Advocates for psychiatric patients say they don't want to see a relaxation of rules governing the use of involuntary treatment in the state's hospitals.
At a meeting Monday of an advisory group called the Mental Health Transformation Council, Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre heard extensive and vehement comments from advocates — some of them former mental health patients — that rules drafted by Dupre's department would harm patients' rights.
The department wants hospitals to be authorized to administer emergency medications without a doctor having met personally with a patient beforehand.
Advocates say that would violate state law by failing to keep up a standard that was in place at the now closed Vermont State Hospital.
But Dupre says patient rights can be maintained even if rules are changed.