Current Status Introducing Body:
HouseBill Number: 4108Ratification Number: 327Act Number: 296Primary Sponsor: P. HarrisType of Legislation: GBSubject: Mental illness, emergency commitmentCompanion Bill Number: 1117Date Bill Passed both Bodies: Mar 12, 1992Computer Document Number: BR1/1891.ACGovernor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: Mar 26, 1992Introduced Date: Jan 14, 1992Last History Body: ------Last History Date: Mar 26, 1992Last History Type: Act No. 296Scope of Legislation: StatewideAll Sponsors: P. Harris Carnell J. Harris MattosType of Legislation: General Bill
Bill Body Date Action Description CMN ---- ------ ------------ ------------------------------ --- 4108 ------ Mar 26, 1992 Act No. 296 4108 ------ Mar 26, 1992 Signed by Governor 4108 ------ Mar 25, 1992 Ratified R 327 4108 Senate Mar 12, 1992 Read third time, enrolled for ratification 4108 Senate Mar 11, 1992 Read second time 4108 Senate Mar 10, 1992 Committee Report: Favorable 13 4108 Senate Feb 25, 1992 Introduced, read first time, 13 referred to Committee 4108 House Feb 21, 1992 Read third time, sent to Senate 4108 House Feb 20, 1992 Read second time, unanimous consent for third reading on next Legislative day 4108 House Feb 19, 1992 Committee Report: Favorable 27 4108 House Jan 14, 1992 Introduced, read first time, 27 referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
(A296, R327, H4108)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 44-17-410, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO EMERGENCY COMMITMENT PROCEDURES FOR MENTAL ILLNESS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IF A PERSON WHO IS COMMITTED IS FOUND NOT TO BE MENTALLY ILL BUT CHEMICALLY DEPENDENT AND IF PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCY ADMISSION FOR CHEMICAL DEPENDENCE HAVE BEEN INITIATED, THEN THE PERSON MUST NOT BE DISCHARGED BUT MUST BE TRANSFERRED TO AN APPROPRIATE FACILITY; TO AMEND SECTIONS 44-17-430, 44-17-440, AND 44-17-530, RELATING TO TAKING INTO CUSTODY AND TRANSPORTING PERSONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF EMERGENCY COMMITMENT AND EXAMINATION FOR MENTAL ILLNESS, SO AS TO CHANGE REFERENCES FROM "OFFICER OF THE PEACE" TO "STATE OR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER"; TO AMEND SECTION 44-17-870, RELATING TO TAKING CUSTODY OF A PERSON INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED TO A FACILITY WHO IS ABSENT WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION, SO AS TO DELETE OBSOLETE PROVISIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 44-52-60, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO EMERGENCY COMMITMENT PROCEDURES FOR CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IF A PERSON WHO IS COMMITTED IS FOUND NOT TO BE CHEMICALLY DEPENDENT BUT MENTALLY ILL AND IF PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCY ADMISSION FOR MENTAL ILLNESS HAVE BEEN INITIATED THEN THE PETITION MUST BE DISMISSED, AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE APPROPRIATE COMMITMENT PROCEDURES, THE PERSON MUST BE DETAINED AND MUST BE TRANSFERRED TO AN APPROPRIATE FACILITY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Mental health, emergency admissions
SECTION 1. Section 44-17-410 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 30 of 1991, is further amended to read:
"Section 44-17-410. A person may be admitted to a public or private hospital, mental health clinic, or mental health facility for emergency admission upon:
(1) written affidavit under oath by a person stating:
(a) a belief that the person is mentally ill and because of this condition is likely to cause serious harm to himself or others if not immediately hospitalized;
(b) the specific type of serious harm thought probable if the person is not immediately hospitalized and the factual basis for this belief;
(2) a certification in triplicate by at least one licensed physician stating that the physician has examined the person and is of the opinion that the person is mentally ill and because of this condition is likely to cause harm to himself through neglect, inability to care for himself, or personal injury or otherwise or to others if not immediately hospitalized. The certification must contain the grounds for the opinion. A person for whom a certificate has been issued may not be admitted on the basis of that certificate after the expiration of three calendar days after the date of the examination;
(3) within forty-eight hours after admission, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the place of admission shall forward the affidavit and certification to the probate court of the county in which the person resides or where the acts or conduct leading to the hospitalization occurred.
Within forty-eight hours of receipt of the affidavit and certification exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the court shall conduct preliminary review of all the evidence to determine if probable cause exists to continue emergency detention of the patient. If the court finds that probable cause does not exist, it shall issue an order of release for the patient. Upon a finding of probable cause, the court shall make a written order detailing its findings and may order the continued detention of the patient.
With each affidavit and certification, the treatment facility shall provide the court with a designated examiner appointment form listing the names of two designated examiners at the treatment facility.
If the court appoints these two designated examiners, the examination must be performed at the treatment facility and a report must be submitted to the court within seven days from the date of admission. The court may appoint independent designated examiners who shall submit a report to the court within the time allotted above. In the process of examination by the designated examiners, previous hospitalization records must be considered. At least one of the examiners appointed by the court must be a licensed physician.
If the report of the designated examiners is that the patient is not mentally ill, the court shall dismiss the petition and the patient must be discharged immediately by the facility unless the designated examiners report that the patient is a chemically dependent person in need of emergency commitment and that procedures have been initiated pursuant to Section 44-52-50. In which case, emergency commitment procedures must be complied with in accordance with Chapter 52, and the facility shall transfer the patient to an appropriate treatment facility as defined by Section 44-52-10, provided that confirmation has been obtained from the facility that a bed is available; transportation must be provided by the department.
If the report of the designated examiners is that the patient is mentally ill, the court may order that the person be detained, appoint counsel for the patient if counsel has not been retained, and fix a date for a full hearing to be held pursuant to Section 44-17-570 within fifteen days from the date of admission. The court shall give notice of the hearing pursuant to Section 44-17-420.
The examiners' report must be available to the person's counsel before the full hearing. The person must be given the opportunity to request an independent designated examiner pursuant to Section 44-17-530."
Examination of patient under emergency admission
SECTION 2. Section 44-17-430 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-17-430. If a person believed to be mentally ill and because of this condition likely to cause serious harm if not immediately hospitalized cannot be examined by at least one licensed physician pursuant to Section 44-17-410 because the person's whereabouts are unknown or for any other reason, the petitioner seeking commitment pursuant to Section 44-17-410 shall execute an affidavit stating a belief that the individual is mentally ill and because of this condition likely to cause serious harm if not hospitalized, the ground for this belief and that the usual procedure for examination cannot be followed and the reason why. Upon presentation of an affidavit, the judge of probate for the county in which the individual is present may require a state or local law enforcement officer to take the individual into custody for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours during which detention the person must be examined by at least one licensed physician as provided for in Section 44-17-410(2). The individual taken into custody has the right to representation by an attorney. If within the twenty-four hours the person in custody is not examined by a licensed physician or, if upon examination the physician does not execute the certification provided for in Section 44-17-410(2), the proceedings must be terminated and the individual in custody must be released immediately. Otherwise, proceedings must be held pursuant to Section 44-17-410(3)."
Transporting patient under emergency admission
SECTION 3. Section 44-17-440 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-17-440. The certificate required by Section 44-17-410 must authorize and require a state or local law enforcement officer preferably in civilian clothes, to take into custody and transport the person to the hospital designated by the certification. No person may be taken into custody after the expiration of three days from the date of certification. A friend or relative may transport the individual to the mental health facility designated in the application, if the friend or relative has read and signed a statement on the certificate which clearly states that it is the responsibility of a state or local law enforcement officer to provide timely transportation for the patient and that the friend or relative freely chooses to assume that responsibility. A friend or relative who chooses to transport the patient is not entitled to reimbursement from the State for the cost of the transportation. An officer acting in accordance with this article is immune from civil liability."
Transporting patient under judicial commitment
SECTION 4. Section 44-17-530 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-17-530. Within three days after the petition for judicial commitment set forth in Section 44-17-510 is filed, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the court shall appoint counsel to represent the person if counsel has not been retained and the court shall appoint two designated examiners, one of whom must be a licensed physician, to examine the person and report to the court their findings as to the person's mental condition and need for treatment. The examination must be made at a suitable place not likely to have a harmful effect upon the person's health. On a report of the designated examiners of refusal to submit to examination, the court shall order the person to submit to examination. If the person refuses to obey the court's order the court may require a state or local law enforcement officer to take the person into custody for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours during which time the person must be examined by the two designated examiners. The person's attorney must be notified before the person's confinement. If the examiners do not execute the certification provided for in this section within twenty-four hours, the proceeding must be terminated and the person must be released. An adequate record of the examination must be made and offered to the person's counsel. If the conclusions of the examination are that the person is mentally ill the underlying facts must be recorded as well as the conclusions. The person must be given the opportunity to request an additional examination by an independent designated examiner. If the court determines that the person is indigent the examination must be conducted at public expense."
Notice given on committed patient, absent without authorization
SECTION 5. Section 44-17-870 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-17-870. If a patient involuntarily committed to a facility under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Health is absent without proper authorization, a state or local law enforcement officer or employee of the department appointed pursuant to Section 44-11-70, upon the request of the facility superintendent or director or a designee and without the necessity of a warrant or a court order, may take the patient into custody and return the patient to a facility designated by the department. No person may be reconfined pursuant to this section after being continuously absent from the jurisdiction of the department for at least one year unless criminal charges are still pending against the patient or unless he was committed to a facility of the department pursuant to Chapter 24, Title 17."
Report of examiner for alcohol or drug abuse committed patient
SECTION 6. Section 44-52-60(D) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 38 of 1989, is further amended to read:
"(D) If the report of the examiners is that:
(1) the patient is not chemically dependent or is chemically dependent but no longer in need of emergency commitment and not likely to benefit from further treatment, the court shall dismiss the petition and the patient must be discharged immediately from the facility;
(2) the patient is chemically dependent, in need of involuntary hospitalization, and likely to benefit from further treatment, the court may order that the person be detained;
(3) the patient is not chemically dependent or is chemically dependent but no longer in need of emergency commitment and not likely to benefit from further treatment but that the patient is mentally ill and that procedures for emergency admission have been initiated pursuant to Section 44-17-410, then the court shall dismiss the petition and in compliance with emergency commitment procedures pursuant to Chapter 17, Article 5 the patient must be detained and the facility shall transfer the patient to an appropriate facility; transportation must be provided by the department;
(4) the two examiners conflict in their opinions, the court may designate a third examiner, who must be knowledgeable in the treatment of chemical dependency and charge the three examiners to render a majority opinion within forty-eight hours or the court may terminate the proceedings and the patient must be discharged immediately from the treatment facility."
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 26th day of March, 1992.