The following are EXCERPTS from the Georgia civil commitment statute as of 2010. The excerpts do NOT include all aspects of the statute. For that, see O.C.G.A. 37-3 in its entirety
OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED
TITLE 37. MENTAL HEALTH
CHAPTER 3. EXAMINATION, TREATMENT, ETC., FOR MENTAL ILLNESS
O.C.G.A. § 37-3-1 et seq (2010)
§ 37-3-1. Definitions
As used in this chapter, the term:
(.1) "Available outpatient treatment" means outpatient treatment, either public or private, available in the patient's community, including but not limited to supervision and support of the patient by family, friends, or other responsible persons in that community. Outpatient treatment at state expense shall be available only within the limits of state funds specifically appropriated therefor.
(1) "Chief medical officer" means the physician with overall responsibility for patient treatment at any facility receiving patients under this chapter or a physician appointed in writing as the designee of such chief medical officer.
(2) "Clinical record" means a written record pertaining to an individual patient and shall include all medical records, progress notes, charts, admission and discharge data, and all other information which is recorded by a facility or other entities responsible for a patient's care and treatment under this chapter and which pertains to the patient's hospitalization and treatment. Such other information as may be required by rules and regulations of the board shall also be included.
(3) "Community mental health center" means an organized program for the care and treatment of the mentally ill operated by a community service board or other appropriate public provider.
(4) "Court" means:
(A) In the case of an individual who is 17 years of age or older, the probate court of the county of residence of the patient or the county in which such patient is found. Notwithstanding Code Section 15-9-13, in any case in which the judge of such court is unable to hear a case brought under this chapter within the time required for such hearing or is unavailable to issue the order specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 37-3-41, such judge shall appoint a person to serve and exercise all the jurisdiction of the probate court in such case. Any person so appointed shall be a member of the State Bar of Georgia and shall be otherwise qualified for his duties by training and experience. Such appointment may be made on a case-by-case basis or by making a standing appointment of one or more persons. Any person receiving such standing appointment shall serve at the pleasure of the judge making the appointment or his successor in office to hear such cases if and when necessary. The compensation of a person so appointed shall be as agreed upon by the judge who makes the appointment and the person appointed with the approval of the governing authority of the county for which such person is appointed and shall be paid from the county funds of said county. All fees collected for the services of such appointed person shall be paid into the general funds of the county served; or
(B) In the case of an individual who is under the age of 17 years, the juvenile court of the county of residence of the patient or the county in which such patient is found.
(5) "Emergency receiving facility" means a facility designated by the department to receive patients under emergency conditions as provided in Part 1 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(6) "Evaluating facility" means a facility designated by the department to receive patients for psychiatric evaluation as provided in Part 2 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(7) "Facility" means any state owned or state operated hospital, community mental health center, or other facility utilized for the diagnosis, care, treatment, or hospitalization of persons who are mentally ill; any facility operated or utilized for such purpose by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or other federal agency; and any other hospital or facility within the State of Georgia approved for such purpose by the department.
(8) "Full and fair hearing" or "hearing" means a proceeding before a hearing examiner under Code Section 37-3-83 or Code Section 37-3-93 or before a court as defined in paragraph (4) of this Code section. The hearing may be held in a regular courtroom or in an informal setting, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court, but the hearing shall be recorded electronically or by a qualified court reporter. The patient shall be provided with effective assistance of counsel. If the patient cannot afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for him or the hearing examiner shall have the court appoint such counsel; provided, however, that the patient shall have the right to refuse in writing the appointment of counsel, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The patient shall have the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and to offer evidence. The patient shall have the right to subpoena witnesses and to require testimony before the hearing examiner or in court in person or by deposition from any physician upon whose evaluation the decision of the hearing examiner or the court may rest. The patient shall have the right to obtain a continuance for any reasonable time for good cause shown. The hearing examiner and the court shall apply the rules of evidence applicable in civil cases. The burden of proof shall be upon the party seeking treatment of the patient. The standard of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence. At the request of the patient, the public may be excluded from the hearing. The patient may waive his right to be present at the hearing, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The reason for the action of the court or hearing examiner in excluding the public or permitting the hearing to proceed in the patient's absence shall be reflected in the record.
(9) "Individualized service plan" means a proposal developed during a patient's stay in a facility and which is specifically tailored to the individual patient's treatment needs. Each plan shall clearly include the following:
(A) A statement of treatment goals or objectives, based upon and related to a proper evaluation, which can be reasonably achieved within a designated time interval;
(B) Treatment methods and procedures to be used to obtain these goals, which methods and procedures are related to these goals and which include a specific prognosis for achieving these goals;
(C) Identification of the types of professional personnel who will carry out the treatment and procedures, including appropriate medical or other professional involvement by a physician or other health professional properly qualified to fulfill legal requirements mandated under state and federal law;
(D) Documentation of patient involvement and, if applicable, the patient's accordance with the service plan; and
(E) A statement attesting that the chief medical officer has made a reasonable effort to meet the plan's individualized treatment goals in the least restrictive environment possible closest to the patient's home community.
(9.1) "Inpatient" means a person who is mentally ill and:
(A)(i) Who presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to that person or others, as manifested by either recent overt acts or recent expressed threats of violence which present a probability of physical injury to that person or other persons; or
(ii) Who is so unable to care for that person's own physical health and safety as to create an imminently life-endangering crisis; and
(B) Who is in need of involuntary inpatient treatment.
(9.2) "Inpatient treatment" or "hospitalization" means a program of treatment for mental illness within a hospital facility setting.
(9.3) "Involuntary treatment" means inpatient or outpatient treatment which a patient is required to obtain pursuant to this chapter.
(10) "Least restrictive alternative," "least restrictive environment," or "least restrictive appropriate care and treatment" means that which is the least restrictive available alternative, environment, or care and treatment, respectively, within the limits of state funds specifically appropriated therefor.
(12) "Mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment" means a mentally ill person who is an inpatient or an outpatient.
(12.1) "Outpatient" means a person who is mentally ill and:
(A) Who is not an inpatient but who, based on the person's treatment history or current mental status, will require outpatient treatment in order to avoid predictably and imminently becoming an inpatient;
(B) Who because of the person's current mental status, mental history, or nature of the person's mental illness is unable voluntarily to seek or comply with outpatient treatment; and
(C) Who is in need of involuntary treatment.
(12.2) "Outpatient treatment" means a program of treatment for mental illness outside a hospital facility setting which includes, without being limited to, medication and prescription monitoring, individual or group therapy, day or partial programming activities, case management services, and other services to alleviate or treat the patient's mental illness so as to maintain the patient's semi-independent functioning and to prevent the patient's becoming an inpatient.
(13) "Patient" means any mentally ill person who seeks treatment under this chapter or any person for whom such treatment is sought.
(14) "Private facility" means any hospital facility that is a proprietary hospital or a hospital operated by a nonprofit corporation or association approved for the purposes of this chapter, as provided herein, or any hospital facility operated by a hospital authority created pursuant to the "Hospital Authorities Law," Article 4 of Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(14.1) "Psychologist" means a licensed psychologist who meets the criteria of training and experience as a health service provider psychologist as provided in Code Section 31-7-162.
(15) "Representatives" means the persons appointed as provided in Code Section 37-3-147 to receive notice of the proceedings for voluntary or involuntary treatment.
(16) "Superintendent" means the chief administrative officer who has overall management responsibility at any facility receiving patients under this chapter, other than a regional state hospital or state owned or operated community program, or an individual appointed as the designee of such superintendent.
(16.1) "Traumatic brain injury" means a traumatic insult to the brain and its related parts resulting in organic damage thereto which may cause physical, intellectual, emotional, social, or vocational changes in a person. It shall also be recognized that a person having a traumatic brain injury may have organic damage or physical or social disorders, but for the purposes of this chapter, traumatic brain injury shall not be considered mental illness.
(17) "Treatment" means care, diagnostic and therapeutic services, including the administration of drugs, and any other service for the treatment of an individual.
(18) "Treatment facility" means a facility designated by the department to receive patients for psychiatric treatment as provided in Code Sections 37-3-80 through 37-3-84.
Emergency admission (1013)
§ 37-3-41. Emergency admission based on physician's certification or court order; report by apprehending officer; entry of treatment order into patient's clinical record; authority of other personnel to act under statute
(a) Any physician within this state may execute a certificate stating that he has personally examined a person within the preceding 48 hours and found that, based upon observations set forth in the certificate, the person appears to be a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment. A physician's certificate shall expire seven days after it is executed. Any peace officer, within 72 hours after receiving such certificate, shall make diligent efforts to take into custody the person named in the certificate and to deliver him forthwith to the nearest available emergency receiving facility serving the county in which the patient is found, where he shall be received for examination.
(b) The appropriate court of the county in which a person may be found may issue an order commanding any peace officer to take such person into custody and deliver him forthwith for examination, either to the nearest available emergency receiving facility serving the county in which the patient is found, where such person shall be received for examination, or to a physician who has agreed to examine such patient and who will provide, where appropriate, a certificate pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section to permit delivery of such patient to an emergency receiving facility pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section. Such order may only be issued if based either upon an unexpired physician's certificate, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, or upon the affidavits of at least two persons who attest that, within the preceding 48 hours, they have seen the person to be taken into custody and that, based upon observations contained in their affidavit, they have reason to believe such person is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment. The court order shall expire seven days after it is executed.
(c) Any peace officer taking into custody and delivering for examination a person, as authorized by subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section, shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which such person was taken into custody. The report and either the physician's certificate or court order authorizing such taking into custody shall be made a part of the patient's clinical record.
(d) Any psychologist, clinical social worker, or clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health may perform any act specified by this Code section to be performed by a physician. Any reference in any part of this chapter to a physician acting under this Code section shall be deemed to refer equally to a psychologist , a clinical social worker, or a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health acting under this Code section. For purposes of this subsection, the term "psychologist" means any person authorized under the laws of this state to practice as a licensed psychologist, the term "clinical social worker" means any person authorized under the laws of this state to practice as a licensed clinical social worker, and the term "clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health" means any person authorized under the laws of this state to practice as a registered professional nurse and who is recognized by the Georgia Board of Nursing to be engaged in advanced nursing practice as a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health.
§ 37-3-43. Procedure upon admission; notice of proposed discharge
(a) A patient who is admitted to an emergency receiving facility shall be examined by a physician as soon thereafter as possible but in any event within 48 hours and may be given such emergency treatment as is indicated by good medical practice. The patient must be discharged within 48 hours of his admission unless:
(1) An examining physician or psychologist concludes that there is reason to believe that the patient may be a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment and executes a certificate to that effect within such time; or
(2) The patient is under criminal charges, notice of which has been given in writing to the facility, in which case the provisions of Code Section 37-3-95 shall apply.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a physician or psychologist who previously executed a certificate authorized by the provisions of this chapter from executing any other certificate provided for in this chapter for the same or any other patient.
(b) Within 24 hours of the execution of the certificate under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the patient shall be transported, as provided in Code Section 37-3-101, to an evaluating facility where he shall be received pursuant to Code Section 37-3-63 unless the patient has been determined and certified to meet all of the outpatient treatment requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 37-3-90, in which event the patient shall be discharged under the conditions provided in Code Section 37-3-91, except that if the patient is under criminal charges, notice of which has been given in writing to the facility, the provisions of Code Section 37-3-95 shall apply.
§ 37-3-64. Length of detention in evaluating facility; discharge; procedure upon determination of need for hospitalization or involuntary treatment; recipients of notice of discharge from facility
(a) A patient who has been admitted to an evaluating facility pursuant to Code Section 37-3-43, 37-3-63, or subparagraph (a)(3)(B) of Code Section 37-3-81.1 may be detained for a period not to exceed five days, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded. The patient shall be discharged upon a finding that the patient is not a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment or upon a finding and certification that the patient meets all of the outpatient treatment requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 37-3-90, in which event a patient meeting those outpatient treatment requirements shall be discharged under the conditions provided in Code Section 37-3-91 but, in any event, upon the expiration of the five-day evaluation period unless:
(1) Within that period:
(A) The patient is admitted as a voluntary patient under Code Section 37-3-20; or
(B) The patient is admitted for involuntary inpatient treatment under Code Section 37-3-81; or
(2) The patient is under criminal charges, notice of which has been given in writing to the facility, in which case the provisions of Code Section 37-3-95 shall apply.
(b) If hospitalization appears desirable, the staff physicians or psychologists of the evaluating facility shall encourage the patient to apply for voluntary hospitalization unless the attending physician or treating psychologist finds that the patient is unable to understand the nature of voluntary hospitalization, that voluntary hospitalization would be harmful to the patient, or that the patient is determined to be a mentally ill person in need of involuntary treatment, which finding shall be entered in the patient's record.
(c) If, after evaluation of the patient, it is determined by the chief medical officer that proceedings for involuntary treatment of the patient should be initiated pursuant to Code Section 37-3-81 or pursuant to Part 4 of this article, the chief medical officer shall direct that an individualized service plan be developed for that patient during the five-day period that he is detained for evaluation in the facility.
(d) Notice of the discharge shall be given to the patient and his representatives; to the person who filed the petition; if the patient was admitted to the evaluating facility from an emergency receiving facility under Code Section 37-3-43, to the physician or psychologist who executed the certificate or to the court which issued the order pursuant to Code Section 37-3-41; if the patient was under criminal charges of which the facility received written notification, by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the law enforcement agency originally having custody of the patient; and, if the patient was admitted to the evaluating facility under Code Section 37-3-62, to the court that ordered the evaluation.
§ 37-3-81. Procedure for detention of patient beyond evaluation period; final disposition
(a) The patient may be detained at a facility beyond the evaluation period unless voluntary hospitalization is sought under subparagraph (a)(1)(A) of Code Section 37-3-64 only upon the recommendation of the chief medical officer of an evaluating facility where the patient has been examined under Part 2 of this article, which recommendation is supported by the opinions of two physicians or a physician and a psychologist who have personally examined the patient within the preceding five days and who agree that the patient is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment but who does not meet the outpatient treatment requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 37-3-90. Such recommendation of the chief medical officer and the opinions of the physicians or physician and psychologist shall be entered on a certificate. The certificate shall be filed along with a petition for a hearing in the court of the county in which the patient is being detained for evaluation. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a physician or psychologist or a chief medical officer who has previously executed any other certificate authorized by the provisions of this chapter from executing a certificate provided for in this Code section for the same or any other patient. The certificate and petition shall be filed within five days, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded, after the patient is admitted to a facility for evaluation under Code Section 37-3-63. Such filing shall authorize detention of the patient by the facility pending completion of a full and fair hearing under this Code section. Copies of the certificate shall be served on the patient and his representatives within five days after the certificate is filed and shall be accompanied by:
(1) A notice that a hearing will be held and the time and place thereof;
(2) A notice that the patient has a right to counsel, that the patient or his representatives may apply immediately to the court to have counsel appointed if the patient cannot afford counsel, and that in such case the court will appoint counsel for the patient unless the patient indicates in writing that he does not desire to be represented by counsel;
(3) A copy of the individualized service plan developed by the facility under this chapter shall be sent to the patient and shall be sent to the patient's representative if requested by such representative. Notice of the right to receive such plan shall be given to the representatives at the time the service plan is sent to the patient;
(4) A notice that the patient has a right to be examined by a physician or psychologist of his own choice at his own expense and to have that physician or psychologist submit a suggested service plan for the patient which conforms with the requirements of paragraph (9) of Code Section 37-3-1; and
(5) A notice that the patient may waive in writing the hearing described in subsection (c) of this Code section.
(b) If the hearing is waived, the certificate shall serve as authorization for the patient to begin treatment under the terms of the individualized service plan; and the chief medical officer of the facility where the patient is located shall be responsible for the supervision of the service plan.
(c) In any case in which a patient is retained in an evaluating facility pursuant to a petition filed under subsection (a) of this Code section, the court shall hold a full and fair hearing as provided in Code Section 37-3-81.1 unless the hearing is waived in writing by the patient. The hearing shall be held no sooner than seven days and no later than 12 days after the petition is filed with the court.
§ 37-3-81.1. Disposition of patient upon hearing
(a) At those hearings required under subsection (c) of Code Section 37-3-81 and subsection (a) of Code Section 37-3-92, the court shall determine whether the patient is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment and, if so, whether the patient is an inpatient or outpatient and, unless otherwise provided in this subsection, the type of involuntary treatment the patient should be ordered to obtain. At such hearing, if the court determines:
(1) That the patient is not a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment, the court shall order that the patient be immediately discharged;
(2) That the patient is an outpatient, the court shall further determine, based upon either the individualized service plan required to be prepared under subsection (c) of Code Section 37-3-64 or subsection (b) of Code Section 37-3-91 or the individualized service plan proposed by the physician or psychologist chosen by the patient, whether there is available outpatient treatment for the patient which meets the requirements of the plan chosen by the court and whether the patient will likely obtain that treatment so as to minimize the likelihood of the patient's becoming an inpatient. If the court determines that there is such available outpatient treatment which the patient will likely obtain so as to minimize the likelihood of the patient's becoming an inpatient, then the court shall order the patient to obtain that treatment and shall discharge the patient subject to such order;
(3) That the patient is an outpatient who does not meet the requirements for discharge under paragraph (2) of this subsection and:
(A) The patient has been admitted to either an evaluating or treatment facility and there received an evaluation within 45 days prior to the date of the hearing under this Code section, the court shall order that the patient be discharged; or
(B) The patient has not been admitted to either an evaluating or treatment facility and there received an evaluation within 45 days prior to the date of the hearing under this Code section, the court shall order that the patient be admitted to an evaluating facility, and this chapter shall thereafter apply to that patient as though that patient had been ordered by a court to be admitted to that facility pursuant to Code Section 37-3-62; or
(4) That the patient is an inpatient, the court shall order that the patient shall be transported to a treatment facility where the patient shall be admitted for care and treatment, which order may also require that a period of such inpatient treatment be followed by available outpatient treatment if there is such outpatient treatment which will meet the requirements of the patient's individualized service plan and the patient will likely obtain the treatment so as to minimize the likelihood of the patient's becoming an inpatient.
(b) If the court at a hearing under subsection (a) of this Code section concludes that the patient is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment, it shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of that conclusion as part of its final order.
(c) The court may order the hospitalization of any patient pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section for any period not to exceed six months, subject to the power of the chief medical officer to discharge the patient under subsection (b) of Code Section 37-3-85. If continued hospitalization is necessary at the end of that period, the chief medical officer shall apply for an order authorizing such continued hospitalization under Code Section 37-3-83.
(d) The court may order the patient to obtain available outpatient treatment under the additional conditions specified in Code Sections 37-3-93 and 37-3-94.