Author Topic: VA WON'T ABIDE BY REPORTING PROVISIONS OF S.A.F.E.  (Read 615 times)

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Offline Blackhawk

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VA WON'T ABIDE BY REPORTING PROVISIONS OF S.A.F.E.
« on: March 12, 2013, 03:34:23 PM »

[if opposition like in the following report re the VA continues cuomo's credibility even as a future candidate for dog catcher will be worth 0. many other orgs are sure to follow.]

____________________ 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it
will not comply with New York State’s new law
requiring mental health providers to report
potentially dangerous individuals to state authorities.

The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement
(SAFE) Act, the sweeping gun-control law that
goes into effect this week, calls on doctors and
therapists to alert county health officials to
patients they deem “likely” to engage in conduct
that will result in serious self-injury or harm to others.

Once notified of potentially harmful individuals,
the state will check their names against a new
state database of licensed gun owners. If there’s
a match, local law enforcement will be authorized
to remove weapons if their owner does not voluntarily surrender them.

Mark Ballesteros, spokesperson for the Department
of Veterans Affairs, said that the U.S.
Constitution forces his agency to follow federal law, not New York’s new rules.

“Federal laws safeguarding the confidentiality of
veterans’ treatment records do not authorize VA
mental-health professionals to comply with this
NY State law,” he said in an emailed statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2013/03/11/veterans-safe-act/

This is not the first time issues have been
raised about the role of mental health providers
under the provisions of the SAFE Act.

Cuomo was asked about the VA’s decision in this
morning’s Q&A following a cabinet meeting.

“You know, I really don’t know the specifics, but
first of all what the laws says is it leaves it
totally up to the mental health provider if they
want to come forward or not — totally up to
them,” Cuomo said. “It’s volitional on their
part. And then depending on the institution or
the organization, they may have preexisting legal
parameters. Some organizations just say,
beginning of the day, all communications are
confidential, period, all information is
confidential, period. So it’s going to have to be
viewed in the light of their legal structure in
the first place. But it’s up to them.

Here’s the section of the SAFE Act that lays the
groundwork for the reporting; the word “shall” is
not one employed in bill language to signal something volitional:

(B) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW TO THE
CONTRARY, WHEN A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
CURRENTLY PROVIDING TREATMENT SERVICES TO A
PERSON DETERMINES, IN THE EXERCISE OF REASONABLE
PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT, THAT SUCH PERSON IS LIKELY
TO ENGAGE IN CONDUCT THAT WOULD RESULT IN SERIOUS
HARM TO SELF OR OTHERS, HE OR SHE SHALL BE
REQUIRED TO REPORT, AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, TO
THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY SERVICES, OR THE
DIRECTOR’S DESIGNEE, WHO SHALL REPORT TO THE
DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES WHENEVER HE
OR SHE AGREES THAT THE PERSON IS LIKELY TO ENGAGE
IN SUCH CONDUCT. INFORMATION TRANSMITTED TO THE
DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES SHALL BE
LIMITED TO NAMES AND OTHER NON-CLINICAL
IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, WHICH MAY ONLY BE USED
FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A LICENSE ISSUED PURSUANT
TO SECTION 400.00 OF THE PENAL LAW SHOULD BE
SUSPENDEDOR REVOKED, OR FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A
PERSON IS INELIGIBLE FOR ALICENSE ISSUED PURSUANT
TO SECTION 400.00 OF THE PENAL LAW, OR IS NO
LONGER PERMITTED UNDER STATE OR FEDERAL LAW TO POSSESS A FIREARM.
(C) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED
TO REQUIRE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO TAKE
ANY ACTION WHICH, IN THE EXERCISE OF REASONABLE
PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT, WOULD ENDANGER SUCH MENTAL
HEALTH PROFESSIONAL OR INCREASE THE DANGER TO A POTENTIAL VICTIM OR VICTIMS.
(D) THE DECISION OF A MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONAL TO DISCLOSE OR NOT TO DISCLOSE IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION, WHEN MADE
REASONABLY AND IN GOOD FAITH, SHALL NOT BE THE
BASIS FOR ANY CIVIL OR CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF SUCH MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/181280/va-wont-abide-by-reporting-provisions-of-safe/




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