2004 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Human Services; Judiciary A
By: Representative Smith (39th)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-21-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS SHALL NOT BE ADMITTED TO ANY TREATMENT FACILITY UNLESS THE FACILITY IS LICENSED AND/OR CERTIFIED TO PROVIDE THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF PSYCHIATRIC CARE; TO AMEND SECTION 41-21-87, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DIRECTOR OF ANY TREATMENT FACILITY MAY DISCHARGE A PATIENT ONCE THE PATIENT NO LONGER POSES A SUBSTANTIAL THREAT OF PHYSICAL HARM TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-21-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-77. If commitment is ordered at a treatment facility, the sheriff, his deputy or any other person appointed or authorized by the court shall immediately deliver the respondent to the director of the appropriate treatment facility. Neither the Board of Mental Health or its members, nor the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, nor any employee of the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, shall be appointed, authorized or ordered to deliver the respondent for treatment, and no person shall be so delivered or admitted until the director of the treatment facility to which that person is committed determines that facilities and services are available. Persons who have been ordered committed and for whom there is no space in the treatment facility to which that person is committed may be delivered and admitted as a patient to any other treatment facility and given any such treatment in any such other treatment facility by a licensed physician as is indicated by standard medical practice. No person shall be admitted to any treatment facility unless the treatment facility is licensed and/or certified to provide the appropriate level of psychiatric care for the mentally ill. The clerk shall provide the director of each treatment facility with a certified copy of the court order, a certified copy of the physicians' and any psychologist's certificate, a certified copy of the affidavit, and any other information available concerning the physical and mental condition of the respondent; however, upon notification from the United States Veterans Administration or other agency of the United States government, that facilities are available and the respondent is eligible for care and treatment therein, the court may enter an order for delivery of the respondent to or retention by the Veterans Administration or other agency of the United States government, and, in those cases the chief officer to whom the respondent is so delivered or by whom he is retained shall, with respect to the respondent, be vested with the same powers as the director of the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, or the East Mississippi State Hospital at Meridian, with respect to retention and discharge of the respondent.
SECTION 2. Section 41-21-87, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-87. (1) The director of either the treatment facility where the patient is committed or the treatment facility where the patient resides while awaiting admission to any other treatment facility may discharge any civilly committed patient upon filing his certificate of discharge with the clerk of the committing court, certifying that the patient, in his judgment, no longer poses a substantial threat of physical harm to himself or others.
(2) A director of a treatment facility specified in subsection (1) of this section may return any patient to the custody of the committing court upon providing seven (7) days' notice and upon filing his certificate of same as follows:
(a) When, in the judgment of the director, the patient may be treated in a less restrictive environment; * * * however, the treatment in the less restrictive environment shall be implemented within seven (7) days after notification of the court; or
(b) When, in the judgment of the director, adequate facilities or treatment are not available at the treatment facility.
(3) No committing court shall enjoin or restrain any director of a treatment facility specified in subsection (1) of this section from discharging a patient under this section whose treating professionals have determined that the patient meets one (1) of the criteria for discharge as outlined in subsection (1) or (2) of this section. The director of the treatment facility where the patient is committed may transfer any civilly committed patient from one (1) facility operated directly by the Department of Mental Health to another as necessary for the welfare of that or other patients. Upon receiving the director's certificate of transfer, the court shall enter an order accordingly.
(4) Within twenty-four (24) hours before the release or discharge of any civilly committed patient, other than a temporary pass due to sickness or death in the patient's family, the director shall give or cause to be given notice of the release or discharge to one (1) member of the patient's immediate family, provided the member of the patient's immediate family has signed the consent to release form provided under subsection (5) and has furnished in writing a current address and telephone number, if applicable, to the director for that purpose. The notice to the family member shall include the psychiatric diagnosis of any chronic mental disorder incurred by the civilly committed patient and any medications provided or prescribed to the patient for his or her conditions.
(5) All providers of service in a treatment facility, whether in a community mental health/retardation center, region or state psychiatric hospital, shall request a consent to release information from all patients that will allow that entity to involve the family in the patient's treatment. The release form shall be developed by the Department of Mental Health and provided to all treatment facilities, community mental health/retardation centers and state facilities. All such facilities shall request * * * a release of information upon the date of admission of the patient to the facility or at least by the time the patient is discharged.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.