Montana State Legislature

HJR 39: Dementia-Related Involuntary Commitments

HJR 39: Commitment of persons with Dementia

House Joint Resolution 39 requested a study of the use of involuntary commitments for people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. At its September 2021 meeting, the committee learned about the number of people with dementia who are committed to the Montana State Hospital and Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center and about the laws governing the involuntary commitment process.

In November, the committee members heard presentations involving dementia and the most appropriate and least restrictive for individuals with dementia, including those who are exhibiting behavioral problems. 

At a March 2022 meeting focusing on an Immediate Jeopardy notice issued for the Montana State Hospital, members agreed to proceed with the drafting of two committee bills for future consideration. One would establish a transition process to eliminate involuntary commitment of  individuals with dementia and traumatic brain injury, while the other would give the state protection and advocacy entity access to reports of abuse, neglect, and serious incidents at the State Hospital.

The committee reviewed the bill drafts in May. Based on public comment, members agreed to make several changes to the bill to transition people out of the State Hospital. The committee in June approved changes to bill draft HJR 39-1 to limit involuntary commitment of individuals with a primary diagnosis of dementia or TBI to only those instances where a person poses a danger to self or others. Commitment would not be allowed after July 1, 2025, for people with those primary diagnoses if they only meet commitment criteria related to being unable to provide for their basic needs.  

The committee also approved as a committee bill HJR 39-2, which requires DPHHS to share reports of abuse and neglect at the State Hospital with the state protection and advocacy organization.

A final report for the 2021-2022 interim summarizes the committee's work on this study, as well as studies of the children's mental health system and the adult mental health system.

Meeting Materials: June 27, 2022, Meeting

Meeting Materials: May 13, 2022, Meeting

Meeting Materials: March 4, 2022: Montana State Hospital Meeting

Meeting Materials: November 22, 2021

Meeting Materials: September 22, 2021

Meeting Materials: June 16, 2021

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