Some Massachusetts hospitals are leery of Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to file legislation that would let physicians hold opioid addicts involuntarily for up to three days.
The skeptics among providers say that holding patients, or civil commitment, doesn’t address the pressing need for treatment services on a voluntary basis, and would exacerbate hospital overcrowding.
“Instead of getting to the point where these patients need to be civilly committed, let’s make sure the system is integrated enough that they don’t have to be committed,” Pail MacKinnon, chief operating officer of UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, told the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.
“The reason some of these patients come in (to the emergency department) is because there’s nothing out in the community to help them,” he said.
Moreover, some hospital leaders say, fear of being held against their will may scare some addicted patients away from seeking treatment.