Government News
N.Y. Governor Vetoes Bill Mandating ECT Reports
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 21 page 5-5

New York Gov. George Pataki (R) vetoed legislation that would have required the reporting of data about the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to the state’s Office of Mental Health.

The bill was strongly opposed by the New York State Psychiatric Association (NYSPA), whose opposition was noted in remarks Pataki made when he vetoed the bill. Pataki also drew attention to APA’s endorsement of ECT as a safe and effective treatment.

The measure, SB 2691, was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of the state legislature and supported by the Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. It would have required all facilities and practitioners engaged in the use of ECT to report to the State Office of Mental Health the number of persons who receive ECT, the number of instances involuntary ECT orders are sought, the diagnoses of those receiving ECT, the type and condition of equipment used to administer ECT, sources of payment for ECT, and an assessment of injuries caused by ECT.

"While I understand and appreciate the concern over a procedure that many believe to have been misused in the past, I am advised by the Office of Mental Health, the New York State Psychiatric Association, and the Greater New York Hospital Association that ECT is a safe and effective treatment for certain forms of mental illness," Pataki said.

"Indeed, for patients with serious and often life-threatening mental illnesses for whom medication has not proven safe or effective, ECT may be the only available treatment," he said. "For these reasons, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in New York State, which advocates on behalf of patients with mental illness, recognizes ECT as an accepted, safe, and effective medical treatment endorsed by the surgeon general, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Institutes of Health."

In a "memorandum of opposition" to the bill—and to three other pieces of legislation aimed at regulating ECT, which the state legislature had not approved—the NYSPA stated, "Most of the data required under the bill are already available under the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS). We see no reason why the existing data-reporting system used by hospitals for all diagnoses and treatment is not sufficient for ECT."

In reference to all four of the bills, the NYSPA stated they were "based upon the unsupported assertion. . . that ECT is a particularly dangerous or risky procedure and therefore warrants special legislation to impose special restrictions and preconditions for the administration of ECT."

The NYSPA statement also listed mortality statistics showing that the percentage of deaths associated with ECT was lower than that for surgeries such as coronary bypass surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery.

The NYSPA statement can be accessed on the Web at www.nyspsych.org/public/components/societytools/admin/viewNewnews.asp? by clicking on "Legislative Updates" and "ECT Bills—Memo in Opposition."

Interactive Graphics


Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles