ETX state rep. files "Duty to Protect" legislation - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

ETX state rep. files "Duty to Protect" legislation

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

State Representative Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches filed a House Bill which claims to offer more protection to health professionals, their patients, and the community.

It's House Bill 1213, also known as "Duty to Protect" to Legislation in hopes that it will prevent another tragedy like the movie theater shooting in Colorado.

"It would add more legal protections and it would also provide more specific guidance to therapists and counselors on what are you to do and under what circumstances," says licensed professional counselor, Wade French.

French says confidentiality currently exist between patient and doctor, with certain exceptions.

"One, if they tell you they abused a child, if they've abused an elderly person, or if you believe they are in eminent danger of harming themselves or others," says French.

It's the same existent law in Colorado, and sure enough, James Holmes gave an impression to his counselor weeks before the shooting, making the counselor believe he was dangerous.

"Therapists could make the disclosure, break confidentiality and warn people, but they did so with their own peril. Which means they would be open to some kind of litigation," says French.

Representative Travis Clardy says he believes mental health professionals should be free from prosecution in the court of law for doing their duty to protect Texans.

"In the end, it still always boils down to judgement and what would be reasonable," says French.

Representative Travis Clardy says the bill would expand disclosure to potential victims of patient threats. The bill also expands immunity for a mental health professional who discloses this information in good faith.

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