2023 New York Laws
MHY - Mental Hygiene
Title A - Organization of Department of Mental Hygiene
Article 5 - Department of Mental Hygiene
5.05 - Powers and Duties of the Head of the Department.

§ 5.05 Powers and duties of the head of the department.

(a) The commissioners of the office of mental health and the office for people with developmental disabilities, as the heads of the department, shall jointly visit and inspect, or cause to be visited and inspected, all facilities either public or private used for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities in accordance with the requirements of section four of article seventeen of the New York state constitution.

(b) (1) The commissioners of the office of mental health, the office for people with developmental disabilities and the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services shall constitute an inter-office coordinating council which, consistent with the autonomy of each office for matters within its jurisdiction, shall ensure that the state policy for the prevention, care, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities, alcoholism, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, substance dependence, and chemical dependence is planned, developed and implemented comprehensively; that gaps in services to individuals with multiple disabilities are eliminated and that no person is denied treatment and services because he or she has more than one disability; that procedures for the regulation of programs which offer care and treatment for more than one class of persons with mental disabilities be coordinated between the offices having jurisdiction over such programs; and that research projects of the institutes, as identified in section 7.17 or 13.17 of this chapter or as operated by the office for people with developmental disabilities, are coordinated to maximize the success and cost effectiveness of such projects and to eliminate wasteful duplication.

(2) The inter-office coordinating council shall annually issue a report on its activities to the legislature on or before December thirty-first. Such annual report shall include, but not be limited to, the following information: proper treatment models and programs for persons with multiple disabilities and suggested improvements to such models and programs; research projects of the institutes and their coordination with each other; collaborations and joint initiatives undertaken by the offices of the department; consolidation of regulations of each of the offices of the department to reduce regulatory inconsistencies between the offices; inter-office or office activities related to workforce training and development; data on the prevalence, availability of resources and service utilization by persons with multiple disabilities; eligibility standards of each office of the department affecting clients suffering from multiple disabilities, and eligibility standards under which a client is determined to be an office's primary responsibility; agreements or arrangements on statewide, regional and local government levels addressing how determinations over client responsibility are made and client responsibility disputes are resolved; information on any specific cohort of clients with multiple disabilities for which substantial barriers in accessing or receiving appropriate care has been reported or is known to the inter-office coordinating council or the offices of the department; and coordination of planning, standards or services for persons with multiple disabilities between the inter-office coordinating council, the offices of the department and local governments in accordance with the local planning requirements set forth in article forty-one of this chapter.

(c) The commissioners shall meet from time to time with the New York state conference of local mental hygiene directors to assure consistent procedures in fulfilling the responsibilities required by this section and by article forty-one of this chapter.

(d) 1. The commissioner of mental health shall evaluate the type and level of care required by patients in the adult psychiatric centers authorized by section 7.17 of this chapter and develop appropriate comprehensive requirements for the staffing of inpatient wards. These requirements should reflect measurable need for administrative and direct care staff including physicians, nurses and other clinical staff, direct and related support and other support staff, established on the basis of sound clinical judgment. The staffing requirements shall include but not be limited to the following: (i) the level of care based on patient needs, including on ward activities, (ii) the number of admissions, (iii) the geographic location of each facility, (iv) the physical layout of the campus, and (v) the physical design of patient care wards.

2. Such commissioner, in developing the requirements, shall provide for adequate ward coverage on all shifts taking into account the number of individuals expected to be off the ward due to sick leave, workers' compensation, mandated training and all other off ward leaves.

3. The staffing requirements shall be designed to reflect the legitimate needs of facilities so as to ensure full accreditation and certification by appropriate regulatory bodies. The requirements shall reflect appropriate industry standards. The staffing requirements shall be fully measurable.

4. The commissioner of mental health shall submit an interim report to the governor and the legislature on the development of the staffing requirements on October first, nineteen hundred eighty-eight and again on April first, nineteen hundred eighty-nine. The commissioner shall submit a final report to the governor and the legislature no later than October first, nineteen hundred eighty-nine and shall include in his report a plan to achieve the staffing requirements and the length of time necessary to meet these requirements.

(e) The commissioners of the office of mental health, office for people with developmental disabilities, and the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services shall cause to have all new contracts with agencies and providers licensed by the offices to have a clause requiring notice be provided to all current and new employees of such agencies and providers stating that all instances of abuse shall be investigated pursuant to this chapter, and, if an employee leaves employment prior to the conclusion of a pending abuse investigation, the investigation shall continue. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any other law or regulation or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.

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