Jul. 05, 2018

HARRISBURG — Reps. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) and Pam Snyder (D- Greene/Fayette/Washington) today issued the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) issuing a new bulletin on guidance for the minors’ right to consent law:

“I’m pleased to see the department finally step up and issue this clarification in order to clear up confusion about the rights of parents and minors surrounding mental health treatment under the 2004 law,” Ortitay said. “Rep. Snyder and I have been working legislatively for several years to resolve this issue. I’m hopeful this new information will force the providers who were only allowing the minor child to consent to end this practice. Instead, under the law, parents have the right to and should be allowed to secure mental health treatment for their children. While this will not bring back the young girl from my district who didn’t receive mental the health treatment her mother sought, I hope this change will save others.”

Regarding the new bulletin, Snyder said, “This administrative action essentially achieves what I and Rep. Ortitay have been seeking via legislation, which is clarity on a law put on the books in 2004. That law had a good intention, in that it allowed minors to consent to mental health examinations and treatment without parental consent. But because health care providers were interpreting the law differently, it meant that in some cases parents who knew or suspected that their child had a mental health issue were frozen out of the process. They could send their child for help, but if the child told a health care professional he or she didn’t think it was necessary, that’s often where it ended because the doctor couldn’t even discuss the case with the parents. This new rule restores some balance to the equation. And it accomplishes the same goal as bills that I authored that passed the House in the last two legislative sessions.”

Ortitay’s legislation is House Bill 2126, while Snyder’s is House Bill 381.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Representative Pam Snyder
50th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
RepOrtitay.com / Facebook.com/RepOrtitay
pahouse.com/Snyder / Facebook.com/RepSnyder