Modifications To Civil Involuntary Commitment
Current law sets forth emergency procedures to transport a person for a screening and to detain a person for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation if the person appears to have a mental health disorder, and as a result of the mental health disorder, appears to be an imminent danger to the person's self or others or appears to be gravely disabled. Current law also sets forth procedures to certify a person for short-term or long-term care and treatment if the person has a mental health disorder, and as a result of the mental health disorder, is a danger to the person's self or others or is gravely disabled. The act modifies these procedures by:
- Transferring duties of the executive director of the department of human services to the commissioner (commissioner) of the behavioral health administration (BHA);
- Limiting who can take a person into protective custody and transport the person to an outpatient mental health facility, a facility designated by the commissioner (designated facility), or an emergency medical services facility (EMS facility) if the person has probable cause to believe a person is experiencing a behavioral health crisis;
- Requiring the facility where the person is transported to require an application, in writing, stating the circumstances and specific facts under which the person's condition was called to the attention of a certified peace officer or intervening professional;
- Requiring an intervening professional to screen the person immediately or within 8 hours after the person's arrival at the facility to determine if the person meets the criteria for an emergency mental health hold;
- Establishing certain rights for a person being transported, which must be explained prior to transporting the person;
- Effective July 1, 2023:
- Subjecting a person who files a malicious or false petition for an evaluation of a respondent to criminal prosecution;
- Authorizing a certified peace officer to transport a person to an EMS facility even if a warrant has been issued for the person's arrest, if the certified peace officer believes it is in the best interest of the person;
- Authorizing an intervening professional or certified peace officer to initiate an emergency mental health hold at the time of screening the respondent;
- Authorizing a secure transportation provider to take a respondent into custody and transport the person to an EMS facility or designated facility for an emergency mental health hold;
- Expanding the list of professionals who may terminate the emergency mental health hold;
- Requiring the evaluation to be completed using a standardized form approved by the commissioner;
- Requiring an EMS facility to immediately notify the BHA if a person is evaluated and the evaluating professional determines that the person continues to meet the criteria for an emergency mental health hold and the facility cannot locate appropriate placement;
- Requiring the BHA to support the EMS facility in locating an appropriate placement option. If an appropriate placement option cannot be located, the act authorizes the EMS facility to place the person under a subsequent emergency mental health hold and requires the court to immediately appoint an attorney.
- Authorizing a designated facility to place the person under a subsequent emergency mental health hold if the person has been recently transferred from an EMS facility to the designated facility and the designated facility is unable to complete the evaluation before the initial emergency mental health hold is set to expire; and
- Requiring the facility to provide the person with discharge instructions; facilitate a follow-up appointment within 7 calendar days after discharge; attempt to follow up with the person 48 hours after discharge; and encourage the person to designate a family member, friend, or lay person to participate in the person's discharge planning.
- Effective January 1, 2024:
- Authorizing the BHA to delegate physical custody of the respondent to a designated facility;
- Requiring an extended certification to be filed with the court at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the original certification;
- Establishing requirements for a short-term or long-term certification on an outpatient basis; and
- Requiring the outpatient treatment provider, in collaboration with the BHA, to develop a treatment plan for the respondent and requiring the BHA to create a one-step grievance process for the respondent related to the respondent's treatment plan or provider.
The act establishes a right to an attorney for a person certified for short-term or long-term care and treatment, regardless of income.
The act establishes certain rights for a person transported or detained for an emergency mental health hold or certified on an outpatient basis. The act modifies current rights for a person certified for short-term or long-term care and treatment on an inpatient basis.
Beginning January 1, 2025, the act requires the BHA to annually submit a report to the general assembly on the outcomes and effectiveness of the involuntary commitment system, disaggregated by region, including any recommendations to improve the system and outcomes for persons involuntarily committed or certified.
The act appropriates $522,433 to the department of human services, $177,426 to the department of law, and $86,700 to the judicial department.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)