Los Angeles County officials gave final approval yesterday for court-ordered intensive outpatient treatment for people with serious mental illness. reports the Los Angeles Times. The Board of Supervisors approved a mental health services plan that includes implementing Laura's Law, adopted in California after a mental health patient launched a shooting rampage at a clinic that killed 19-year-old employee Laura Wilcox and two others.
Yesterday’s unanimous vote creates 300 new treatment slots for people with serious mental health issues and allows hiring to begin for mental health workers to reach out to potential patients. In some cases, the county can seek a court order to require treatment. Los Angeles County launched a small program soon after Laura’s Law took effect in 2003, targeting patients with serious mentally illness for intensive outpatient treatment. That program was strictly voluntary. The new program allows for court-ordered treatment of those who refuse voluntary programs. Supervisors approved spending $1.6 million in state money to set up the program, including salaries for 18 mental health workers. They will form two outreach teams that will assess patients referred by family members, law enforcement, treatment providers and others.