Wednesday, February 28, 2018

STOP KICKING PATIENTS OUT OF TREATMENT TO THEIR DEATH!


HEARING IN SENATE FINANCE ON THURSDAY, 2/29
Call / Write members of the Senate Finance Committee (below)
SB921 / HB1531:  Task Force on the Premature Discharge of Patients with Substance Use Disorders

THE PROBLEM

Patients diagnosed with an often fatal co-occurring disorder and admitted to an inpatient treatment facility are routinely kicked out of treatment –often for extremely trivial infractions.  Patients who are assessed as needing inpatient treatment in order to recover, and who fail to receive it, are at high risk of death as a result –a death that could have been prevented.  Patients have been kicked out of treatment for sneaking a cigarette; walking into another person’s room; talking to, holding hands with, or kissing another patient; leaving treatment for a couple hours after notifying staff in order to say goodbye to a dying parent in a hospital; cursing at a staff member; making an inappropriate gesture to another patient; using a cell phone; and other behaviors that would not merit discharging a suicidal patient, or a cancer patient, or a kidney dialysis patient from necessary treatment.  These actions would not even warrant expelling an adolescent from high school regardless of the fact that many of these infractions are disallowed in Maryland’s high schools.  Regardless of students’ rule-breaking behavior, society still believes that these students are better off with a high school education than expulsion for “breaking the rules”.

Patients are discharged before their planned discharge date, often with very little notice (sometimes mere minutes), despite the fact that they have been diagnosed with an acute, chronic, often fatal disorder; and have been admitted to a healthcare facility or program on the basis that this level of care is necessary in order for them to recover from it.  The sudden and unexpected dismissal –often to immediate homelessness, triggers feelings of extreme distress, crisis, depression, failure and hopelessness –the very feelings that caused or exacerbated their substance use in the first place.  With a lowered tolerance to opiates, due to the time they have spent in detox, they are at extremely high risk of overdose.  If they are prematurely discharged from an outpatient Suboxone provider –often because they were late for, or unable to make an appointment due to transportation issues or work conflicts, the onset of withdrawal is imminent.  All gains that have been made while in treatment quickly unravel. 

THE SOLUTION

This bill establishes a Task Force to collect and analyze treatment data regarding the frequency and circumstances of premature discharge from treatment.  It requires the Task Force to suggest steps which would mitigate the dangers of premature patient discharge.  It is unconscionable that providers continue to place patients’ lives in jeopardy by premature discharge –often for committing the very behaviors that they have been diagnosed as needing professional assistance to overcome. 
TO CONTACT THE SPONSOR:
Senator Steve Hershey / Delegate Seth Howard                                                     

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
EMAIL info@faceaddictionmd.org / CALL 301-525-6183


SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

Thomas Middleton:  

John Astle: 

Joanne Benson:  

Brian Feldman: 


Stephen Hershey:  
Phone: 410-841-3639 | 301-858-3639 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3639

J.B. Jennings:  
Phone: 410-841-3706 | 301-858-3706 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3706

Katherine Klausmeier:  
Phone: 410-841-3620 | 301-858-3620 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3620

James Mathias:  
Phone: 410-841-3645 | 301-858-3645 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3645

Nathaniel Oaks:  
Phone: 410-841-3697 | 410-301-3697 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3697

Edward Reilly:  
Phone: 410-841-3568 | 301-858-3568 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3568

Jim Rosapepe:  
Phone: 410-841-3141 | 301-858-3141 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3141

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