Bill Description: This bill shortens from 30 days to 10 business days the length of time an inpatient facility must give notice prior to the discharge of a mentally ill patient.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
Idaho has policies in place, under certain circumstances, that provide for the involuntary detention of the mentally ill in a hospital, sanitorium, institution, mental health facility, or other similar organization. Said individuals are held at the facility until the director determines they are no longer mentally ill and will not pose a threat to society upon their release.
When these individuals are held in these facilities it comes at great expense. I.C. § 66-327 (c) mandates that the state—read taxpayers—cover all costs incurred by patients who are involuntarily placed into a facility throughout the entire duration of their time in the facility. Thus the costs associated with this policy fall on Idaho’s taxpayers.
This bill would reduce costs to the facilities and taxpayers by shortening the notice period required before the release of an inpatient. The present 30-day legally mandated notice period creates an inefficient use of scarce resources because it forces facilities to care for patients who have finished treatment and are already cleared to leave.
This extended 30-day stay in a state hospital costs approximately $15,000 for each patient. However, the extra 30-day stay creates an additional cost for the state because there is a shortage of beds in the state facilities. This means the state must pay other hospitals to hold patients waiting for entry. The cost for each patient in a hospital not run by the state ranges from $24,000 to $36,000 for the same 30-day stay, $9,000 to $21,000 higher than it costs at a state facility.
The total cost to the taxpayers per additional 30-day period ranges from $24,000 up to $36,000 when the increased cost of the private hospital and the extra stay in the state hospital are taken into account. By reducing this period to 10 business days (generally 14 calendar days) the state could reduce this total cost by as much as 50 percent.
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