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Substitute House Bill No. 5508

Public Act No. 07-49

AN ACT AUTHORIZING COMMITMENT TO A CHRONIC DISEASE HOSPITAL UNDER A PHYSICIAN'S EMERGENCY CERTIFICATE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17a-502 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2007):

(a) Any person who a physician concludes has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled, and is in need of immediate care and treatment in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities, may be confined in such a hospital, either public or private, under an emergency certificate as hereinafter provided for not more than fifteen days without order of any court, unless a written application for commitment of such person has been filed in a probate court prior to the expiration of the fifteen days, in which event such commitment is continued under the emergency certificate for an additional fifteen days or until the completion of probate proceedings, whichever occurs first. In no event shall such person be admitted to or detained at any hospital, either public or private, for more than fifteen days after the execution of the original emergency certificate, on the basis of a new emergency certificate executed at any time during the person's confinement pursuant to the original emergency certificate; and in no event shall more than one subsequent emergency certificate be issued within fifteen days of the execution of the original certificate. If at the expiration of the fifteen days a written application for commitment of such person has not been filed, such person shall be discharged from the hospital. At the time of delivery of such person to such hospital, there shall be left, with the person in charge thereof, a certificate, signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine or surgery in Connecticut and dated not more than three days prior to its delivery to the person in charge of the hospital. Such certificate shall state the date of personal examination of the person to be confined, which shall be not more than three days prior to the date of signature of the certificate, shall state the findings of the physician relative to the physical and mental condition of the person and the history of the case, if known, and shall state that it is the opinion of the physician that the person examined has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled and is in need of immediate care and treatment in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities. Such physician shall state on such certificate the reasons for his or her opinion.

(b) Any person admitted and detained under this section shall be examined by a physician specializing in psychiatry [within] not later than forty-eight hours [of] after admission as provided in section 17a-545, except that any person admitted and detained under this section at a chronic disease hospital shall be so examined not later than twenty-four hours after admission. If such physician is of the opinion that the person does not meet the criteria for emergency detention and treatment, such person shall be immediately discharged. The physician shall enter [his] the physician's findings in the patient's record.

(c) Any person admitted and detained under this section shall be promptly informed by the admitting facility that such person has the right to consult an attorney, the right to a hearing under subsection (d) of this section, and that if such a hearing is requested or a probate application is filed, such person has the right to be represented by counsel, and that counsel will be provided at the state's expense if the person is unable to pay for such counsel. The reasonable compensation for counsel provided to persons unable to pay shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department, however, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, such compensation shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund.

(d) If any person detained under this section, or his or her representative, requests a hearing, in writing, such hearing shall be held within seventy-two hours of receipt of such request, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. At such hearing, the person shall have the right to be present, to cross-examine all witnesses testifying, and to be represented by counsel as provided in section 17a-498. The hearing may be requested at any time prior to the initiation of proceedings under section 17a-498. The hearing shall be held by the court of probate having jurisdiction for commitment as provided in section 17a-497, and the hospital shall immediately notify such court of any request for a hearing by a person detained under this section. At the conclusion of the hearing, if the court finds that there is probable cause to conclude that the person is subject to involuntary confinement under this section, considering the condition of the respondent at the time of the admission and at the time of the hearing, and the effects of medication, if any, and the advisability of continued treatment based on testimony from the hospital staff, the court shall order that such person's detention continue for the remaining time provided for emergency certificates or until the completion of probate proceedings under section 17a-498.

(e) The person in charge of every private hospital for psychiatric disabilities in the state shall, on a quarterly basis, supply the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, in writing with statistics [which] that state for the preceding quarter, the number of admissions of type and the number of discharges for that facility. Said commissioner may adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this subsection.

(f) The superintendent or director of any hospital for psychiatric disabilities shall immediately discharge any patient admitted and detained under this section who is later found not to meet the standards for emergency detention and treatment.

(g) Any person admitted and detained at any hospital for psychiatric disabilities under this section shall, upon admission to such hospital, furnish the name of his or her next of kin or close friend. The superintendent or director of such hospital shall notify such next of kin or close friend of the admission of such patient and the discharge of such patient, provided such patient consents, in writing, to such notification of his or her discharge.

(h) No person, who a physician concludes has active suicidal or homicidal intent, may be admitted to or detained at a chronic disease hospital under an emergency certificate issued pursuant to this section.

(i) For purposes of this section, "hospital" includes a licensed chronic disease hospital with a separate psychiatric unit.

Sec. 2. Section 19a-253 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2007):

[On] Except as provided in section 17a-502, as amended by this act, on and after October 1, 2005, no patient shall be admitted to a chronic disease hospital, unless the medical director of the hospital determines that the hospital and its medical staff are capable of providing adequate care and treatment to the patient, consistent with the hospital's by-laws. In making such determination, the medical director shall have access to the patient's medical records and may examine the patient.

Approved May 22, 2007