June 18, 2013

Mental-health agencies eye new gun law


Police also have legal clearance to execute a pickup order, she said, though it is issued only if there is no other way to ensure the patient will seek treatment, she said.

“We’d prefer that the person would just go the emergency room,” Gillette said.

While the number the orders her office issues each year varies, it’s usually around 50, she said.

Since the SAFE Act reporting requirements are so new, it’s difficult to assess its impact thus far, Gillette said.

But she doesn’t think that gun law is the answer to protecting the public from violent criminals who use guns to hurt others.

“I’m not sure that this is it. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is not (the answer).

“The thing is, when you look at the whole picture ... what is the whole picture telling you?” she said. “It’s a much larger issue than people who have mental illness who present a risk.”

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While the NY SAFE Act's mental-health-reporting requirement went into effect March 16, its online portal proved troublesome for agencies attempting to make use of it.

"There were a lot of bugs to iron out," said Sherrie Gillette, director of community services at Clinton County Mental Heath and Addiction Services. "It took a while to work it out."

Just recently, her office began using the portal.

As of yet, CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh does not.

"Right now, we are following what we understand the law to be," Sharon Schmidt-Twiss, director of behavioral health services at CVPH Medical Center, said.

Using guidance from legal counsel, the hospital created a form based on SAFE Act reporting requirements, said Rosemary Reif, CVPH vice president of patient care strategic operations.

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