HB1144: Temporary detention order; magistrate may consider recommendation of examining physician, etc.


HOUSE BILL NO. 1144
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee for Courts of Justice
on January 25, 2008)
(Patrons Prior to Substitute--Delegates Fralin [HB 1139] and Caputo [HB 737])
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 37.2-809 and 37.2-817 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the evidence a magistrate may consider in deciding emergency custody orders and temporary detention orders.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That §§ 37.2-809 and 37.2-817 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 37.2-809. Involuntary temporary detention; issuance and execution of order.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Designee of the local community services board" means an examiner designated by the local community services board or behavioral health authority who (i) is skilled in the assessment and treatment of mental illness, (ii) has completed a certification program approved by the Department, (iii) is able to provide an independent examination of the person, (iv) is not related by blood or marriage to the person being evaluated, (v) has no financial interest in the admission or treatment of the person being evaluated, (vi) has no investment interest in the facility detaining or admitting the person under this article, and (vii) except for employees of state hospitals and of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is not employed by the facility.

"Employee" means an employee of the local community services board or behavioral health authority who is skilled in the assessment and treatment of mental illness and has completed a certification program approved by the Department.

"Investment interest" means the ownership or holding of an equity or debt security, including shares of stock in a corporation, interests or units of a partnership, bonds, debentures, notes, or other equity or debt instruments.

B. A magistrate may issue, upon the sworn petition of any responsible person or upon his own motion and only after an in-person evaluation by an employee or a designee of the local community services board, a temporary detention order if it appears from all evidence readily available, including any recommendation from a physician or clinical psychologist treating the person, that the person (i) has mental illness, (ii) presents an imminent danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for himself, (iii) is in need of hospitalization or treatment, and (iv) is unwilling to volunteer or incapable of volunteering for hospitalization or treatment. The magistrate shall also consider the recommendations of any treating or examining physician licensed in Virginia if available either verbally or in writing prior to rendering a decision.

C. When considering whether to issue a temporary detention order pursuant to subsection B, the magistrate may, in addition to the petition, consider (i) the recommendations of any treating or examining physician licensed in Virginia, if available, (ii) any past actions of the person, (iii) any past mental health treatment of the person, (iv) any hearsay evidence, (v) any medical records available, (vi) any affidavits submitted, if the witness is unavailable and it so states in the affidavit, and (vii) any other information available that the magistrate considers relevant to the determination of whether to issue a temporary detention order.

CD. A magistrate may issue a temporary detention order without an emergency custody order proceeding. A magistrate may issue a temporary detention order without a prior in-person evaluation if (i) the person has been personally examined within the previous 72 hours by an employee or a designee of the local community services board or (ii) there is a significant physical, psychological, or medical risk to the person or to others associated with conducting such evaluation.

DE. An employee or a designee of the local community services board shall determine the facility of temporary detention for all individuals detained pursuant to this section. The facility of temporary detention shall be one that has been approved pursuant to regulations of the Board. The facility shall be identified on the preadmission screening report and indicated on the temporary detention order. Except as provided in § 37.2-811 for defendants requiring hospitalization in accordance with subdivision A 2 of § 19.2-169.6, the person shall not be detained in a jail or other place of confinement for persons charged with criminal offenses.

EF. Any facility caring for a person placed with it pursuant to a temporary detention order is authorized to provide emergency medical and psychiatric services within its capabilities when the facility determines that the services are in the best interests of the person within its care. The costs incurred as a result of the hearings and by the facility in providing services during the period of temporary detention shall be paid and recovered pursuant to § 37.2-804. The maximum costs reimbursable by the Commonwealth pursuant to this section shall be established by the State Board of Medical Assistance Services based on reasonable criteria. The State Board of Medical Assistance Services shall, by regulation, establish a reasonable rate per day of inpatient care for temporary detention.

FG. The employee or the designee of the local community services board who is conducting the evaluation pursuant to this section shall determine, prior to the issuance of the temporary detention order, the insurance status of the person. Where coverage by a third party payor exists, the facility seeking reimbursement under this section shall first seek reimbursement from the third party payor. The Commonwealth shall reimburse the facility only for the balance of costs remaining after the allowances covered by the third party payor have been received.

GH. The duration of temporary detention shall not exceed 48 hours prior to a hearing. If the 48-hour period herein specified terminates on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the person may be detained, as herein provided, until the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

HI. If a temporary detention order is not executed within 24 hours of its issuance, or within a shorter period as is specified in the order, the order shall be void and shall be returned unexecuted to the office of the clerk of the issuing court or, if the office is not open, to any magistrate thereof. Subsequent orders may be issued upon the original petition within 96 hours after the petition is filed. However, a magistrate must again obtain the advice of an employee or a designee of the local community services board prior to issuing a subsequent order upon the original petition. Any petition for which no temporary detention order or other process in connection therewith is served on the subject of the petition within 96 hours after the petition is filed shall be void and shall be returned to the office of the clerk of the issuing court.

IJ. The chief judge of each general district court shall establish and require that a magistrate, as provided by this section, be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for the purpose of performing the duties established by this section. Each community services board or behavioral health authority shall provide to each general district court and magistrate's office within its service area a list of its employees and designees who are available to perform the evaluations required herein.

§ 37.2-817. Involuntary admission and outpatient treatment orders.

A. The district court judge or special justice shall render a decision on the petition for involuntary admission after the appointed examiner has presented his report, orally or in writing, pursuant to § 37.2-815 and after the community services board or behavioral health authority that serves the county or city where the person resides or, if impractical, where the person is located has presented a preadmission screening report, orally or in writing, with recommendations for that person's placement, care, and treatment pursuant to § 37.2-816. These reports, if not contested, may constitute sufficient evidence upon which the district court judge or special justice may base his decision.

B. After observing the person and obtaining the necessary positive certification and considering any other relevant evidence that may have been offered (i) the recommendations of any treating or examining physician licensed in Virginia, if available, (ii) any past actions of the person, (iii) any past mental health treatment of the person, (iv) any examiner's certification, (v) any medical records available, (vi) any affidavits submitted, if the witness is unavailable and it so states in the affidavit, and (vii) the preadmission screening report, if the judge or special justice finds by clear and convincing evidence that (i) (a) the person presents an imminent danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness or has been proven to be so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for himself and (ii) (b) alternatives to involuntary inpatient treatment have been investigated and deemed unsuitable and there is no less restrictive alternative to involuntary inpatient treatment, the judge or special justice shall by written order and specific findings so certify and order that the person be admitted involuntarily to a facility for a period of treatment not to exceed 180 days from the date of the court order. Such involuntary admission shall be to a facility designated by the community services board or behavioral health authority that serves the city or county in which the person was examined as provided in § 37.2-816. If the community services board or behavioral health authority does not designate a facility at the commitment hearing, the person shall be involuntarily admitted to a facility designated by the Commissioner. The person shall be released at the expiration of 180 days unless he is involuntarily admitted by further petition and order of a court or such person makes application for treatment on a voluntary basis as provided for in § 37.2-805.

C. After observing the person and obtaining the necessary positive certification and considering any other relevant evidence that may have been offered (i) the recommendations of any treating or examining physician licensed in Virginia, if available, (ii) any past actions of the person, (iii) any past mental health treatment of the person, (iv) any examiner's certification, (v) any medical records available, (vi) any affidavits submitted, if the witness is unavailable and it so states in the affidavit, and (vii) the preadmission screening report, if the judge or special justice finds by clear and convincing evidence that (i) (a) the person presents an imminent danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness or has been proven to be so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for himself, (ii) (b) less restrictive alternatives to involuntary inpatient treatment have been investigated and are deemed suitable, (iii) (c) the person (a) (1) has the degree of competency necessary to understand the stipulations of his treatment, (b) (2) expresses an interest in living in the community and agrees to abide by his treatment plan, and (c) (3) is deemed to have the capacity to comply with the treatment plan, and (iv) (d) the ordered treatment can be delivered on an outpatient basis and be monitored by the community services board, behavioral health authority or designated provider, the judge or special justice shall order outpatient treatment, which may include day treatment in a hospital, night treatment in a hospital, outpatient involuntary treatment with anti-psychotic medication pursuant to Chapter 11 (§ 37.2-1100 et seq.), or other appropriate course of treatment as may be necessary to meet the needs of the person. The community services board or behavioral health authority that serves the city or county in which the person resides shall recommend a specific course of treatment and programs for the provision of involuntary outpatient treatment. The community services board, behavioral health authority, or designated provider shall monitor the person's compliance with the treatment ordered by the court under this section, and the person's failure to comply with involuntary outpatient treatment as ordered by the court may be admitted into evidence in subsequent hearings held pursuant to the provisions of this section. Upon failure of the person to adhere to the terms of the outpatient treatment order, the judge or special justice may revoke it and, upon notice to the person and after a commitment hearing, order involuntary admission to a facility.

HOUSE BILL NO. 1144
Offered January 9, 2008
Prefiled January 9, 2008
A BILL to amend and reenact § 37.2-814 of the Code of Virginia, relating to permitting hearsay evidence during the commitment hearing.
Patron-- Fralin

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That § 37.2-814 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 37.2-814. Commitment hearing for involuntary admission; written explanation; right to counsel; rights of petitioner.

A. The commitment hearing for involuntary admission shall be held within 48 hours of the execution of the temporary detention order as provided for in § 37.2-809; however, if the 48-hour period herein specified terminates on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or day on which the court is lawfully closed, the person may be detained, as herein provided, until the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or day on which the court is lawfully closed.

B. At the commencement of the commitment hearing, the district court judge or special justice shall inform the person whose involuntary admission is being sought of his right to apply for voluntary admission and treatment as provided for in § 37.2-805 and shall afford the person an opportunity for voluntary admission. The judge or special justice shall ascertain if the person is then willing and capable of seeking voluntary admission and treatment. If the judge or special justice finds that the person is capable and willingly accepts voluntary admission and treatment, the judge or special justice shall require him to accept voluntary admission for a minimum period of treatment not to exceed 72 hours. After such minimum period of treatment, the person shall give the hospital 48 hours' notice prior to leaving the hospital. During this notice period, the person shall not be discharged except as provided in § 37.2-837, 37.2-838, or 37.2-840. The person shall be subject to the transportation provisions as provided in § 37.2-829 and the requirement for preadmission screening by a community services board or behavioral health authority as provided in § 37.2-805.

C. If a person is incapable of accepting or unwilling to accept voluntary admission and treatment, the judge or special justice shall inform the person of his right to a commitment hearing and right to counsel. The judge or special justice shall ascertain if the person whose admission is sought is represented by counsel, and, if he is not represented by counsel, the judge or special justice shall appoint an attorney to represent him. However, if the person requests an opportunity to employ counsel, the judge or special justice shall give him a reasonable opportunity to employ counsel at his own expense.

D. A written explanation of the involuntary admission process and the statutory protections associated with the process shall be given to the person, and its contents shall be explained by an attorney prior to the commitment hearing. The written explanation shall describe, at a minimum, the person's rights to (i) retain private counsel or be represented by a court-appointed attorney, (ii) present any defenses including independent evaluation and expert testimony or the testimony of other witnesses, (iii) be present during the hearing and testify, (iv) appeal any order for involuntary admission to the circuit court, and (v) have a jury trial on appeal. The judge or special justice shall ascertain whether the person whose involuntary admission is sought has been given the written explanation required herein.

E. To the extent possible, during or before the commitment hearing, the attorney for the person whose involuntary admission is sought shall interview his client, the petitioner, the examiner described in § 37.2-815, the community services board or behavioral health authority staff, and any other material witnesses. He also shall examine all relevant diagnostic and other reports, present evidence and witnesses, if any, on his client's behalf, and otherwise actively represent his client in the proceedings. A health care provider shall disclose or make available all such reports, treatment information, and records concerning his client to the attorney, upon request. The role of the attorney shall be to represent the wishes of his client, to the extent possible.

F. The petitioner shall be given adequate notice of the place, date, and time of the commitment hearing. The petitioner shall be entitled to retain counsel at his own expense, to be present during the hearing, and to testify and present evidence. The petitioner shall be encouraged but shall not be required to testify at the hearing, and the person whose involuntary admission is sought shall not be released solely on the basis of the petitioner's failure to attend or testify during the hearing.

G. During the commitment hearing, the special justice or judge shall not enforce the rule against permitting hearsay at trial and shall allow all such evidence presented to be heard and considered.