House OKs Snyder bill clarifying minors’ consent for health services

HARRISBURG, June 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said the House of Representatives today unanimously passed her bill that would clarify when minors’ consent for mental health treatment is needed.

"Confusion surrounding consent issues is causing great pain to families frantic for help and the young people needing mental health examinations and treatments," Snyder said. "My House Bill 337 would end the delays to treatment and enable health care professionals to begin care expediently and responsibly."

Snyder said changes made in 2004 to the Minor Consent to Medical, Dental, and Health Services Act created confusion among providers, minors and parents regarding the rights of each.

"My bill would enable the state Department of Human Services to issue guidelines regarding minors’ consent to mental health treatment," Snyder said. "The regulations would detail the conditions when consent is needed, and provide for more uniform application of the standards so recovery-oriented programs can be implemented more quickly."

Snyder told her House colleagues that the legislation was prompted by a call from a family desperate to find help for their child. The family was stymied by the confusion surrounding the mental health law affecting minors.

"I believe that all of us – and the communities where we live – will be safer and stronger once the needed changes are made to the law," Snyder said.

H.B. 337 now heads to the state Senate for consideration.