PhD candidate responds to proposed NYC involuntary hospitalization policy

Amanda Anderson.

Published February 9, 2023

Amanda Anderson says expanding the interpretation of New York’s mental hygiene law is complex, problematic


In late 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams proposed a new policy that allows an expanded use of involuntary hospitalization for people experiencing mental illness and homelessness. The policy would mean that officials could detain people who display “an inability to meet basic living needs,” whereas the existing policy allows for detention of individuals deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others.

Anderson, MSN, MPA, RN, who has a health care administration background and studies care coordination and cross-sector collaboration to improve outcomes of medically complex homeless patients, says this new policy could mean a sudden increase in hospitalized patients. And, she says, the policy lacks a clear strategy to transition these individuals back into the community. Successful transition of patients experiencing homelessness is complex and time consuming, resulting in higher rates of readmission, among other issues.

Anderson says cross-sector collaboration – individuals and organizations working across sectors such as health care and social services -- is imperative to successfully transitioning patients experiencing homelessness and mental illness. Cross-sector collaboration is challenging, she says, so “a more developed and intentional strategy” is vital to improving outcomes for these patients.

You can read Anderson’s full blog post and recommendations in Off the Charts, the blog of the American Journal of Nursing.

More information on Anderson's research

Amanda Anderson and Associate Professor Sharon Hewner, PhD, RN, FAAN, are participants in the Robert Wood Johnson Foudnation’s Clinical Scholars Program. Learn more about their project, is titled “Crossing Sectors Together: Forging a New Path Home for Medically Complex Chronically Homeless Patients.”

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