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Bill Number: 3136 Ratification Number: 66 Act Number 38 Introducing Body: House Subject: Relating to commitment to alcohol and drug abuse facilities
(A38, R66, H3136)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 44-52-60, 44-52-70, AS AMENDED, AND 44-52-90, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO COMMITMENT TO ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE FACILITIES, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR AN EXAMINATION OF REPORTS TO THE COURT OF FINDINGS AND FOR DETENTION OR RELEASE OF A PERSON COMMITTED IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, TO PROVIDE FOR EXAMINATION OF A PERSON INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED AND REPORTS ON HIS CONDITION, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A REPORT MUST INCLUDE A DECISION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE PERSON COMMITTED IS LIKELY TO BENEFIT FROM INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 44-52-100 RELATING TO REPORTS ON AND INVESTIGATORS OF INVOLUNTARILY COMMITTED PERSONS TO ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE FACILITIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Emergency admission, review, report discharge or detention
SECTION 1. Section 44-52-60 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-52-60. (A) Within forty-eight hours after admission, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the place of admission shall forward the certificate of the physician as required by Section 44-52-50, the affidavit, a designated examiner appointment form listing the names of two designated examiners at the treatment facility, and other information provided by the facility regarding the person's admission, to the court of the county where the person resides or where the acts leading to admission occurred.
(B) Within forty-eight hours of receipt of the documents and information from the treatment facility, the court shall conduct a preliminary review of all the evidence to determine if probable cause exists to continue the emergency detention of the patient. If the court finds that probable cause does not exist, it shall issue an order that the patient be discharged immediately from the facility. Upon a finding that probable cause exists to continue the emergency detention of the patient, the court shall make a written order detailing its findings and may order the continued detention of the patient.
(C) If continued detention of the patient is ordered, the court shall order the two designated examiners whose names were supplied by the treatment facility, or two independent examiners to examine the patient at the treatment facility. At least one of the examiners appointed by the court must be a licensed physician. The examiners must submit a report to the court within five days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
(D) If the report of the examiners is:
(1) that the patient is not chemically dependent or is chemically dependent but no longer in need of emergency commitment and not likely to benefit from further treatment, the court shall dismiss the petition and the patient must be discharged immediately from the facility;
(2) that the patient is chemically dependent, in need of involuntary hospitalization, and likely to benefit from further treatment, the court may order that the person be detained at the place of admission; or
(3) that the two examiners conflict in their opinions, the court may designate a third examiner, who must be knowledgeable in the treatment of chemical dependency and charge the three examiners to render a majority opinion within forty-eight hours or the court may terminate the proceedings and the patient must be discharged immediately from the treatment facility.
(E) If the report of the examiners is that the patient is chemically dependent and in need of involuntary hospitalization, the court may order the patient be detained at the treatment facility pending the court hearing pursuant to Section 44-52-110. The court shall then appoint counsel for the patient if counsel has not been retained, and must fix a date for a full hearing within twenty days of the date of admission. The full hearing must be conducted pursuant to Sections 44-52-80 through 44-52-110.
(F) The attorney for the patient shall have access to the affidavit, certificate of the physician as required by Section 44-52-50, report of the examiners, order of the court, and any other documents regarding the emergency admission."
Involuntary commitment, examination, hearing
SECTION 2. Section 44-52-70 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 116 of 1987, is further amended to read:
"Section 44-52-70. Judicial proceedings for the involuntary commitment of an individual may be initiated as follows: An adult person or head of a treatment facility under Section 44-52-40 may file a petition with the court in the county where the person is present or where he is a resident or of the county where the person is hospitalized pursuant to Section 44-52-40, under penalty of perjury, alleging that the person is chemically dependent and in need of involuntary commitment.
The petition must be accompanied by the certificate of a licensed physician stating that he has examined the individual within forty-eight hours before the filing of the petition, unless the individual has refused to submit to a medical exam in which case the fact of refusal must be alleged in the petition. The certificate of the physician shall state that in his opinion, based upon stated reasons, the person is chemically dependent and in need of involuntary commitment for care and treatment. If the person for whom involuntary commitment is sought is a patient of a treatment facility pursuant to Section 44-52-40, the petition shall so state.
The court shall order an examination of the individual for whom involuntary commitment is sought. At the direction of the court, the examination may be made by two designees, one of whom must be a licensed physician. The examination may be performed at a treatment facility or other suitable place, and a report must be submitted to the court within seven days of the date of the hearing.
On the report of the designees of refusal to submit to examination, the court shall order the person for whom involuntary commitment is sought to submit to an examination. If he refuses to obey the court order the court may require a law enforcement officer to take him into custody for not exceeding twenty-four hours during which time he must be examined by the two designees. A person taken into custody for the purpose of examination may not be placed in a jail or other correctional facility except for protective custody purposes. If within the twenty-four hours the person in custody is not examined by a licensed physician, the proceedings must be terminated and the individual in custody must be immediately released. His attorney must be notified before his confinement. Upon completion of the examination by the designees, the person must be released.
If the reports of the designees are to the effect that the person for whom involuntary commitment is sought is not a chemically dependent person in need of involuntary commitment, the court shall terminate the proceedings. If the two examiners conflict in their opinions, the court shall terminate the proceedings or shall designate a third examiner, who must be knowledgeable in the treatment of chemical dependency and charge the three examiners to render a majority opinion before the date of the court hearing.
Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall fix a date for the hearing to be held not later than twenty days after the date of filing of the petition unless reasonable delay is sought for good cause shown.
The person for whom involuntary commitment is sought must be represented by counsel at all stages of the proceeding. If the individual cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent him."
SECTION 3. Section 44-52-90 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 44-52-90. The written reports filed with the court shall include, but not be limited to, questions relating to the chemical dependency alleged, whether or not the individual poses a substantial risk of physical harm to himself or others if allowed to remain at liberty, whether or not recent overt acts of the individual are indicative of his chemical dependency, whether or not a less restrictive placement is recommended and available, whether or not the individual is capable of understanding the need to accept treatment on a voluntary basis, and whether or not the individual is likely to benefit from the involuntary treatment.
The court may also order a background investigation by a county social worker or other competent investigator. The investigation shall cover the character, family relationships, past conduct, prior treatment episodes, prior episodes with law enforcement, and other relevant factors relating to the individual. The investigator shall submit a written report to the court within seven days of the hearing.
Counsel for the person for whom involuntary commitment is sought must have access to reports filed with the court before the hearing."
SECTION 4. Section 44-52-100 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.