COLUMBUS—State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) last week introduced Senate Bill 2, legislation improving access to and quality of mental healthcare in Ohio by making significant reforms to Ohio's competency restoration procedure.
"Improving access to and quality of mental healthcare has been a priority of mine even before I became a member of the Senate," said Gavarone. "To have this be my first bill this session is very meaningful to me and I am excited to get to work!"
Senate Bill 2 would change the way competency evaluation and restoration is done in Ohio for non-violent misdemeanor offenders, with a focus on connecting people to treatment, ending the revolving door through the court system, and freeing up state psychiatric hospital beds, which are in critically short supply.
"State psychiatric hospitals are the only facilities equipped to treat people with the most serious mental illnesses, and SB 2 will help ensure those beds are available to those with the greatest need," added Gavarone.
The legislation will also enact ‘PSYPACT', a multi-state cooperative agreement that seeks to address increased demand for psychological services.
The bill would authorize tele-psychology and temporarily allow in-person psychology across states that have adopted PSYPACT. The legislation would increase patient access to care and facilitate continuity of care when a patient relocates or is traveling. Additionally the PSYPACT permits psychologists to provide services to populations that are underserved or geographically isolated.