Mental Illness under the Mental Health Code
Mental Illness is defined by Statute as “a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.” MCL 330.1400(g). Not all mentally ill persons will qualify for involuntary treatment under the mental health code. To be a person requiring treatment, the individual must have a mental illness and at least one of the following factors:
A person affected by age, epilepsy, alcoholism, or drug dependence will be a person requiring treatment only if they meet one of the above requirements. MCL 330.1401(2).
How psychiatric treatment for an adult can be obtained
An adult may consent to voluntary treatment at any private or public facility of his/her choice willing and able to accept the patient without involvement of the Court. If a patient agrees to voluntary treatment, they are permitted to leave the facility at any time. However, if the facility determines that the patient needs to remain in the facility for treatment, the patient may be retained and a hearing will be held to determine if further involuntary hospitalization is required.
If voluntary treatment is not possible and the Court becomes involved, the Court may order treatment at a specific location. Community Support and Treatment Services keeps a complete list of all the facilities that offer voluntary and involuntary treatment. They can be reached at the ACCESS number, (734) 544-3050 or (800) 440-7548.
Independent Clinical Evaluations in Mental Health Matters: Signed Order (Shelton) effective 1/1/2012.
Washtenaw County Circuit Court will at times require access to professional services for an independent clinical evaluation. The respondent has the right to an independent evaluation at his or her expense or, if Indigent, at public expense. MCL 330.1463 The respondent may choose his or her own examiner if the examiner agrees and the appointment does not require unreasonable expense. MCR 5.733(A). The examiner's fees must be reasonable, based on the time required, the examiner's experience and training, and the local fee for similar service. MCL 330.1463(2); MCR 5.733(B). The examiner must submit an itemized statement of services for court approval.
Emergency transportation of a person for evaluation
There are two ways a person can be involuntarily transported to a facility for treatment: protective custody pick-ups or transport because of a medical certification.
Protective Custody: If a police officer observes someone acting in a manner which causes the officer to reasonably believe that the adult is a “person requiring treatment” and that the person presents a serious danger to self or others, the officer may take the individual into protective custody and transport the individual to a hospital without needing a pick-up order from the court. MCL 330.1427
Transport by Medical Certification (Pick-up Order): If an adult voluntarily agrees to be examined by a psychiatrist or physician and the doctor concludes that the individual is a “person requiring treatment,” a court order is not necessary. The doctor must complete a Clinical Certificate (PCM 208) and the petitioner (the person requesting treatment of the mentally ill individual) must complete the Petition/Application for Hospitalization (PCM 201). The Clinical Certificate and the Petition/Application for Hospitalization can be shown to the police or an ambulance company so that the person can be transported to a facility for treatment. The Clinical Certificate and the Petition must be shown to a police officer or ambulance company within 72 hours of being completed. Within seven days of the transport to a facility, the Probate Court will hold a hearing to determine whether the patient should remain hospitalized.
Where and how a petition is filed
To file a petition, a person must first contact Community Support and Treatment Services (CSTS) at either (734) 544-3050 or (800) 440-7548. Social Workers from CSTS will arrange to meet the petitioner at the offices of the Probate Court. For a petition to be filed in Washtenaw County Probate Court, the alleged mentally ill person must be either a resident of Washtenaw County or presently found in Washtenaw County. The petitioner must be at least 18 years of age. There is no filing fee associated with a Petition/Application for Hospitalization.
After the petition is filed, several things may happen before the hearing:
At and after the hearing
The patient has the right to an attorney, a trial by judge or jury, and an independent medical examination. The county prosecuting attorney will represent the petitioner and the county at the hearing. The patient may be brought to the courthouse by hospital staff and must be present at the hearing unless he/she waives his/her presence in open court or signs a waiver in the presence of his/her attorney. If the patient is hospitalized at the University of Michigan, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, or Chelsea Community Hospital, they will have the opportunity to appear at the hearing via video conferencing from the hospital.
A doctor from the hospital will testify and the petitioner may be asked to testify. At the hearing the court will decide whether the person is a “person requiring treatment.” The judge has the option of dismissing the petition or ordering up to 90 days of treatment, which may be a combination of a maximum of 60 days of hospitalization and outpatient treatment. At the conclusion of the hearing, the family may wish to place the patient in a private facility rather than a public facility. As the treatment time expires, the facility may file a Petition for Second or Continuing Treatment Order (PCM 218) if continued hospitalization appears necessary. If a Petition for Second or Continuing Treatment is filed, a hearing will be necessary.
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