PA 10-170—sHB 5244

Human Services Committee

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ISSUANCE OF EMERGENCY CERTIFICATES BY CERTAIN STAFF OF THE EMERGENCY MOBILE PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act permits certain licensed clinical social workers, professional counselors, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to issue an emergency certificate, under certain conditions, to hospitalize a child for medical and psychiatric evaluation. Under prior law, only physicians could issue such certificates.

The act permits social workers, counselors, and APRNS to issue an emergency certificate if they:

1. have received at least eight hours of specialized training in conducting direct evaluations as a member of a Department of Children and Families (DCF) emergency mobile psychiatric services team and

2. reasonably believe, based on their direct evaluation, that the child (a) has a psychiatric disability; (b) is a danger to himself, herself, or others or is gravely disabled; and (c) needs immediate care and treatment.

The act requires the child to be evaluated within 24 hours after the emergency certificate is issued. The law requires a psychiatrist to conduct the evaluation. The act prohibits a hospital from holding a child hospitalized by a social worker, counselor, or APRN for more than 72 hours unless a court orders the child's commitment.

When a physician issues an emergency certificate, the law permits the child to be hospitalized for up to 15 days. And, if a commitment proceeding is begun during those 15 days, hospitalization can continue for 15 days longer (25 if the proceeding is transferred from probate to Superior Court) or until the proceeding is finished, whichever occurs first.

The act gives children hospitalized by social workers, counselors, and APRNs the same rights as existing law gives those hospitalized by physicians. These include the right to consult with and be represented by an attorney and the right to a hearing.

Finally, the act requires DCF to collect data pertaining to certificates social workers, counselors, and APRNs issue.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

BACKGROUND

DCF Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service (EMPS) Teams

EMPS teams provide mobile response; psychiatric assessment; medication consultation, assessment, and short-term medication management; behavioral management; and substance abuse screening and referral services for families with a child in crisis.

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