2015 Florida Statutes
394.463 Involuntary examination.—
(1) CRITERIA.—A person may be taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination if there is reason to believe that the person has a mental illness and because of his or her mental illness:
(a)1. The person has refused voluntary examination after conscientious explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the examination; or
2. The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary; and
(b)1. Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services; or
2. There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior.
(2) INVOLUNTARY EXAMINATION.—
(a) An involuntary examination may be initiated by any one of the following means:
1. A court may enter an ex parte order stating that a person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination, giving the findings on which that conclusion is based. The ex parte order for involuntary examination must be based on sworn testimony, written or oral. If other less restrictive means are not available, such as voluntary appearance for outpatient evaluation, a law enforcement officer, or other designated agent of the court, shall take the person into custody and deliver him or her to the nearest receiving facility for involuntary examination. The order of the court shall be made a part of the patient’s clinical record. No fee shall be charged for the filing of an order under this subsection. Any receiving facility accepting the patient based on this order must send a copy of the order to the Agency for Health Care Administration on the next working day. The order shall be valid only until executed or, if not executed, for the period specified in the order itself. If no time limit is specified in the order, the order shall be valid for 7 days after the date that the order was signed.
2. A law enforcement officer shall take a person who appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination into custody and deliver the person or have him or her delivered to the nearest receiving facility for examination. The officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody, and the report shall be made a part of the patient’s clinical record. Any receiving facility accepting the patient based on this report must send a copy of the report to the Agency for Health Care Administration on the next working day.
3. A physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker may execute a certificate stating that he or she has examined a person within the preceding 48 hours and finds that the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination and stating the observations upon which that conclusion is based. If other less restrictive means are not available, such as voluntary appearance for outpatient evaluation, a law enforcement officer shall take the person named in the certificate into custody and deliver him or her to the nearest receiving facility for involuntary examination. The law enforcement officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody. The report and certificate shall be made a part of the patient’s clinical record. Any receiving facility accepting the patient based on this certificate must send a copy of the certificate to the Agency for Health Care Administration on the next working day.
(b) A person shall not be removed from any program or residential placement licensed under chapter 400 or chapter 429 and transported to a receiving facility for involuntary examination unless an ex parte order, a professional certificate, or a law enforcement officer’s report is first prepared. If the condition of the person is such that preparation of a law enforcement officer’s report is not practicable before removal, the report shall be completed as soon as possible after removal, but in any case before the person is transported to a receiving facility. A receiving facility admitting a person for involuntary examination who is not accompanied by the required ex parte order, professional certificate, or law enforcement officer’s report shall notify the Agency for Health Care Administration of such admission by certified mail no later than the next working day. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply when transportation is provided by the patient’s family or guardian.
(c) A law enforcement officer acting in accordance with an ex parte order issued pursuant to this subsection may serve and execute such order on any day of the week, at any time of the day or night.
(d) A law enforcement officer acting in accordance with an ex parte order issued pursuant to this subsection may use such reasonable physical force as is necessary to gain entry to the premises, and any dwellings, buildings, or other structures located on the premises, and to take custody of the person who is the subject of the ex parte order.
(e) The Agency for Health Care Administration shall receive and maintain the copies of ex parte orders, involuntary outpatient placement orders issued pursuant to s. 394.4655, involuntary inpatient placement orders issued pursuant to s. 394.467, professional certificates, and law enforcement officers’ reports. These documents shall be considered part of the clinical record, governed by the provisions of s. 394.4615. The agency shall prepare annual reports analyzing the data obtained from these documents, without information identifying patients, and shall provide copies of reports to the department, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
(f) A patient shall be examined by a physician, a clinical psychologist, or a psychiatric nurse performing within the framework of an established protocol with a psychiatrist at a receiving facility without unnecessary delay and may, upon the order of a physician, be given emergency treatment if it is determined that such treatment is necessary for the safety of the patient or others. The patient may not be released by the receiving facility or its contractor without the documented approval of a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist or, if the receiving facility is owned or operated by a hospital or health system, the release may also be approved by a psychiatric nurse performing within the framework of an established protocol with a psychiatrist or an attending emergency department physician with experience in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and nervous disorders and after completion of an involuntary examination pursuant to this subsection. A psychiatric nurse may not approve the release of a patient if the involuntary examination was initiated by a psychiatrist unless the release is approved by the initiating psychiatrist. However, a patient may not be held in a receiving facility for involuntary examination longer than 72 hours.
(g) A person for whom an involuntary examination has been initiated who is being evaluated or treated at a hospital for an emergency medical condition specified in s. 395.002 must be examined by a receiving facility within 72 hours. The 72-hour period begins when the patient arrives at the hospital and ceases when the attending physician documents that the patient has an emergency medical condition. If the patient is examined at a hospital providing emergency medical services by a professional qualified to perform an involuntary examination and is found as a result of that examination not to meet the criteria for involuntary outpatient placement pursuant to s. 394.4655(1) or involuntary inpatient placement pursuant to s. 394.467(1), the patient may be offered voluntary placement, if appropriate, or released directly from the hospital providing emergency medical services. The finding by the professional that the patient has been examined and does not meet the criteria for involuntary inpatient placement or involuntary outpatient placement must be entered into the patient’s clinical record. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to prevent a hospital providing emergency medical services from appropriately transferring a patient to another hospital prior to stabilization, provided the requirements of s. 395.1041(3)(c) have been met.
(h) One of the following must occur within 12 hours after the patient’s attending physician documents that the patient’s medical condition has stabilized or that an emergency medical condition does not exist:
1. The patient must be examined by a designated receiving facility and released; or
2. The patient must be transferred to a designated receiving facility in which appropriate medical treatment is available. However, the receiving facility must be notified of the transfer within 2 hours after the patient’s condition has been stabilized or after determination that an emergency medical condition does not exist.
(i) Within the 72-hour examination period or, if the 72 hours ends on a weekend or holiday, no later than the next working day thereafter, one of the following actions must be taken, based on the individual needs of the patient:
1. The patient shall be released, unless he or she is charged with a crime, in which case the patient shall be returned to the custody of a law enforcement officer;
2. The patient shall be released, subject to the provisions of subparagraph 1., for voluntary outpatient treatment;
3. The patient, unless he or she is charged with a crime, shall be asked to give express and informed consent to placement as a voluntary patient, and, if such consent is given, the patient shall be admitted as a voluntary patient; or
4. A petition for involuntary placement shall be filed in the circuit court when outpatient or inpatient treatment is deemed necessary. When inpatient treatment is deemed necessary, the least restrictive treatment consistent with the optimum improvement of the patient’s condition shall be made available. When a petition is to be filed for involuntary outpatient placement, it shall be filed by one of the petitioners specified in s. 394.4655(3)(a). A petition for involuntary inpatient placement shall be filed by the facility administrator.
(3) NOTICE OF RELEASE.—Notice of the release shall be given to the patient’s guardian or representative, to any person who executed a certificate admitting the patient to the receiving facility, and to any court which ordered the patient’s evaluation.
History.—s. 7, ch. 71-131; s. 6, ch. 73-133; s. 204, ch. 77-147; s. 7, ch. 79-298; s. 10, ch. 82-212; s. 8, ch. 84-285; s. 59, ch. 91-221; s. 3, ch. 91-249; s. 69, ch. 92-289; s. 708, ch. 95-148; s. 16, ch. 96-169; s. 1, ch. 2003-88; ss. 5, 6, 7, ch. 2004-385; s. 2, ch. 2006-171; s. 19, ch. 2006-197; s. 2, ch. 2015-111.