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Coalition for Fresh Air Rights (CFAR)

Coalition for Fresh Air Rights
(Rep. Smizik)
(Sen. Jehlen)

  • For psychiatric patients, access to the outdoors and to fresh air is essential for recovery from a psychiatric crisis.
  • Unfortunately for most patients this is denied or very limited
  • Most patients are in locked units in hospitals for 24 hours a day from admission until discharge without exposure to the outdoors.
  • Most patients feel that exposure to fresh air would aid in their recovery
  • Although some hospitals have begun to provide separate outdoor space, several private hospitals and some state facilities no longer permit psychiatric patients to experience the outdoors.
  • Limited access to fresh air and the outdoors affects almost 4,000 patients.
  • Access to fresh air could be enormously helpful in the successful implementation of the Restraint and Seclusion Reduction and Elimination regulations.
  • Fresh air access is in keeping with many state and federal laws, including: the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Supreme Court's Olmstead Act of 1999, and the Massachusetts Constitution.
  1. This legislation can help speed the recovery of psychiatric patients by providing access to the benefits of daily outdoor visits
  2. In particular, the bill adds the right to daily fresh air to the Five Fundamental Rights already existing in the law.
  3. Under this legislation, all patients receiving services from the Department of mental Health or any licensed facility by the Department will be afforded access to the outdoors.

This legislation is supported by the Coalition for Fresh Air Rights (CFAR), a joint project of M-POWER (Massachusetts People/patients Organized for Wellness, Empowerment and Rights, The Disability Law Center, The Protection and Advocacy System of Massachusetts who are funding and staffing the project. For more info contact Jon Dosick, at 617-442-4111 ext. 368