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Goonch

Goonch's Journal
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September 13, 2022

FLORIDA MENTAL HEALTH ACT--INVOLUNTARY HOSPITALIZATION

SUMMARY:

A circuit court judge may order a patient involuntarily hospitalized at a private psychiatric facility not under contract with the State of Florida pursuant to ss. 394.451-394.478, F. S., provided the patient meets the statutory criteria for involuntary hospitalization, the facility has been approved by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, and the cost of treatment is to be borne by the patient, if he is competent, or by his guardian if the patient is incompetent.

When state funds are to be expended for involuntary hospitalization of a patient in a private psychiatric facility, such facility must be under a contract with the state.


The expressed intent of the legislature in enacting Part I of Ch. 394, F. S. (commonly referred to as the "Baker Act&quot , regarding involuntary hospitalization was to insure that involuntary hospitalization is provided only when expert evaluation determines that it is necessary. Section 8, Ch. 73-133, Laws of Florida [s. 394.467], establishes the criteria for involuntary hospitalization:

&quot 1) CRITERIA. -- A person may be involuntarily hospitalized if he is mentally ill and because of his illness is:
(a) Likely to injure himself or others if allowed to remain at liberty, or
(b) In need of care or treatment and lacks sufficient capacity to make a responsible application on his own behalf."

In order for a patient to be hospitalized involuntarily there must exist the probability of injury to himself or others resulting from his mental illness, or the patient must lack sufficient capacity to seek care or treatment on his own behalf.

Before a patient can be involuntarily hospitalized in a treatment center, notice and a hearing must be provided. Section 8, Ch. 73-133, Laws of Florida [394.467(2), F. S.]. Although the hearing may be waived in writing by the patient, the recommendation for involuntary hospitalization must be supported by the opinions of two physicians who have personally examined the patient within the preceding five days stating that the criteria for involuntary hospitalization are met. To the extent that the patient referred to in your letter meets the statutory requirements for involuntary hospitalization, such patient may be involuntarily hospitalized under s. 8, Chapter 73-133.

Under the amended s. 394.455, F. S., jurisdiction for adjudication under the "Baker Act" lies with the judge of the circuit court. Section 1, Ch. 73-133, Laws of Florida, states:

&quot 21) 'Court,' unless otherwise specified, means the circuit court.
(22) 'Judge,' unless otherwise specified, means the judge of the circuit court, or the judge designated to act under this act by the chief judge of a circuit."..........................

http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/D1585305590E3923852566B30057BD86

September 8, 2022

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