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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 394
MENTAL HEALTH
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F.S. 394.4655
394.4655 Involuntary outpatient services.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Court” means a circuit court or a criminal county court.
(b) “Criminal county court” means a county court exercising its original jurisdiction in a misdemeanor case under s. 34.01.
(2) CRITERIA FOR INVOLUNTARY OUTPATIENT SERVICES.A person may be ordered to involuntary outpatient services upon a finding of the court, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person meets all of the following criteria:
(a) The person is 18 years of age or older.
(b) The person has a mental illness.
(c) The person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision, based on a clinical determination.
(d) The person has a history of lack of compliance with treatment for mental illness.
(e) The person has:
1. At least twice within the immediately preceding 36 months been involuntarily admitted to a receiving or treatment facility as defined in s. 394.455, or has received mental health services in a forensic or correctional facility. The 36-month period does not include any period during which the person was admitted or incarcerated; or
2. Engaged in one or more acts of serious violent behavior toward self or others, or attempts at serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others, within the preceding 36 months.
(f) The person is, as a result of his or her mental illness, unlikely to voluntarily participate in the recommended treatment plan and has refused voluntary services for treatment after sufficient and conscientious explanation and disclosure of why the services are necessary or is unable to determine for himself or herself whether services are necessary.
(g) In view of the person’s treatment history and current behavior, the person is in need of involuntary outpatient services in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would be likely to result in serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others, or a substantial harm to his or her well-being as set forth in s. 394.463(1).
(h) It is likely that the person will benefit from involuntary outpatient services.
(i) All available, less restrictive alternatives that would offer an opportunity for improvement of his or her condition have been judged to be inappropriate or unavailable.
(3) INVOLUNTARY OUTPATIENT SERVICES.
(a)1. A patient who is being recommended for involuntary outpatient services by the administrator of the facility where the patient has been examined may be retained by the facility after adherence to the notice procedures provided in s. 394.4599. The recommendation must be supported by the opinion of a psychiatrist and the second opinion of a clinical psychologist or another psychiatrist, both of whom have personally examined the patient within the preceding 72 hours, that the criteria for involuntary outpatient services are met. However, if the administrator certifies that a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist is not available to provide the second opinion, the second opinion may be provided by a licensed physician who has postgraduate training and experience in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, a physician assistant who has at least 3 years’ experience and is supervised by such licensed physician or a psychiatrist, a clinical social worker, or by a psychiatric nurse. Any second opinion authorized in this subparagraph may be conducted through a face-to-face examination, in person or by electronic means. Such recommendation must be entered on an involuntary outpatient services certificate that authorizes the facility to retain the patient pending completion of a hearing. The certificate must be made a part of the patient’s clinical record.
2. If the patient has been stabilized and no longer meets the criteria for involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463(1), the patient must be released from the facility while awaiting the hearing for involuntary outpatient services. Before filing a petition for involuntary outpatient services, the administrator of the facility or a designated department representative must identify the service provider that will have primary responsibility for service provision under an order for involuntary outpatient services, unless the person is otherwise participating in outpatient psychiatric treatment and is not in need of public financing for that treatment, in which case the individual, if eligible, may be ordered to involuntary treatment pursuant to the existing psychiatric treatment relationship.
3. The service provider shall prepare a written proposed treatment plan in consultation with the patient or the patient’s guardian advocate, if appointed, for the court’s consideration for inclusion in the involuntary outpatient services order that addresses the nature and extent of the mental illness and any co-occurring substance use disorder that necessitate involuntary outpatient services. The treatment plan must specify the likely level of care, including the use of medication, and anticipated discharge criteria for terminating involuntary outpatient services. Service providers may select and supervise other individuals to implement specific aspects of the treatment plan. The services in the plan must be deemed clinically appropriate by a physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker who consults with, or is employed or contracted by, the service provider. The service provider must certify to the court in the proposed plan whether sufficient services for improvement and stabilization are currently available and whether the service provider agrees to provide those services. If the service provider certifies that the services in the proposed treatment plan are not available, the petitioner may not file the petition. The service provider must notify the managing entity if the requested services are not available. The managing entity must document such efforts to obtain the requested services.
(b) If a patient in involuntary inpatient placement meets the criteria for involuntary outpatient services, the administrator of the facility may, before the expiration of the period during which the facility is authorized to retain the patient, recommend involuntary outpatient services. The recommendation must be supported by the opinion of a psychiatrist and the second opinion of a clinical psychologist or another psychiatrist, both of whom have personally examined the patient within the preceding 72 hours, that the criteria for involuntary outpatient services are met. However, if the administrator certifies that a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist is not available to provide the second opinion, the second opinion may be provided by a licensed physician who has postgraduate training and experience in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, a physician assistant who has at least 3 years’ experience and is supervised by such licensed physician or a psychiatrist, a clinical social worker, or by a psychiatric nurse. Any second opinion authorized in this subparagraph may be conducted through a face-to-face examination, in person or by electronic means. Such recommendation must be entered on an involuntary outpatient services certificate, and the certificate must be made a part of the patient’s clinical record.
(c)1. The administrator of the treatment facility shall provide a copy of the involuntary outpatient services certificate and a copy of the state mental health discharge form to the managing entity in the county where the patient will be residing. For persons who are leaving a state mental health treatment facility, the petition for involuntary outpatient services must be filed in the county where the patient will be residing.
2. The service provider that will have primary responsibility for service provision shall be identified by the designated department representative before the order for involuntary outpatient services and must, before filing a petition for involuntary outpatient services, certify to the court whether the services recommended in the patient’s discharge plan are available and whether the service provider agrees to provide those services. The service provider must develop with the patient, or the patient’s guardian advocate, if appointed, a treatment or service plan that addresses the needs identified in the discharge plan. The plan must be deemed to be clinically appropriate by a physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker, as defined in this chapter, who consults with, or is employed or contracted by, the service provider.
3. If the service provider certifies that the services in the proposed treatment or service plan are not available, the petitioner may not file the petition. The service provider must notify the managing entity if the requested services are not available. The managing entity must document such efforts to obtain the requested services.
(4) PETITION FOR INVOLUNTARY OUTPATIENT SERVICES.
(a) A petition for involuntary outpatient services may be filed by:
1. The administrator of a receiving facility; or
2. The administrator of a treatment facility.
(b) Each required criterion for involuntary outpatient services must be alleged and substantiated in the petition for involuntary outpatient services. A copy of the certificate recommending involuntary outpatient services completed by a qualified professional specified in subsection (3) must be attached to the petition. A copy of the proposed treatment plan must be attached to the petition. Before the petition is filed, the service provider shall certify that the services in the proposed plan are available. If the necessary services are not available, the petition may not be filed. The service provider must notify the managing entity if the requested services are not available. The managing entity must document such efforts to obtain the requested services.
(c) The petition for involuntary outpatient services must be filed in the county where the patient is located, unless the patient is being placed from a state treatment facility, in which case the petition must be filed in the county where the patient will reside. When the petition has been filed, the clerk of the court shall provide copies of the petition and the proposed treatment plan to the department, the managing entity, the patient, the patient’s guardian or representative, the state attorney, and the public defender or the patient’s private counsel. A fee may not be charged for filing a petition under this subsection.
(5) APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL.Within 1 court working day after the filing of a petition for involuntary outpatient services, the court shall appoint the public defender to represent the person who is the subject of the petition, unless the person is otherwise represented by counsel. The clerk of the court shall immediately notify the public defender of the appointment. The public defender shall represent the person until the petition is dismissed, the court order expires, or the patient is discharged from involuntary outpatient services. An attorney who represents the patient must be provided access to the patient, witnesses, and records relevant to the presentation of the patient’s case and shall represent the interests of the patient, regardless of the source of payment to the attorney.
(6) CONTINUANCE OF HEARING.The patient is entitled, with the concurrence of the patient’s counsel, to at least one continuance of the hearing. The continuance shall be for a period of up to 4 weeks.
(7) HEARING ON INVOLUNTARY OUTPATIENT SERVICES.
(a)1. The court shall hold the hearing on involuntary outpatient services within 5 working days after the filing of the petition, unless a continuance is granted. The hearing must be held in the county where the petition is filed, must be as convenient to the patient as is consistent with orderly procedure, and must be conducted in physical settings not likely to be injurious to the patient’s condition. If the court finds that the patient’s attendance at the hearing is not consistent with the best interests of the patient and if the patient’s counsel does not object, the court may waive the presence of the patient from all or any portion of the hearing. The state attorney for the circuit in which the patient is located shall represent the state, rather than the petitioner, as the real party in interest in the proceeding.
2. The court may appoint a magistrate to preside at the hearing. One of the professionals who executed the involuntary outpatient services certificate shall be a witness. The patient and the patient’s guardian or representative shall be informed by the court of the right to an independent expert examination. If the patient cannot afford such an examination, the court shall ensure that one is provided, as otherwise provided by law. The independent expert’s report is confidential and not discoverable, unless the expert is to be called as a witness for the patient at the hearing. The court shall allow testimony from individuals, including family members, deemed by the court to be relevant under state law, regarding the person’s prior history and how that prior history relates to the person’s current condition. The testimony in the hearing must be given under oath, and the proceedings must be recorded. The patient may refuse to testify at the hearing.
(b)1. If the court concludes that the patient meets the criteria for involuntary outpatient services pursuant to subsection (2), the court shall issue an order for involuntary outpatient services. The court order shall be for a period of up to 90 days. The order must specify the nature and extent of the patient’s mental illness. The order of the court and the treatment plan must be made part of the patient’s clinical record. The service provider shall discharge a patient from involuntary outpatient services when the order expires or any time the patient no longer meets the criteria for involuntary placement. Upon discharge, the service provider shall send a certificate of discharge to the court.
2. The court may not order the department or the service provider to provide services if the program or service is not available in the patient’s local community, if there is no space available in the program or service for the patient, or if funding is not available for the program or service. The service provider must notify the managing entity if the requested services are not available. The managing entity must document such efforts to obtain the requested services. A copy of the order must be sent to the managing entity by the service provider within 1 working day after it is received from the court. The order may be submitted electronically through existing data systems. After the order for involuntary services is issued, the service provider and the patient may modify the treatment plan. For any material modification of the treatment plan to which the patient or, if one is appointed, the patient’s guardian advocate agrees, the service provider shall send notice of the modification to the court. Any material modifications of the treatment plan which are contested by the patient or the patient’s guardian advocate, if applicable, must be approved or disapproved by the court consistent with subsection (3).
3. If, in the clinical judgment of a physician, the patient has failed or has refused to comply with the treatment ordered by the court, and, in the clinical judgment of the physician, efforts were made to solicit compliance and the patient may meet the criteria for involuntary examination, a person may be brought to a receiving facility pursuant to s. 394.463. If, after examination, the patient does not meet the criteria for involuntary inpatient placement pursuant to s. 394.467, the patient must be discharged from the facility. The involuntary outpatient services order shall remain in effect unless the service provider determines that the patient no longer meets the criteria for involuntary outpatient services or until the order expires. The service provider must determine whether modifications should be made to the existing treatment plan and must attempt to continue to engage the patient in treatment. For any material modification of the treatment plan to which the patient or the patient’s guardian advocate, if applicable, agrees, the service provider shall send notice of the modification to the court. Any material modifications of the treatment plan which are contested by the patient or the patient’s guardian advocate, if applicable, must be approved or disapproved by the court consistent with subsection (3).
(c) If, at any time before the conclusion of the initial hearing on involuntary outpatient services, it appears to the court that the person does not meet the criteria for involuntary outpatient services under this section but, instead, meets the criteria for involuntary inpatient placement, the court may order the person admitted for involuntary inpatient examination under s. 394.463. If the person instead meets the criteria for involuntary assessment, protective custody, or involuntary admission pursuant to s. 397.675, the court may order the person to be admitted for involuntary assessment for a period of 5 days pursuant to s. 397.6811. Thereafter, all proceedings are governed by chapter 397.
(d) At the hearing on involuntary outpatient services, the court shall consider testimony and evidence regarding the patient’s competence to consent to services. If the court finds that the patient is incompetent to consent to treatment, it shall appoint a guardian advocate as provided in s. 394.4598. The guardian advocate shall be appointed or discharged in accordance with s. 394.4598.
(e) The administrator of the receiving facility or the designated department representative shall provide a copy of the court order and adequate documentation of a patient’s mental illness to the service provider for involuntary outpatient services. Such documentation must include any advance directives made by the patient, a psychiatric evaluation of the patient, and any evaluations of the patient performed by a psychologist or a clinical social worker.
(8) PROCEDURE FOR CONTINUED INVOLUNTARY OUTPATIENT SERVICES.
(a)1. If the person continues to meet the criteria for involuntary outpatient services, the service provider shall, at least 10 days before the expiration of the period during which the treatment is ordered for the person, file in the court that issued the order for involuntary outpatient 1services a petition for continued involuntary outpatient services. The court shall immediately schedule a hearing on the petition to be held within 15 days after the petition is filed.
2. The existing involuntary outpatient services order remains in effect until disposition on the petition for continued involuntary outpatient services.
3. A certificate shall be attached to the petition which includes a statement from the person’s physician or clinical psychologist justifying the request, a brief description of the patient’s treatment during the time he or she was receiving involuntary services, and an individualized plan of continued treatment.
4. The service provider shall develop the individualized plan of continued treatment in consultation with the patient or the patient’s guardian advocate, if applicable. When the petition has been filed, the clerk of the court shall provide copies of the certificate and the individualized plan of continued services to the department, the patient, the patient’s guardian advocate, the state attorney, and the patient’s private counsel or the public defender.
(b) Within 1 court working day after the filing of a petition for continued involuntary outpatient services, the court shall appoint the public defender to represent the person who is the subject of the petition, unless the person is otherwise represented by counsel. The clerk of the court shall immediately notify the public defender of such appointment. The public defender shall represent the person until the petition is dismissed or the court order expires or the patient is discharged from involuntary outpatient services. Any attorney representing the patient shall have access to the patient, witnesses, and records relevant to the presentation of the patient’s case and shall represent the interests of the patient, regardless of the source of payment to the attorney.
(c) Hearings on petitions for continued involuntary outpatient services must be before the court that issued the order for involuntary outpatient 1services. The court may appoint a magistrate to preside at the hearing. The procedures for obtaining an order pursuant to this paragraph must meet the requirements of subsection (7), except that the time period included in paragraph (2)(e) is not applicable in determining the appropriateness of additional periods of involuntary outpatient placement.
(d) Notice of the hearing must be provided as set forth in s. 394.4599. The patient and the patient’s attorney may agree to a period of continued outpatient services without a court hearing.
(e) The same procedure must be repeated before the expiration of each additional period the patient is placed in treatment.
(f) If the patient has previously been found incompetent to consent to treatment, the court shall consider testimony and evidence regarding the patient’s competence. Section 394.4598 governs the discharge of the guardian advocate if the patient’s competency to consent to treatment has been restored.
History.s. 8, ch. 2004-385; s. 3, ch. 2006-171; s. 4, ch. 2009-38; s. 4, ch. 2016-127; s. 85, ch. 2016-241.
1Note.As amended by s. 85, ch. 2016-241. The amendment by s. 4, ch. 2016-127, uses the word “treatment” instead of the word “services.”