This episode of EMS One-Stop with Rob Lawrence is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit lexipol.com.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently announced a directive for police and emergency medical workers to hospitalize people on the streets and subways who have severe, untreated mental illness. Adams said the directive was an effort to curb a recent wave of crimes involving people experiencing homelessness and will allow law enforcement and EMS to involuntarily hospitalize people who pose a danger to themselves, even if they don’t pose a risk to others.
The directive, which has been met with major concern – as voiced in a New York Times op-ed by an FDNY Paramedic Lieutenant, is fraught with concerns in the burden being placed on EMS to solve the mental health crisis.
In this episode of EMS One-Stop, Doug Wolfberg, EMS attorney and founding partner of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC, joins host Rob Lawrence to discuss how the directive is a departure from the usual mental health standard.
“The Mayor’s office is using a very aggressive and untested interpretation of the state mental health law to essentially deputize EMS clinicians to involuntarily remove anyone who is mentally ill and unable to meet their own basic needs,” Wolfberg notes.
Why politicians shouldn’t dictate clinical standards of care
“EMS providers are effectively being required to intervene and transport persons merely because they are homeless and apparently mentally ill”