Senate Bill No. 589
(By Senator Palumbo)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported February 23, 2011.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §27-4-1 and §27-4-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §27-5-2a, all relating to mental hygiene and voluntary and involuntary commitments generally; increasing the age at which a minor may refuse treatment from twelve to seventeen; requiring parental permission when releasing children under eighteen from a treatment facility; permitting the Supreme Court of Appeals to hire full-time and part-time mental hygiene commissioners where it is economically feasible; and clarifying that the state is not obligated to pay hospitalization costs for voluntary commitments.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §27-4-1 and §27-4-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §27-5-2a, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. VOLUNTARY HOSPITALIZATION.
§27-4-1. Authority to receive voluntary patients.
The chief medical officer of a mental health facility, subject to the availability of suitable accommodations and to the rules and regulations promulgated by the board of health Department of Health and Human Resources, shall admit for diagnosis, care and treatment any individual:
(a) Over eighteen years of age who is mentally ill, mentally retarded or addicted or who has manifested symptoms of mental illness, mental retardation or addiction and who makes application for hospitalization; or
(b) Under eighteen years of age who is mentally ill, mentally retarded or addicted or who has manifested symptoms of mental illness, mental retardation or addiction and there is application for hospitalization therefor in on his or her behalf (1) by the parents of such person, or (2) if only one parent is living, then by such parent, or (3) if the parents are living separate and apart, by the parent who has the custody of such the person, or (4) if there is a guardian who has custody of such the person, then by such the guardian. Such admission shall be Admission is conditioned upon the consent of the prospective patient if he or she is twelve under eighteen years of age or over.
(c) No person under eighteen years of age shall be admitted under this section to any state hospital unless said the person has first been reviewed and evaluated by a local mental health facility professional and recommended for admission.
(d) Nothing in this section may be construed to obligate the State of West Virginia to pay costs for hospitalizations permitted by the provisions of this section.
§27-4-3. Right to release on application.
A voluntary patient who requests his or her release or whose release is requested in writing by his or her parents, parent, guardian, spouse or adult next of kin shall be released forthwith except that:
(a) If the patient was admitted on his or her own application, and request for release is made by a person other than the patient, release shall be conditioned upon the agreement of the patient thereto;
(b) If the patient is under twelve eighteen years of age, his or her release prior to becoming twelve eighteen years of age may be conditioned upon the consent of the person or persons who applied for his or her admission; or
(c) If, within ninety-six hours of the receipt of the request, the chief medical officer of the mental health facility in which the patient is hospitalized files with the clerk of the circuit court or mental hygiene commissioner of the county where the facility is situated an application for involuntary hospitalization as provided in section four, article five of this chapter, release may be postponed for twenty days pending a finding in accordance with the legal proceedings prescribed therein.
Legal proceedings for involuntary hospitalization shall not be commenced with respect to a voluntary patient unless release of the patient has been requested by him or her or the individual or individuals who applied for his or her admission.
ARTICLE 5. INVOLUNTARY HOSPITALIZATION.
§27-5-2a. Full-time and part-time mental hygiene commissioners.
(a) The Supreme Court of Appeals, in consultation with the chief judge of a particular circuit, may hire permanent full-time or part-time mental hygiene commissioners in judicial circuits that have extensive mental hygiene and guardianship and conservatorship caseloads that the employment of salaried full-time as part-time is economically advisable. The salary, benefits and job description are to be determined by the Supreme Court of Appeals and shall be commensurate with legal professionals of similar experience and stature.
(b) Notwithstanding the creation of full-time and part-time mental hygiene commissioners in this section, the remaining provisions of this article apply to mental hygiene commissioners.
NOTE: §27-5-2a is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.