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March 01, 2024

Virginia’s “Irvo” Law - Preserving a Family Member or Caregiver’s Access to a Patient Being Treated For a Mental Health Crisis.

The Virginia House and Senate recently passed a law nicknamed “Irvo’s Law,” which was inspired by a Henrico County man named Irvo Otieno who recently died at a hospital while suffering from a mental health crisis.  After being admitted pursuant to an emergency custody order (“ECO”) in March 2023, Mr. Otieno was killed when Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies and hospital staff held him on the ground for twelve minutes.  While he was admitted, Mr. Otieno’s mother tried to visit him because she had been able to calm him down during a prior crisis.  However,  her requests to visit Mr. Otieno were denied.  Irvo’s Law amends Virginia Code §§ 37.2-808, 37.2-809 to provide that mental health evaluators or health care providers “shall allow a family member or legal guardian of the individual subject to evaluation who is present, and who may provide support and supportive decision-making, to be present with the individual unless the individual objects or the evaluator or treating physician determines that the presence of any such person would create a medical, clinical, or safety risk to the patient or health care provider or interferes with patient care.”

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