House Passes Bernstine Bill to Protect Mental Health Patients from Abuse

HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation, authored by Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence), which would ensure Pennsylvanians receiving mental health care have legal protection from those seeking to do them harm.

“Mental health issues can impact anyone, at any time, and without this safeguard on our books, we would be failing to protect a lot of our citizens from potential abuse and neglect. That’s unacceptable.”

House Bill 835 would update the Mental Health Procedures Act to state that persons in treatment for mental health issues have a right to be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Currently, mental health patients are not specifically protected under statute.

“Patient advocacy groups in Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties brought this legal loophole to my attention,” Bernstine said. “Without the specific statutory protection, victims of abuse have had difficulty holding their perpetrators accountable.

House Bill 835 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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