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House Bill 249: Key Updates to Involuntary Hospitalization Law for Mental Health Providers

Client Alert

New amendments aim to expand the conditions for involuntary hospitalization of individuals with mental illness. The House Behavioral Committee’s fifth hearing on this proposed legislation was held on May 21, 2024, following its introduction on August 1, 2023. These changes are encapsulated in House Bill 249 (HB 249), which proposes modifications to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Sections 5122.01 and 5122.10.

Changes to ORC Section 5122.01: Definitions and Criteria
The proposed bill expands the definition of “person with a mental illness subject to court order” to now include a person with a mental illness who, because of the person's illness, represents a substantial risk of harm to self or others as manifested by evidence that indicates all of the following: (a) the person's judgment is impaired by a lack of understanding of having an illness or a need for treatment, or both; (b) the person refuses treatment or is not adhering to prescribed treatment; (c) the person has been diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: (i) Schizophrenia; (ii) Schizoaffective disorder; (iii) Bipolar disorder; (iv) Delusional disorder; (v) Major depressive disorder; and (d) if not treated, the person is reasonably expected to suffer mental deterioration.

Changes to ORC Section 5122.10: Custody and Examination Procedures
HB 249 also adds state highway patrol troopers to the list of individuals who may take a person into custody and immediately transport them to a hospital if the trooper has reason to believe the person has a mental illness subject to court order and represents a substantial risk of physical harm to self or others. Further, the bill introduces new requirements for personnel transporting persons with mental illness. Under the bill, the individual authorized to transport the person with mental illness must specify, in addition to their written statement describing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody, any available information about the person's history of mental illness, if that information has a reasonable bearing on the decision to transport the person. The additional information should include information from anyone who has provided mental health or related support services to the person being transported, information from one or more family members of the person being transported, or information from the person being transported or anyone designated to speak on the person's behalf. Service providers should carefully consider the implications of how this information will be managed and shared to ensure the privacy and dignity of individuals with mental health disorders. 

Additionally, if a licensed professional (including a licensed physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or health officer) determines that the hospitalized person does not meet the criteria for court-ordered mental health treatment, then the person may be discharged or released if they are medically stable, unless there is a court order for temporary detention. HB 249 also allows general hospitals to continue providing care to a person if the person is not medically stable at the end of the initial 24-hour period, until the person is stable enough for transfer to a hospital or inpatient unit licensed by OhioMHAS. If a general hospital cannot find a licensed behavioral health hospital to accept the person within 24 hours, then the general hospital can continue to provide care until a transfer is possible.

Please contact BMD Healthcare Member Daphne Kackloudis at or Attorney Jordan Burdick at with any questions.

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