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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XVII PUBLIC WELFARE
  • CHAPTER 123 MENTAL HEALTH
  • Section 1 Definitions

Section 1. The following words as used in this section and sections two to thirty-seven, inclusive, shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the following meanings:

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of mental health.

“Department”, the department of mental health.

“Dependent funds”, those funds which a resident is unable to manage or spend himself as determined by the periodic review.

“District court”, the district court within the jurisdiction of which a facility is located.

“Facility”, a public or private facility for the care and treatment of mentally ill persons, except for the Bridgewater State Hospital.

“Fiduciary”, any guardian, conservator, trustee, representative payee as appointed by a federal agency, or other person who receives or maintains funds on behalf of another.

“Funds”, all cash, checks, negotiable instruments or other income or liquid personal property, and governmental and private pensions and payments, including payments pursuant to a Social Security Administration program.

“Independent funds”, those funds which a resident is able to manage or spend himself as determined by the periodic review.

“Licensed mental health professional”, any person who holds himself out to the general public as one providing mental health services and who is required pursuant to such practice to obtain a license from the commonwealth.

“Likelihood of serious harm”, (1) a substantial risk of physical harm to the person himself as manifested by evidence of, threats of, or attempts at, suicide or serious bodily harm; (2) a substantial risk of physical harm to other persons as manifested by evidence of homicidal or other violent behavior or evidence that others are placed in reasonable fear of violent behavior and serious physical harm to them; or (3) a very substantial risk of physical impairment or injury to the person himself as manifested by evidence that such person’s judgment is so affected that he is unable to protect himself in the community and that reasonable provision for his protection is not available in the community.

“Patient”, any person with whom a licensed mental health professional has established a mental health professional-patient relationship.

“Psychiatric nurse”, a nurse licensed pursuant to section seventy-four of chapter one hundred and twelve who specializes in mental health or psychiatric nursing.

“Psychiatrist”, a physician licensed pursuant to section two of chapter one hundred and twelve who specializes in the practice of psychiatry.

“Psychologist”, an individual licensed pursuant to section one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twelve.

“Qualified physician”, a physician who is licensed pursuant to section two of chapter one hundred and twelve who is designated by and who meets qualifications required by the regulations of the department; provided that different qualifications may be established for different purposes of this chapter. A qualified physician need not be an employee of the department or of any facility of the department.

“Qualified psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialist”, a psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialist authorized to practice as such under regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section eighty B of chapter one hundred and twelve who is designated by and meets qualifications required by the regulations of the department, provided that different qualifications may be established for different purposes of this chapter. A qualified psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialist need not be an employee of the department or of any facility of the department.

“Qualified psychologist”, a psychologist who is licensed pursuant to sections one hundred and eighteen to one hundred and twenty-nine, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twelve who is designated by and who meets qualifications required by the regulations of the department, provided that different qualifications may be established for different purposes of this chapter. A qualified psychologist need not be an employee of the department or of any facility of the department.

“Reasonable precautions”, any licensed mental health professional shall be deemed to have taken reasonable precautions, as that term is used in section thirty-six B, if such professional makes reasonable efforts to take one or more of the following actions as would be taken by a reasonably prudent member of his profession under the same or similar circumstances:—

(a) communicates a threat of death or serious bodily injury to the reasonably identified victim or victims;

(b) notifies an appropriate law enforcement agency in the vicinity where the patient or any potential victim resides;

(c) arranges for the patient to be hospitalized voluntarily;

(d) takes appropriate steps, within the legal scope of practice of his profession, to initiate proceedings for involuntary hospitalization.

“Restraint”, bodily physical force, mechanical devices, chemicals, confinement in a place of seclusion other than the placement of an inpatient or resident in his room for the night, or any other means which unreasonably limit freedom of movement.

“Social worker”, an individual licensed pursuant to sections one hundred and thirty to one hundred and thirty-two, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twelve.

“Superintendent”, the superintendent or other head of a public or private facility.