A bill to sell the Utah State Hospital gets rewritten to expand mental health crisis care

Posted at 7:08 PM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 21:45:10-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that originally eyed selling the Utah State Hospital in Provo for development has been significantly rewritten.

Rep. Tyler Clancy's House Bill 299 was modified on Tuesday to remove provisions that would sell the Utah State Hospital's 300-acre campus for development with money earmarked for mental health services. As FOX 13 News first reported earlier this month, the land is prime real estate against the mountains and there has even been talk of turning it into a ski resort.

But Rep. Clancy, R-Provo, said it is not ready for that. There have been concerns about what to do with patients at the hospital. Utah's Department of Health & Human Services had reservations, so he will put that off for a while.

Instead, Rep. Clancy did something that won the support of mental health advocates: the bill now expands the length of time that someone can be held on a civil commitment from 24 hours to 72 hours. He argued it would give more time to evaluate someone in crisis and figure out what to do with them instead of just turning them out on the streets.

The bill won unanimous support from the House Judiciary Committee.

"Everyone who is experiencing a persistent mental health or acute mental health crisis, their story is going to be different so we want to make sure our tools reflect the current challenge," he told FOX 13 News after the hearing.

HB299 now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote.