Introduced by Representatives Donahue of Northfield, Errecart of Shelburne and Pillsbury of Brattleboro
Subject: Health; mental health; commitment
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to clarify the ability of children under 14 years of age to consent to voluntary admission into a designated mental health facility, to establish a clear process for voluntary admissions for children under 14, to require release of a patient after a 72‑hour hold if the designated hospital has not sought an involuntary admission, and to require a preliminary hearing after a 72‑hour hold.
AN ACT RELATING TO ADMISSIONS TO DESIGNATED MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITALS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 18 V.S.A. § 7503 is amended to read:
§ 7503. APPLICATION FOR VOLUNTARY ADMISSION
(a) Any person 14 years of age or over may apply for voluntary admission to a designated hospital for examination and treatment.
the person may be admitted as a voluntary patient
he, the person shall
give his consent in writing on a form adopted by the department. The
consent shall include a representation that the person understands that his
the treatment will involve inpatient status, that he the
person desires to be admitted to the hospital, and that he the person
consents to admission voluntarily, without any coercion or duress. (c) If the person is under 14
years of age, he may be admitted as a voluntary patient if he consents to
admission, as provided in subsection (b) of this section, and if a parent or
guardian makes written application.
Sec. 2. 18 V.S.A. § 7503a is added to read:
§ 7503a. VOLUNTARY ADMISSION OF CHILDREN UNDER 14 YEARS
(a) A person under 14 years of age may be admitted as a voluntary patient to a designated hospital for examination and treatment if a parent or guardian gives consent to admission.
(b) Within 72 hours of admission of a person under 14 years of age, the designated hospital shall notify the court of the admission, including the expected duration of stay. If the person is hospitalized or is expected to be hospitalized longer than 14 days, the patient’s attorney may request a guardian ad litem and may request a review by the family court to determine whether the hospitalization is in the best interests of the child.
Sec. 3. 18 V.S.A. § 8010 is amended to read:
§ 8010. VOLUNTARY PATIENTS; DISCHARGE; DETENTION
a voluntary patient gives notice in writing to the head of the hospital of
the person’s desire to leave the hospital, he the person shall
promptly be released unless he agreed in writing at the time of his
admission that his release could be delayed.
that event and if If the head of the hospital determines that the
patient is a patient in need of further treatment, the head of the hospital may
detain the patient for a period not to exceed four days from receipt of the
notice to leave. Before expiration of the four-day period the head of the
hospital shall either release the patient or apply to the district court in
the district in which the hospital is located for the involuntary admission of
the patient under section 7612 of this title. The patient shall
remain in the hospital pending the court's determination of the case.
(c) If the patient is
years of age between the ages of 14 and 18 years, the notice to
leave may be given by the patient or his the patient’s attorney
or the person who applied for admission, provided the minor consents thereto.
Sec. 4. 18 V.S.A. § 7510 is amended to read:
§ 7510. PRELIMINARY HEARING
five days after a person is admitted to a designated hospital for emergency
he may request the district court to shall conduct
a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to believe
that he the individual was a person in need of treatment at the
time of his admission. If the fifth day falls on a weekend or
holiday, the hearing shall be held on the last weekday prior to the weekend or
holiday, unless that date would be less than three days from the date of
admission, whereupon it shall be held on the first weekday immediately
following the weekend or holiday.
court shall conduct the hearing within three working days of the filing of the
request. The court shall cause timely notice of the preliminary hearing to
be given to the patient or his the patient’s attorney, the
hospital, and the attorney for the applicant.
(c) The individual has the right to be present and represented by legal counsel at the preliminary hearing. Evidence introduced at a preliminary hearing need not be presented by live witnesses and shall not be admissible at any subsequent hearing regarding the subject of the application.
probable cause to believe that the individual was a person in need of treatment
at the time of
his admission is established at the preliminary hearing,
the individual shall be ordered held for further proceedings in accordance with
the law. If probable cause is not established, the individual shall be ordered
discharged from the hospital, and the court shall order him the
individual returned to the place from which he or she was
transported or to his or her home.
(e) Upon a showing of need, the court may grant a reasonable continuance to either the patient's attorney or the attorney for the state.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street