2004 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 41-21-77 AND 41-21-87, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY ADMISSION AND DISCHARGE PROCEDURES FOR MENTALLY ILL PATIENTS COMMITTED TO TREATMENT FACILITIES; 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 admission 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 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 admitting institution determines that facilities and services are available. Persons who have been ordered committed and are awaiting admission may be given any such treatment in the facility by a licensed physician as is indicated by standard medical practice. No person shall be delivered or admitted to any non-Department of Mental Health treatment facility unless such treatment facility is licensed and/or certified to provide the appropriate level of psychiatric care for the mentally ill. It is the intent of this Legislature that county-owned hospitals work with regional community mental health/mental retardation centers in providing care to local patients. The clerk shall provide the director of the admitting institution 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; provided, 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 such cases such 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) above 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; provided, however, that treatment in such 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) above from discharging a patient pursuant to this section whose treating professionals have determined that the patient meets one 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 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 prior to 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 such 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 such 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 such conditions.
(5) All providers of service in a treatment facility, whether in a community mental health/retardation center, region or state psychiatric hospital, are authorized and directed to request a consent to release information from all patients which will allow that entity to involve the family in the patient's treatment. Such 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 such 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.