah State Hospital patients. From our observation, there is little, if any, need to rebuild the hospital’s infrastructure. The campus is beautiful and most of the buildings are relatively new. We also don’t want a repeat of the current staffing challenges at the prison.

Dedicating resources to a re-location will likely mean even fewer for community mental health. So we appreciate that the commission’s duties have expanded to looking at the hospital’s role within the state’s entire mental health system. In addition to its future, we encourage the commission to consider needs and gaps in the community system, particularly as they impact individuals with serious mental illness. For example, what services exist in the community for those discharged from the State Hospital?

Finally, we don’t believe it’s possible to get an accurate picture of the system without including the perspective of those who use it. To this end, please consider enlarging the commission to include mental health advocacy organizations and those with lived experience.

Our hope is that a study like the one proposed will evaluate a range of funding, service array, and delivery options, along with promising practices and model programs from other states. The goal should be a roadmap you can use to get the system from where it is now to where we want it to be over the next three, five, or 10 years.

As we have previously noted many times, not making a sufficient investment to prevent or delay crisis, hospitalization, or incarceration could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s nondiscrimination and integration provisions.