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  • Acts
  • 2000
  • Chapter 249 AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING THE CIVIL COMMITMENT PROCESS FOR PERSONS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Section 7 of chapter 123 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 20, the word "fourteen" and inserting in place thereof the following word:- four.

SECTION 2. Paragraph (c) of said section 7 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The periods of time prescribed or allowed under the provisions of this section shall be computed pursuant to Rule 6 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure.

SECTION 3. Section 11 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following two sentences:- Before accepting an application for voluntary admission where the superintendent may require three days written notice of intention to leave or withdraw, the admitting or treating physician shall assess the person's capacity to understand that: (i) the person is agreeing to stay or remain at the hospital; (ii) the person is agreeing to accept treatment; (iii) the person is required to provide the facility with three days written advance notice of the person's intention to leave the facility; and (iv) the facility may petition a court for an extended commitment of the person and that he may be held at the facility until the petition is heard by the court. If the physician determines that the person lacks the capacity to understand these facts and consequences of hospitalization, the application shall not be accepted.

SECTION 4. Section 12 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 11, 23, 49, 57, 70 and 71, the word "ten" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following word:- four.

SECTION 5. Said section 12 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 52, the word "ten-day" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- four day.

SECTION 6. Subsection (b) of said section 12 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following two paragraphs:-

Upon admission of a person under the provisions of this subsection, the facility shall inform the person that it shall, upon such person's request, notify the committee for public counsel services of the name and location of the person admitted. Said committee for public counsel services shall forthwith appoint an attorney who shall meet with the person. If the appointed attorney determines that the person voluntarily and knowingly waives the right to be represented, or is presently represented or will be represented by another attorney, the appointed attorney shall so notify said committee for public counsel services, which shall withdraw the appointment.

Any person admitted under the provisions of this subsection, who has reason to believe that such admission is the result of an abuse or misuse of the provisions of this subsection, may request, or request through counsel an emergency hearing in the district court in whose jurisdiction the facility is located, and unless a delay is requested by the person or through counsel, the district court shall hold such hearing on the day the request is filed with the court or not later than the next business day.

SECTION 7. Subsection (e) of said section 12 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first sentence the following sentence:- The court shall appoint counsel to represent said person.

SECTION 8. Said subsection (e) of said section 12 of said chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The periods of time prescribed or allowed under the provisions of this section shall be computed pursuant to Rule 6 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure.

SECTION 9. Four months after the effective date of this act and quarterly thereafter, the chief justice of the district court, and the committee for public counsel services shall report to the joint committee on human services and the house and senate committees on ways and means regarding any additional cost, as well as the ability of the court to carry out its responsibilities. The department of mental health shall report four months after the effective date of this act and quarterly thereafter to said committees regarding data collected from the facilities it licenses and operates to assist in evaluation of its impact.

Approved August 13, 2000.