State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_122C > GS_122C-263

§ 122C‑263.  Duties oflaw‑enforcement officer; first examination by physician or eligiblepsychologist.

(a)        Without unnecessarydelay after assuming custody, the law enforcement officer or the individualdesignated by the clerk or magistrate under G.S. 122C‑251(g) to providetransportation shall take the respondent to an area facility for examination bya physician or eligible psychologist; if a physician or eligible psychologistis not available in the area facility, the person designated to provide transportationshall take the respondent to any physician or eligible psychologist locallyavailable. If a physician or eligible psychologist is not immediatelyavailable, the respondent may be temporarily detained in an area facility, ifone is available; if an area facility is not available, the respondent may bedetained under appropriate supervision in the respondent's home, in a privatehospital or a clinic, in a general hospital, or in a State facility for thementally ill, but not in a jail or other penal facility.

(b)        The examination setforth in subsection (a) of this section is not required if:

(1)        The affiant whoobtained the custody order is a physician or eligible psychologist whorecommends inpatient commitment;

(2)        The custody orderstates that the respondent was charged with a violent crime, including a crimeinvolving assault with a deadly weapon, and he was found incapable ofproceeding; or

(3)        Repealed by SessionLaws 1987, c. 596, s. 3.

In any of these cases, the law‑enforcementofficer shall take the respondent directly to a 24‑hour facilitydescribed in G.S. 122C‑252.

(c)        The physician oreligible psychologist described in subsection (a) of this section shall examinethe respondent as soon as possible, and in any event within 24 hours, after therespondent is presented for examination. When the examination set forth insubsection (a) of this section is performed by a physician or eligiblepsychologist the respondent may either be in the physical face‑to‑facepresence of the physician or eligible psychologist or may be examined utilizingtelemedicine equipment and procedures. A physician or eligible psychologist whoexamines a respondent by means of telemedicine must be satisfied to areasonable medical certainty that the determinations made in accordance withsubsection (d) of this section would not be different if the examination hadbeen done in the physical presence of the physician or eligible psychologist. Aphysician or eligible psychologist who is not so satisfied must note that theexamination was not satisfactorily accomplished, and the respondent must betaken for a face‑to‑face examination in the physical presence of aperson authorized to perform examinations under this section. As used in thissubsection, "telemedicine" is the use of two‑way real‑timeinteractive audio and video between places of lesser and greater medicalcapability or expertise to provide and support health care when distanceseparates participants who are in different geographical locations. A recipientis referred by one provider to receive the services of another provider viatelemedicine.

The examination shall includebut is not limited to an assessment of the respondent's:

(1)        Current and previousmental illness and mental retardation including, if available, previoustreatment history;

(2)        Dangerousness toself, as defined in G.S. 122C‑3(11)a. or others, as defined in G.S. 122C‑3(11)b.;

(3)        Ability to survivesafely without inpatient commitment, including the availability of supervisionfrom family, friends or others; and

(4)        Capacity to make aninformed decision concerning treatment.

(d)        After theconclusion of the examination the physician or eligible psychologist shall makethe following determinations:

(1)        If the physician oreligible psychologist finds that:

a.         The respondent ismentally ill;

b.         The respondent iscapable of surviving safely in the community with available supervision fromfamily, friends, or others;

c.         Based on therespondent's psychiatric history, the respondent is in need of treatment in orderto prevent further disability or deterioration that would predictably result indangerousness as defined by G.S. 122C‑3(11); and

d.         The respondent'scurrent mental status or the nature of the respondent's illness limits ornegates the respondent's ability to make an informed decision to seekvoluntarily or comply with recommended treatment.

Thephysician or eligible psychologist shall so show on the examination report andshall recommend outpatient commitment. In addition the examining physician oreligible psychologist shall show the name, address, and telephone number of theproposed outpatient treatment physician or center. The person designated in theorder to provide transportation shall return the respondent to the respondent'sregular residence or, with the respondent's consent, to the home of aconsenting individual located in the originating county, and the respondentshall be released from custody.

(2)        If the physician oreligible psychologist finds that the respondent is mentally ill and is dangerousto self, as defined in G.S. 122C‑3(11)a., or others, as defined in G.S.122C‑3(11)b., the physician or eligible psychologist shall recommendinpatient commitment, and shall so show on the examination report. If, inaddition to mental illness and dangerousness, the physician or eligiblepsychologist also finds that the respondent is known or reasonably believed tobe mentally retarded, this finding shall be shown on the report. The lawenforcement officer or other designated person shall take the respondent to a24‑hour facility described in G.S. 122C‑252 pending a districtcourt hearing. If there is no area 24‑hour facility and if the respondentis indigent and unable to pay for care at a private 24‑hour facility, thelaw enforcement officer or other designated person shall take the respondent toa State facility for the mentally ill designated by the Commission inaccordance with G.S. 143B‑147(a)(1)a. for custody, observation, andtreatment and immediately notify the clerk of superior court of this action. Ifa 24‑hour facility is not immediately available or appropriate to therespondent's medical condition, the respondent may be temporarily detainedunder appropriate supervision at the site of the first examination, providedthat at anytime that a physician or eligible psychologist determines that therespondent is no longer in need of inpatient commitment, the proceedings shallbe terminated and the respondent transported and released in accordance withsubdivision (3) of this subsection. However, if the physician or eligiblepsychologist determines that the respondent meets the criteria for outpatientcommitment, as defined in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the physician oreligible psychologist may recommend outpatient commitment, and the respondentshall be transported and released in accordance with subdivision (1) of thissubsection. Any decision to terminate the proceedings or to recommendoutpatient commitment after an initial recommendation of inpatient commitmentshall be documented and reported to the clerk of superior court in accordancewith subsection (e) of this section. If the respondent is temporarily detainedand a 24‑hour facility is not available or medically appropriate sevendays after the issuance of the custody order, a physician or psychologist shallreport this fact to the clerk of superior court and the proceedings shall beterminated. Termination of proceedings pursuant to this subdivision shall notprohibit or prevent the initiation of new involuntary commitment proceedingswhen appropriate. Affidavits filed in support of proceedings terminatedpursuant to this subdivision may not be submitted in support of any subsequentpetitions for involuntary commitment. If the affiant initiating new commitmentproceedings is a physician or eligible psychologist, the affiant shall conducta new examination and may not rely upon examinations conducted as part ofproceedings terminated pursuant to this subdivision.

Inthe event an individual known or reasonably believed to be mentally retarded istransported to a State facility for the mentally ill, in no event shall thatindividual be admitted to that facility except as follows:

a.         Persons described inG.S. 122C‑266(b);

b.         Persons admittedpursuant to G.S. 15A‑1321;

c.         Respondents who areso extremely dangerous as to pose a serious threat to the community and toother patients committed to non‑State hospital psychiatric inpatientunits, as determined by the Director of the Division of Mental Health,Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services or his designee; and

d.         Respondents who areso gravely disabled by both multiple disorders and medical fragility ormultiple disorders and deafness that alternative care is inappropriate, asdetermined by the Director of the Division of Mental Health, DevelopmentalDisabilities, and Substance Abuse Services or his designee.

Individualstransported to a State facility for the mentally ill who are not admitted bythe facility may be transported by law enforcement officers or designated staffof the State facility in State‑owned vehicles to an appropriate 24‑hourfacility that provides psychiatric inpatient care.

Nolater than 24 hours after the transfer, the responsible professional at theoriginal facility shall notify the petitioner, the clerk of court, and, ifconsent is granted by the respondent, the next of kin, that the transfer hasbeen completed.

(3)        If the physician oreligible psychologist finds that neither condition described in subdivisions(1) or (2) of this subsection exists, the proceedings shall be terminated. Theperson designated in the order to provide transportation shall return therespondent to the respondent's regular residence or, with the respondent'sconsent, to the home of a consenting individual located in the originatingcounty and the respondent shall be released from custody.

(e)        The findings of thephysician or eligible psychologist and the facts on which they are based shallbe in writing in all cases. The physician or eligible psychologist shall send acopy of the findings to the clerk of superior court by the most reliable andexpeditious means. If it cannot be reasonably anticipated that the clerk willreceive the copy within 48 hours of the time that it was signed, the physicianor eligible psychologist shall also communicate his findings to the clerk bytelephone.

(f)         When outpatientcommitment is recommended, the examining physician or eligible psychologist, ifdifferent from the proposed outpatient treatment physician or center, shallgive the respondent a written notice listing the name, address, and telephonenumber of the proposed outpatient treatment physician or center and directingthe respondent to appear at the address at a specified date and time. Theexamining physician or eligible psychologist before the appointment shallnotify by telephone the designated outpatient treatment physician or center andshall send a copy of the notice and his examination report to the physician orcenter.

(g)        The physician oreligible psychologist, at the completion of the examination, shall provide therespondent with specific information regarding the next steps that will occur.  (1973, c. 726, s. 1; c.1408, s. 1; 1977, c. 400, s. 4; c. 679, s. 8; c. 739, s. 1; 1979, c. 358, s.27; c. 915, s. 4; 1983, c. 380, ss. 4, 10; c. 638, ss. 6, 7, 25.1; c. 864, s.4; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; c. 695, ss. 2, 5, 6; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 863, s.18; 1987, c. 596, s. 3; 1989, c. 225, s. 2; c. 770, s. 74; 1989 (Reg. Sess.,1990), c. 823, ss. 3, 4; 1991, c. 37, s. 8; c. 636, s. 2(1); c. 761, s. 49;1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 739, s. 8(a)‑(d); 2009‑315, s. 2; 2009‑340,s. 2.)