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WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE
5510. (a) The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(1) The State of California accepts its responsibility to ensure
and uphold the right of persons with mental disabilities and an
obligation, to be executed by the State Department of Mental Health,
to ensure that mental health laws, regulations and policies on the
rights of recipients of mental health services are observed and
protected in state hospitals and in licensed health and community
(2) Persons with mental disabilities are vulnerable to abuse,
neglect, and unreasonable and unlawful deprivations of their rights.
(3) Patients' rights advocacy and investigative services
concerning patient abuse and neglect currently provided by the State
Department of Mental Health, including the department's Office of
Human Rights and investigator, and state hospital patients' rights
advocates and state hospital investigators may have conflicts of
interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.
(4) The services provided to patients and their families is of
such a special and unique nature that they must be contracted out
pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 19130 of the
(b) Therefore, to avoid the potential for a conflict of interest
or the appearance of a conflict of interest, it is the intent of the
Legislature that the patients' rights advocacy and investigative
services described in this article be provided by a single contractor
specified in Section 5370.2 that meets both of the following
(1) The contractor can demonstrate the capability to provide
statewide advocacy services for persons with mental disabilities.
(2) The contractor has no direct or indirect responsibility for
providing services to persons with mental disabilities, except
(c) For the purposes of this article, the Legislature further
finds and declares, because of a potential conflict of interest or
the appearance of a conflict of interest, that the goals and purposes
of the state patients' rights advocacy and investigative services
cannot be accomplished through the utilization of persons selected
pursuant to the regular state civil service system. Accordingly, the
contracts into which the department enters pursuant to this section
are permitted and authorized by paragraphs (3) and (5) of subdivision
(b) of Section 19130 of the Government Code. The State Department
of Mental Health shall contract with a single nonprofit entity to
provide for the protection and advocacy services to persons with
mental disabilities. The entity shall be responsible for ensuring
that mental health laws, regulations, and policies on the rights of
recipients of mental health services are observed in state hospitals
and in licensed health and community care facilities.
(d) The findings and declarations of potential conflict of
interest provided in this section shall not apply to advocacy
services provided under Article 3 (commencing with Section 5520).
5511. The Director of Mental Health or the executive director of
each state hospital serving mentally disordered persons may contract
with independent persons or agencies to perform patients' rights
advocacy services in state hospitals.
5512. Training of county patients' rights advocates shall be
provided by the contractor specified in Section 5510 responsible for
the provision of protection and advocacy services to persons with
mental disabilities. Training shall be directed at ensuring that all
county patients' rights advocates possess:
(a) Knowledge of the service system, financial entitlements, and
service rights of persons receiving mental health services. This
knowledge shall include, but need not be limited to, knowledge of
available treatment and service resources in order to ensure timely
access to treatment and services.
(b) Knowledge of patients' rights in institutional and community
(c) Knowledge of civil commitment statutes and procedures.
(d) Knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations affecting
recipients of mental health services.
(e) Ability to work effectively and respectfully with service
recipients and providers, public administrators, community groups,
and the judicial system.
(f) Skill in interviewing and counseling service recipients,
including giving information and appropriate referrals.
(g) Ability to investigate and assess complaints and screen for
(h) Knowledge of administrative and judicial due process
proceedings in order to provide representation at administrative
hearings and to assist in judicial hearings when necessary to carry
out the intent of Section 5522 regarding cooperation between
advocates and legal representatives.
(i) Knowledge of, and commitment to, advocacy ethics and
(j) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1996.
5513. The Patients' Rights Office shall serve as a liaison between
county patients' rights advocates and the State Department of Mental
5514. There shall be a five-person Patients' Rights Subcommittee of
the California Council on Mental Health. This subcommittee,
supplemented by two ad hoc members appointed by the chairperson of
the subcommittee, shall advise the Director of Mental Health
regarding department policies and practices that affect patients'
rights. The subcommittee shall also review the advocacy and patients'
rights components of each county Short-Doyle plan and advise the
Director of Mental Health concerning the adequacy of each plan in
protecting patients' rights. The ad hoc members of the subcommittee
shall be persons with substantial experience in establishing and
providing independent advocacy services to recipients of mental