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Revisiting The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act: We Dive Into CA’s Audit On Involuntary Health Treatment




An unhoused person rests beneath a blanket on Sunset Boulevard amid the COVID-19 pandemic on July 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
An unhoused person rests beneath a blanket on Sunset Boulevard amid the COVID-19 pandemic on July 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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A report out today from California’s auditor says L.A. County needs to do more to make sure people with serious mental illness get ongoing care.

The audit took a look at the implementation of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a law that’s meant to prevent people with serious mental illnesses from being committed to psychiatric facilities indefinitely.

For years, advocates have said the act needs an update though, because it makes it too difficult to force treatment for people who otherwise end up cycling through incarceration and homelessness. The audit found that the act already allows for sufficient involuntary treatment. At the same time, auditors found that L.A. County needs to do more to link people with community-based treatment once the involuntary hold is over. In its response to the audit, L.A. County said it has “worked tirelessly to transform the way in which mental health services are delivered within the county for those requiring involuntary treatment and/or conservatorship.” The audit also recommends that the state releases information to counties so they can better keep track of who’s received involuntary treatment.

With files from LAist. Read the full story here.

Guests:

Jen Flory, policy advocate at Western Center on Law and Poverty, an organization providing legal representation and policy advocacy on behalf of Californians experiencing poverty; she tweets @JenAFlory

Jonathan Sherin, M.D., director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; he tweets @directorLACDMH