A N A C T
RELATING TO MENTAL HEALTH
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 40.1-5-32 of the General Laws in Chapter 40.1-5 entitled "Mental Health Law" is hereby amended to read as follows:
40.1-5-32. Transfer of patients. -- (a) No transfer of a patient already in a facility shall be made to a facility or section of a facility maintained for patients certified upon an order of a court or judge having criminal jurisdiction in a proceeding arising out of a criminal offense. The official in charge of a facility or his or her designated agent shall have reasonable discretion to order or permit transfers within a facility for reason of finances, adequacy of personnel, and upon conditions set forth in rules or regulations promulgated by the director pursuant hereto.
(b) A patient certified to any facility pursuant to the provisions of this chapter may be transferred, with his or her consent or that of his or her guardian, to any facility within or without the state or to an institution operated by the veterans' administration or to any agency of the United States government for the treatment of mental disability at a facility under its jurisdiction, within or without the state,
when deemed in the interest of the patient or the facility affected when deemed in the interest of the patient and approved by the transferring and receiving facilities. Transfer shall be made only upon formal written order of the official in charge of the transferring facility or his or her designated agent, and the written acceptance by the director of the federal facility, certifying that accommodations are available and that the person is eligible for the care or treatment therein. A transfer as above described may be accomplished without the consent of a patient or his or her guardian only upon prior application to, and a hearing in, the district court (or family court in the case of a patient under eighteen (18) years of age) and a specific finding by the court that the proposed transfer is in the best interests of the patient and is to a facility which will afford the patient the care and treatment necessary and appropriate to his or her condition.
Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section a A patient received on voluntary admission may not be transferred as provided in subsection (b) without with his or her consent; and if the patient shall not yet have attained his or her eighteenth birthday, without with the consent of his or her parent, guardian, next of kin, or person who signed for his or her admission. A voluntary patient may be transferred to another facility without his or her consent only upon the filing of a petition for certification to the facility, and a finding of probable cause at a preliminary hearing in accordance with section 40.1-5-8.
(d) Patients transferred to facilities without the state or to the veterans' administration or the United States public health service, or another agency operated by the United States government, shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the facility or institution to which they are transferred, and the person or official in charge thereof, in connection with the care and treatment of the patient, being vested with the same powers as persons in charge of similar facilities within the state, provided that no such transfer shall be made to a facility maintained for the purpose of patients committed upon an order of a court or judge having criminal jurisdiction in a proceeding arising out of a criminal offense. Transfers of patients between states which have entered into the interstate compact on mental health shall be pursuant to and in accordance with said compact whenever applicable.
(e) A patient who has been admitted to any facility pursuant to the provisions of this chapter may be transferred without his or her consent to another facility within the state only if the director of the transferring facility or his or her designee certifies, after reasonable investigation, that (1) the patient is unable or unwilling to pay the charges imposed by that facility, and (2) the patient is in need of immediate care and treatment, and his or her unsupervised presence in the community would create an imminent likelihood of serious harm by reason of mental disability. The patient to be transferred pursuant to this subsection shall be forthwith certified to the receiving facility and admitted therein pursuant to the provisions of section 40.1-5-7.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.