Committee introduces teen mental health bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Mentally unstable teens who pose a serious threat to themselves or others could be ordered into temporary protective custody by their doctor under a bill introduced in the House.

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted Monday to debate a measure that would allow medical practitioners to hospitalize mentally ill juveniles for up to 24 hours. Under existing statute, only law enforcement officials can detain potentially teens.

Idaho Medical Association Lobbyist Ken McClure said the bill puts provisions dealing with young people in line with a similar state law covering mentally ill adults.

McClure said the measure is designed to protect teenagers and those around them from imminent harm. He said the proposal would also give health providers more tools to deal with an emergency.

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