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Introduced Version House Bill 2755 History

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H. B. 2755

 

         (By Delegate Swartzmiller)

         [Introduced January 11, 2012

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; referred to the

         Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]

 

 

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §27-5-1, §27-5-2 and §27-5-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to mentally ill persons; involuntary hospitalization; duties of sheriff; including the President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association in the development and proposal of a statewide system for evaluation and adjudication of mental hygiene petitions; and providing that the Department of Health and Human Resources shall reimburse the county commission for deposit into the sheriff’s budget for expenses incurred in hearings conducted under the article.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §27-5-1, §27-5-2 and §27-5-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 5. INVOLUNTARY HOSPITALIZATION.

§27-5-1. Appointment of mental hygiene commissioner; duties of mental hygiene commissioner; duties of prosecuting attorney; duties of sheriff; duties of Supreme Court of Appeals; use of certified municipal law-enforcement officers.

    (a) Appointment of mental hygiene commissioners. -- The chief judge in each judicial circuit of this state shall appoint a competent attorney and may, if necessary, appoint additional attorneys to serve as mental hygiene commissioners to preside over involuntary hospitalization hearings. Mental hygiene commissioners shall be persons of good moral character and of standing in their profession and they shall, before assuming the duties of such a commissioner, take the oath required of other special commissioners as provided in article one, chapter six of this code.

    All persons newly appointed to serve as mental hygiene commissioners shall attend and complete an orientation course, within one year of their appointment, consisting of at least three days of training provided annually by the Supreme Court of Appeals. In addition, existing mental hygiene commissioners and any magistrates designated by the chief judge of a judicial circuit to hold probable cause and emergency detention hearings involving involuntary hospitalization shall attend and complete a course provided by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which course shall include, but not be limited to, instruction on the manifestations of mental illness and addiction. Persons attending such the courses outside the county of their residence shall be reimbursed out of the budget of the Supreme Court -- general judicial for reasonable expenses incurred. The Supreme Court shall establish rules for such these courses, including rules providing for the reimbursement of reasonable expenses as authorized herein.

    (b) Duties of mental hygiene commissioners. –-

    (1) Mental hygiene commissioners may sign and issue summonses for the attendance, at any hearing held pursuant to section four, article five of this chapter, of the individual sought to be committed; may sign and issue subpoenas for witnesses, including subpoenas duces tecum; may place any witness under oath; may elicit testimony from applicants, respondents and witnesses regarding factual issues raised in the petition; and may make findings of fact on evidence and may make conclusions of law, but such findings and conclusions shall not be binding on the circuit court. The circuit court, by order entered of record, shall allow the commissioner a reasonable fee for services rendered in connection with each case. Mental hygiene commissioners shall discharge their duties and hold their offices at the pleasure of the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which he or she is appointed and may be removed at any time by such chief judge. It shall be is the duty of a mental hygiene commissioner to conduct orderly inquiries into the mental health of the individual sought to be committed concerning the advisability of committing the individual to a mental health facility. The mental hygiene commissioner shall safeguard, at all times, the rights and interests of the individual as well as the interests of the state. The mental hygiene commissioner shall make a written report of his or her findings to the circuit court. In any proceedings before any court of record as set forth in this article, the court of record shall appoint an interpreter for any individual who is deaf or cannot speak or who speaks a foreign language and who may be subject to involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.

    (2) A mental hygiene commissioner appointed by the circuit court of one county or multiple county circuit may serve in such that capacity in a jurisdiction other than that of his or her original appointment if such be it is agreed upon by the terms of a cooperative agreement between the circuit courts and county commissions of two or more counties entered into to provide prompt resolution of mental hygiene matters during noncourt hours or on nonjudicial days.

    (c) Duties of prosecuting attorney. -- It shall be is the duty of the prosecuting attorney or one of his or her assistants to represent the applicants in all final commitment proceedings filed pursuant to the provisions of this article. The prosecuting attorney may appear in any proceeding held pursuant to the provisions of this article if he or she deems considers it to be in the public interest.

    (d) Duties of sheriff. -- Upon written order of the circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or magistrate in the county where the individual formally accused of being mentally ill or addicted is a resident or is found, the sheriff of that county shall take said the individual into custody and transport him or her to and from the place of hearing and the mental health facility. The sheriff shall also maintain custody and control of the accused individual during the period of time in which the individual is waiting for the involuntary commitment hearing to be convened and while such the hearing is being conducted: Provided, That an individual who is a resident of a state other than West Virginia shall, upon a finding of probable cause, be transferred to his or her state of residence for treatment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (p), section four of this article: Provided, however, That where an individual is a resident of West Virginia but not a resident of the county in which he or she is found and there is a finding of probable cause, the county in which the hearing is held may seek reimbursement from the county of residence for reasonable costs incurred by the county attendant to the mental hygiene proceeding. Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, sheriffs may enter into cooperative agreements with sheriffs of one or more other counties, with the concurrence of their respective circuit courts and county commissions, whereby transportation and security responsibilities for hearings held pursuant to the provisions of this article during noncourt hours or on nonjudicial days may be shared in order to facilitate prompt hearings and to effectuate transportation of persons found in need of treatment.

    (e) Duty of sheriff upon presentment to mental health care facility. -– Where a person is brought to a mental health care facility for purposes of evaluation for commitment under the provisions of this article, if he or she is violent or combative, the sheriff or his or her designee shall maintain custody of the person in the facility until the evaluation is completed. or the county commission shall reimburse the mental health care facility at a reasonable rate for security services provided by the mental health care facility for the period of time the person is at the hospital prior to the determination of mental competence or incompetence.

    (f) Duties of Supreme Court of Appeals. -- The Supreme Court of Appeals shall provide uniform petition, procedure and order forms which shall be used in all involuntary hospitalization proceedings brought in this state.

§27-5-2. Institution of proceedings for involuntary custody for examination; custody; probable cause hearing; examination of individual.

    (a) Any adult person may make an application for involuntary hospitalization for examination of an individual when the person making the application has reason to believe that the individual to be examined is addicted, as defined in section eleven, article one of this chapter, or is mentally ill and, because of his or her addiction or mental illness, the individual is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if allowed to remain at liberty while awaiting an examination and certification by a physician or psychologist.

    Notwithstanding any language in this subsection to the contrary, if the individual to be examined under the provisions of this section is incarcerated in a jail, prison or other correctional facility, then only the chief administrative officer of the facility holding the individual may file the application and the application must shall include the additional statement that the correctional facility itself cannot reasonably provide treatment and other services for the individual's mental illness or addiction.

    (b) The person making the application shall make the application under oath.

    (c) Application for involuntary custody for examination may be made to the circuit court or a mental hygiene commissioner of the county in which the individual resides or of the county in which he or she may be found. When no circuit court judge or mental hygiene commissioner is available for immediate presentation of the application, the application may be made to a magistrate designated by the chief judge of the judicial circuit to accept applications and hold probable cause hearings. A designated magistrate before whom an application or matter is pending may, upon the availability of a mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge for immediate presentation of an application or pending matter, transfer the pending matter or application to the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge for further proceedings unless otherwise ordered by the chief judge of the judicial circuit.

    (d) The person making the application shall give information and state facts in the application as may be required by the form provided for this purpose by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    (e) The circuit court, mental hygiene commissioner or designated magistrate may enter an order for the individual named in the application to be detained and taken into custody for the purpose of holding a probable cause hearing as provided in subsection (g) of this section for the purpose of an examination of the individual by a physician, psychologist, a licensed independent clinical social worker practicing in compliance with article thirty, chapter thirty of this code, an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification practicing in compliance with article seven of said chapter, a physician assistant practicing in compliance with article three of said chapter or a physician assistant practicing in compliance with article fourteen-a of said chapter: Provided, That a licensed independent clinical social worker, a physician assistant or an advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification may only perform the examination if he or she has previously been authorized by an order of the circuit court to do so, the order having found that the licensed independent clinical social worker, physician assistant or advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification has particularized expertise in the areas of mental health and mental hygiene or addiction sufficient to make the determinations as are required by the provisions of this section. The examination is to be provided or arranged by a community mental health center designated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to serve the county in which the action takes place. The order is to specify that the hearing be held forthwith and is to provide for the appointment of counsel for the individual: Provided, however, That the order may allow the hearing to be held up to twenty-four hours after the person to be examined is taken into custody rather than forthwith if the circuit court of the county in which the person is found has previously entered a standing order which establishes within that jurisdiction a program for placement of persons awaiting a hearing which assures the safety and humane treatment of persons: Provided further, That the time requirements set forth in this subsection only apply to persons who are not in need of medical care for a physical condition or disease for which the need for treatment precludes the ability to comply with the time requirements. During periods of holding and detention authorized by this subsection, upon consent of the individual or in the event of a medical or psychiatric emergency, the individual may receive treatment. The medical provider shall exercise due diligence in determining the individual's existing medical needs and provide treatment the individual requires, including previously prescribed medications. As used in this section, “psychiatric emergency” means an incident during which an individual loses control and behaves in a manner that poses substantial likelihood of physical harm to himself, herself or others. Where a physician, psychologist, licensed independent clinical social worker, physician assistant or advanced nurse practitioner with psychiatric certification has within the preceding seventy-two hours performed the examination required by the provisions of this subdivision, the community mental health center may waive the duty to perform or arrange another examination upon approving the previously performed examination. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, subsection (r), section four of this article applies regarding payment by the county commission for examinations at hearings. If the examination reveals that the individual is not mentally ill or addicted or is determined to be mentally ill or addicted but not likely to cause harm to himself, herself or others, the individual shall be immediately released without the need for a probable cause hearing and absent a finding of professional negligence the examiner is not civilly liable for the rendering of the opinion absent a finding of professional negligence. The examiner shall immediately provide the mental hygiene commissioner, circuit court or designated magistrate before whom the matter is pending the results of the examination on the form provided for this purpose by the Supreme Court of Appeals for entry of an order reflecting the lack of probable cause.

    (f) A probable cause hearing is to be held before a magistrate designated by the chief judge of the judicial circuit, the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge of the county of which the individual is a resident or where he or she was found. If requested by the individual or his or her counsel, the hearing may be postponed for a period not to exceed forty-eight hours.

    The individual must be present at the hearing and has the right to present evidence, confront all witnesses and other evidence against him or her and to examine testimony offered, including testimony by representatives of the community mental health center serving the area. Expert testimony at the hearing may be taken telephonically or via videoconferencing. The individual has the right to remain silent and to be proceeded against in accordance with the Rules of Evidence of the Supreme Court of Appeals, except as provided in section twelve, article one of this chapter. At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge shall find and enter an order stating whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the individual, as a result of mental illness or addiction, is likely to cause serious harm to himself or herself or to others.

    (g) Probable cause hearings may occur in the county where a person is hospitalized. The judicial hearing officer may: Use videoconferencing and telephonic technology; permit persons hospitalized for addiction to be involuntarily hospitalized only until detoxification is accomplished; and specify other alternative or modified procedures that are consistent with the purposes and provisions of this article. The alternative or modified procedures shall fully and effectively guarantee to the person who is the subject of the involuntary commitment proceeding and other interested parties due process of the law and access to the least restrictive available treatment needed to prevent serious harm to self or others.

    (h) If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge at a probable cause hearing or at a final commitment hearing held pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article finds that the individual, as a result of mental illness or addiction, is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or others and because of mental illness or addiction requires treatment, the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge may consider evidence on the question of whether the individual's circumstances make him or her amenable to outpatient treatment in a nonresidential or nonhospital setting pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement. The agreement is to be in writing and approved by the individual, his or her counsel and the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge. If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge determines that appropriate outpatient treatment is available in a nonresidential or nonhospital setting, the individual may be released to outpatient treatment upon the terms and conditions of the voluntary treatment agreement. The failure of an individual released to outpatient treatment pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement to comply with the terms of the voluntary treatment agreement constitutes evidence that outpatient treatment is insufficient and, after a hearing before a magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge on the issue of whether or not the individual failed or refused to comply with the terms and conditions of the voluntary treatment agreement and whether the individual as a result of mental illness or addiction remains likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or others, the entry of an order requiring admission under involuntary hospitalization pursuant to the provisions of section three of this article may be entered. In the event a person released pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement is unable to pay for the outpatient treatment and has no applicable insurance coverage, including, but not limited to, private insurance or Medicaid, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources may transfer funds for the purpose of reimbursing community providers for services provided on an outpatient basis for individuals for whom payment for treatment is the responsibility of the department: Provided, That the department may not authorize payment of outpatient services for an individual subject to a voluntary treatment agreement in an amount in excess of the cost of involuntary hospitalization of the individual. The secretary shall establish and maintain fee schedules for outpatient treatment provided in lieu of involuntary hospitalization. Nothing in the provisions of this article regarding release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement or convalescent status may be construed as creating a right to receive outpatient mental health services or treatment or as obligating any person or agency to provide outpatient services or treatment. Time limitations set forth in this article relating to periods of involuntary commitment to a mental health facility for hospitalization do not apply to release pursuant to the terms of a voluntary treatment agreement: Provided, however, That release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement may not be for a period of more than six months if the individual has not been found to be involuntarily committed during the previous two years and for a period of no more than two years if the individual has been involuntarily committed during the preceding two years. If in any proceeding held pursuant to this article the individual objects to the issuance or conditions and terms of an order adopting a voluntary treatment agreement, then the circuit judge, magistrate or mental hygiene commissioner may not enter an order directing treatment pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement. If involuntary commitment with release pursuant to a voluntary treatment agreement is ordered, the individual subject to the order may, upon request during the period the order is in effect, have a hearing before a mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge where the individual may seek to have the order canceled or modified. Nothing in this section affects the appellate and habeas corpus rights of any individual subject to any commitment order.

    (i) If the certifying physician or psychologist determines that a person requires involuntary hospitalization for an addiction to a substance which, due to the degree of addiction, creates a reasonable likelihood that withdrawal or detoxification from the substance of addiction will cause significant medical complications, the person certifying the individual shall recommend that the individual be closely monitored for possible medical complications. If the magistrate, mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court judge presiding orders involuntary hospitalization, he or she shall include a recommendation that the individual be closely monitored in the order of commitment.

    (j) The Supreme Court of Appeals, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and the President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, or his or her designee, shall specifically develop and propose a statewide system for evaluation and adjudication of mental hygiene petitions which shall include payment schedules and recommendations regarding funding sources. Additionally, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall also immediately seek reciprocal agreements with officials in contiguous states to develop interstate/intergovernmental agreements to provide efficient and efficacious services to out-of-state residents found in West Virginia and who are in need of mental hygiene services.

§27-5-4. Institution of final commitment proceedings; hearing requirements; release.

    (a) Involuntary commitment. -- Except as provided in section three of this article, no individual may be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility except by order entered of record at any time by the circuit court of the county in which the person resides or was found, or if the individual is hospitalized in a mental health facility located in a county other than where he or she resides or was found, in the county of the mental health facility and then only after a full hearing on issues relating to the necessity of committing an individual to a mental health facility: Provided, That if the individual objects to the hearing being held in the county where the mental health facility is located, the hearing shall be conducted in the county of the individual's residence.

    (b) How final commitment proceedings are commenced. -- Final commitment proceedings for an individual may be commenced by the filing of a written application under oath and the certificate or affidavit is hereinafter provided with the clerk of the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county of which the individual is a resident, or where he or she may be found, or the county of the mental health facility, if he or she is hospitalized in a mental health facility located in a county other than where he or she resides or may be found by an adult person having personal knowledge of the facts of the case.

    (c) Oath; contents of application; who may inspect application; when application cannot be filed. --

    (1) The person making the application shall do so under oath.

    (2) The application shall contain statements by the applicant that he or she believes because of symptoms of mental illness or addiction the individual is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others and the grounds for the belief, stating in detail the recent overt acts upon which the belief is based.

    (3) The written application, certificate, affidavit and any warrants issued pursuant thereto, including any papers and documents related thereto, filed with any circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner for the involuntary hospitalization of any individual are not open to inspection by any person other than the individual, except upon authorization of the individual or his or her legal representative or by order of the circuit court, and the records may not be published except upon the authorization of the individual or his or her legal representative.

    (4) Applications may not be accepted for individuals who only have epilepsy, a mental deficiency or senility.

    (d) Certificate filed with application; contents of certificate; affidavit by applicant in place of certificate. --

    (1) The applicant shall file with his or her application the certificate of a physician or a psychologist stating that in his or her opinion the individual is mentally ill or addicted and that because of the mental illness or addiction the individual is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if he or she is allowed to remain at liberty and therefore he or she should be hospitalized, stating in detail the recent overt acts upon which the conclusion is based.

    (2) A certificate is not necessary only when an affidavit is filed by the applicant showing facts and the individual has refused to submit to examination by a physician or a psychologist.

    (e) Notice requirements; eight days' notice required. -- Upon receipt of an application, the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit court shall review the application and if it is determined that the facts alleged, if any, are sufficient to warrant involuntary hospitalization, forthwith fix a date for and have the clerk of the circuit court give notice of the hearing: (1) To the individual; (2) to the applicant or applicants; (3) to the individual's spouse, one of the parents or guardians, or if the individual does not have a spouse, parents or parent or guardian, to one of the individual's adult next of kin if the next of kin is not the applicant; (4) to the mental health authorities serving the area; (5) to the circuit court in the county of the individual's residence if the hearing is to be held in a county other than that of the individual's residence; and (6) to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the hearing is to be held. The notice shall be served on the individual by personal service of process not less than eight days prior to the date of the hearing and shall specify the nature of the charges against the individual; the facts underlying and supporting the application of involuntary commitment; the right to have counsel appointed; the right to consult with and be represented by counsel at every stage of the proceedings; and the time and place of the hearing. The notice to the individual's spouse, parents or parent or guardian, the individual's adult next of kin, or to the circuit court in the county of the individual's residence may be by personal service of process or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, and shall state the time and place of the hearing.

    (f) Examination of individual by court-appointed physician or psychologist; custody for examination; dismissal of proceedings. --

    (1) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, within a reasonable time after notice of the commencement of final commitment proceedings is given, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall appoint a physician or psychologist to examine the individual and report to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner his or her findings as to the mental condition or addiction of the individual and the likelihood of him or her causing serious harm to himself, herself or to others.

    (2) If the designated physician or psychologist reports to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner that the individual has refused to submit to an examination, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall order him or her to submit to the examination. The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner may direct that the individual be detained or taken into custody for the purpose of an immediate examination by the designated physician or psychologist. All such orders shall be directed to the sheriff of the county or other appropriate law-enforcement officer. After the examination has been completed, the individual shall be released from custody unless proceedings are instituted pursuant to section three of this article.

    (3) If the reports of the appointed physician or psychologist do not confirm that the individual is mentally ill or addicted and might be harmful to himself, herself or to others then the proceedings for involuntary hospitalization shall be dismissed.

    (g) Rights of the individual at the final commitment hearing; seven days' notice to counsel required. --

    (1) The individual shall be present at the final commitment hearing and he or she, the applicant and all persons entitled to notice of the hearing shall be afforded an opportunity to testify and to present and cross-examine witnesses.

    (2) In the event that the individual has not retained counsel, the court or mental hygiene commissioner at least six days prior to hearing shall appoint a competent attorney and shall inform the individual of the name, address and telephone number of his or her appointed counsel.

    (3) The individual has the right to have an examination by an independent expert of his or her choice and testimony from the expert as a medical witness on his or her behalf. The cost of the independent expert shall be borne by the individual unless he or she is indigent.

    (4) The individual may not be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself.

    (h) Duties of counsel representing individual; payment of counsel representing indigent. --

    (1) The counsel representing an individual shall conduct a timely interview, make investigation and secure appropriate witnesses and shall be present at the hearing and protect the interest of the individual.

    (2) Any counsel representing an individual is entitled to copies of all medical reports, psychiatric or otherwise.

    (3) The circuit court, by order of record, may allow the attorney a reasonable fee not to exceed the amount allowed for attorneys in defense of needy persons as provided in article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

    (i) Conduct of hearing; receipt of evidence; no evidentiary privilege; record of hearing. --

    (1) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall hear evidence from all interested parties in chamber, including testimony from representatives of the community mental health facility.

    (2) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall receive all relevant and material evidence which may be offered.

    (3) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is bound by the rules of evidence promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals except that statements made to physicians or psychologists by the individual may be admitted into evidence by the physician's or psychologist's testimony, notwithstanding failure to inform the individual that this statement may be used against him or her. Any psychologist or physician testifying shall bring all records pertaining to the individual to the hearing. The medical evidence obtained pursuant to an examination under this section, or section two or three of this article, is not privileged information for purposes of a hearing pursuant to this section.

    (4) All final commitment proceedings shall be reported or recorded, whether before the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner, and a transcript shall be made available to the individual, his or her counsel or the prosecuting attorney within thirty days, if it is requested for the purpose of further proceedings. In any case where an indigent person intends to pursue further proceedings, the circuit court shall, by order entered of record, authorize and direct the court reporter to furnish a transcript of the hearings.

    (j) Requisite findings by the court. --

    (1) Upon completion of the final commitment hearing, and the evidence presented in the hearing, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall make findings as to whether or not the individual is mentally ill or addicted and because of illness or addiction is likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if allowed to remain at liberty and is a resident of the county in which the hearing is held or currently is a patient at a mental health facility in the county.

    (2) The circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner shall also make a finding as to whether or not there is a less restrictive alternative than commitment appropriate for the individual. The burden of proof of the lack of a less restrictive alternative than commitment is on the person or persons seeking the commitment of the individual.

    (3) The findings of fact shall be incorporated into the order entered by the circuit court and must shall be based upon clear, cogent and convincing proof.

    (k) Orders issued pursuant to final commitment hearing; entry of order; change in order of court; expiration of order. --

    (1) Upon the requisite findings, the circuit court may order the individual to a mental health facility for an indeterminate period or for a temporary observatory period not exceeding six months.

    (2) The individual may not be detained in a mental health facility for a period in excess of ten days after a final commitment hearing pursuant to this section unless an order has been entered and received by the facility.

    (3) If the order pursuant to a final commitment hearing is for a temporary observation period, the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner may, at any time prior to the expiration of such period on the basis of a report by the chief medical officer of the mental health facility in which the patient is confined, hold another hearing pursuant to the terms of this section and in the same manner as the hearing was held as if it were an original petition for involuntary hospitalization to determine whether the original order for a temporary observation period should be modified or changed to an order of indeterminate hospitalization of the patient. At the conclusion of the hearing, the circuit court shall order indeterminate hospitalization of the patient or dismissal of the proceedings.

    (4) An order for an indeterminate period expires of its own terms at the expiration of two years from the date of the last order of commitment unless prior to the expiration, the Department of Health and Human Resources, upon findings based on an examination of the patient by a physician or a psychologist, extends the order for indeterminate hospitalization: Provided, That if the patient or his or her counsel requests a hearing, then a hearing shall be held by the mental hygiene commissioner or by the circuit court of the county as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

    (l) Dismissal of proceedings. -- If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner finds that the individual is not mentally ill or addicted, the proceedings shall be dismissed. If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner finds that the individual is mentally ill or addicted but is not because of the illness or addiction likely to cause serious harm to himself, herself or to others if allowed to remain at liberty, the proceedings shall be dismissed.

    (m) Immediate notification of order of hospitalization. -- The clerk of the circuit court in which an order directing hospitalization is entered, if not in the county of the individual's residence, shall immediately upon entry of the order forward a certified copy of the order to the clerk of the circuit court of the county of which the individual is a resident.

    (n) Consideration of transcript by circuit court of county of individual's residence; order of hospitalization; execution of order. --

    (1) If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is satisfied that hospitalization should be ordered but finds that the individual is not a resident of the county in which the hearing is held and the individual is not currently a resident of a mental health facility, a transcript of the evidence adduced at the final commitment hearing of the individual, certified by the clerk of the circuit court, shall forthwith be forwarded to the clerk of the circuit court of the county of which the individual is a resident, who shall immediately present the transcript to the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county.

    (2) If the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county of the residence of the individual is satisfied from the evidence contained in the transcript that the individual should be hospitalized as determined by the standard set forth above, the circuit court shall order the appropriate hospitalization as though the individual had been brought before the circuit court or its mental hygiene commissioner in the first instance.

    (3) This order shall be transmitted forthwith to the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the hearing was held who shall execute the order promptly.

    (o) Order of custody to responsible person. -- In lieu of ordering the patient to a mental health facility, the circuit court may order the individual delivered to some responsible person who will agree to take care of the individual and the circuit court may take from the responsible person a bond in an amount to be determined by the circuit court with condition to restrain and take proper care of the individual until further order of the court.

    (p) Individual not a resident of this state. -- If the individual found to be mentally ill or addicted by the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner is a resident of another state, this information shall be forthwith given to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, or to his or her designee, who shall make appropriate arrangements for transfer of the individual to the state of his or her residence conditioned on the agreement of the individual except as qualified by the interstate compact on mental health.

    (q) Report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. --

    (1) The chief medical officer of a mental health facility admitting a patient pursuant to proceedings under this section shall forthwith make a report of the admission to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or to his or her designee.

    (2) Whenever an individual is released from custody due to the failure of an employee of a mental health facility to comply with the time requirements of this article, the chief medical officer of the mental health facility shall forthwith after the release of the individual make a report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or to his or her designee of the failure to comply.

    (r) Payment of some expenses by the state; Mental Hygiene Fund established; expenses paid by the county commission. --

    (1) The state shall pay the commissioner's fee and the court reporter fees that are not paid and reimbursed under article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code out of a special fund to be established within the Supreme Court of Appeals to be known as the Mental Hygiene Fund.

    (2) The Department of Health and Human Resources shall reimburse the county commission shall pay out of the county treasury for direct and immediate deposit into the sheriff’s budget all other expenses incurred, including, but not limited to, mileage expenses and salary expenses of those involved in the transportation process, in the hearings conducted under the provisions of this article whether or not hospitalization is ordered, including and shall reimburse the county commission for any fee allowed by the circuit court by order entered of record for any physician, psychologist and witness called by the indigent individual.




    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to delete language allowing a county commission to reimburse a mental health care facility for security services for the period of time a person is at the hospital prior to the determination of mental competence or incompetence. The bill further provides that the President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, along with the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall develop and propose a statewide system for evaluation and adjudication of mental hygiene petitions. The bill further provides that the Department of Health and Human Resources shall reimburse the county commission for direct deposit into the Sheriff’s budget all other expenses incurred in the hearings conducted under the provisions of the article.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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