– Legislation authored by Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) to improve notification standards when someone in drug or alcohol treatment leaves against medical advice was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf this week. It is now Act 41 of 2021. The new law is being referred to as Heather’s Law.
“Heather was a young lady who checked herself out of a treatment facility without anyone in her family being aware and 12 hours later she overdosed and passed away,” Nelson said. “This new law aims to prevent similar tragedies.”
Act 41 will now require treatment facilities to notify an emergency contact designated by the patient if they leave the facility against medical advice and have not revoked consent. The call must occur no later than 12 hours after the patient leaves.
“Notification is a commonsense policy designed to save lives,” Nelson said. “This was a team effort, we worked with Heather’s parents, recovery organizations such as Sage’s Army, and the Westmoreland County Drug Task Force to get this important issue across the finish line.”
The law will take effect in 60 days.
The 57th Legislative District includes the following Westmoreland County communities: the city of Greensburg; the townships of Hempfield (part) and Salem; and the boroughs of Delmont, Hunker, New Stanton, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg and Youngwood.