Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday that the city is adopting the state’s expanded interpretation of the circumstances under which apparently mentally ill people can be forcibly transported to a hospital.
“In short, we are confirming that a person’s ‘inability to meet basic needs,’ to the extent that it poses a risk of harm, is part of the standard for mental health interventions,” he said.
That “basic needs” standard that first-responders are being asked to use has alarmed critics of Adams’ directive.
What You Need To Know
The city is adopting the state’s expanded interpretation of the circumstances under which apparently mentally ill people can be forcibly transported to a hospital
Mayor Eric Adams said police and others will be trained on the new policy
A NY1 look at the training shows an evaluation of a person’s ability to care for themselves includes “overt symptoms” and “decisional capacity”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams sent a letter to the mayor asking if first responders will be protected against lawsuits
In a letter to Adams released Friday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams asked, “How will police officers and EMS be trained on how to recognize people who would fall under involuntary removal given that it is deemed subjective?”
He also asked, “What protections will EMS, NYPD, and health care providers have against lawsuits for false imprisonment?”
Adams, who was traveling in Qatar on Friday, had said Tuesday at City Hall, “what we’re saying to our responders that we want you to be engaged, make the right determination if a person is not taking care of their basic needs, and if you can’t answer the question, call the clinical experts.”
While a city memo released earlier this week lays out the steps for how agencies like the health and police departments should work together in the field, it doesn’t detail what constitutes “an inability to meet basic living needs.”
Adams said police and others will be trained on the new policy.
A NY1 look Friday at what that training entails shows an evaluation of a person’s ability to care for themselves includes “overt symptoms” and “decisional capacity.”
City health officials had said the decision on whether someone must be removed from the streets or subway will depend on several factors.
“I think that one of the tricky things about this is that you’re really going to have to look at the cases, case by case,” Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor for health and human services, said Tuesday. “Because we’re really looking at people who not only can’t meet their basic needs but also that’s causing them to be in danger.”
NYC Health + Hospitals president Dr. Mitch Katz, as a clinician, has determined who should be transported to a hospital.
“Good city workers who see things, as the mayor says, that are troubling have the ability to say, ‘you need to come for a full evaluation,’” he said Tuesday.
But Adams is directing first-responders to make people come for an evaluation.
New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman on Friday said Adams’ plan potentially violated people’s rights.
“The mayor is conflating homelessness with the inability to meet basic needs in order to justify throwing the NYPD at a challenge they will worsen,” she said.