Pennsylvania Statutes Title 50 P.S. Mental Health § 7303. Extended involuntary emergency treatment certified by a judge or mental health review officer--Not to exceed twenty days

(a) Persons Subject to Extended Involuntary Emergency Treatment.--Application for extended involuntary emergency treatment may be made for any person who is being treated pursuant to section 302   1 whenever the facility determines that the need for emergency treatment is likely to extend beyond 120 hours.  The application shall be filed forthwith in the court of common pleas, and shall state the grounds on which extended emergency treatment is believed to be necessary.  The application shall state the name of any examining physician and the substance of his opinion regarding the mental condition of the person.

(b) Appointment of Counsel and Scheduling of Informal Hearing.--Upon receiving such application, the court of common pleas shall appoint an attorney who shall represent the person unless it shall appear that the person can afford, and desires to have, private representation.  Within 24 hours after the application is filed, an informal hearing shall be conducted by a judge or by a mental health review officer and, if practicable, shall be held at the facility.

(c) Informal Conference on Extended Emergency Treatment Application.--(1) At the commencement of the informal conference, the judge or the mental health review officer shall inform the person of the nature of the proceedings.  Information relevant to whether the person is severely mentally disabled and in need of treatment shall be reviewed, including the reasons that continued involuntary treatment is considered necessary.  Such explanation shall be made by a physician who examined the person and shall be in terms understandable to a layman.  The judge or mental health review officer may review any relevant information even if it would be normally excluded under rules of evidence if he believes that such information is reliable.  The person or his representative shall have the right to ask questions of the physician and of any other witnesses and to present any relevant information.  At the conclusion of the review, if the judge or the review officer finds that the person is severely mentally disabled and in need of continued involuntary treatment, either as an inpatient or through less restrictive assisted outpatient treatment, he shall so certify.  Otherwise, he shall direct that the facility director or his designee discharge the person.

(2) A record of the proceedings which need not be a stenographic record shall be made.  Such record shall be kept by the court or mental health review officer for at least one year.

(d) Contents of Certification.--A certification for extended involuntary treatment shall be made in writing upon a form adopted by the department and shall include:

(1) findings by the judge or mental health review officer as to the reasons that extended involuntary emergency treatment is necessary;

(2) a description of the treatment to be provided together with an explanation of the adequacy and appropriateness of such treatment, based upon the information received at the hearing;

(3) any documents required by the provisions of section 302;

(4) the application as filed pursuant to section 303(a);  2

(5) a statement that the person is represented by counsel;  and

(6) an explanation of the effect of the certification, the person's right to petition the court for release under subsection (g), and the continuing right to be represented by counsel.

(e) Filing and Service.--The certification shall be filed with the director of the facility and a copy served on the person, such other parties as the person requested to be notified pursuant to section 302(c), and on counsel.

(f) Effect of Certification.--Upon the filing and service of a certification for extended involuntary emergency treatment, the person may be given treatment in an approved facility for a period not to exceed 20 days.

(g) Petition to Common Pleas Court.--In all cases in which the hearing was conducted by a mental health review officer, a person made subject to treatment pursuant to this section shall have the right to petition the court of common pleas for review of the certification.  A hearing shall be held within 72 hours after the petition is filed unless a continuance is requested by the person's counsel.  The hearing shall include a review of the certification and such evidence as the court may receive or require.  If the court determines that further involuntary treatment is necessary and that the procedures prescribed by this act have been followed, it shall deny the petition.  Otherwise, the person shall be discharged.

(h) Duration of Extended Involuntary Emergency Treatment.--Whenever a person is no longer severely mentally disabled or in need of immediate treatment and, in any event, within 20 days after the filing of the certification, he shall be discharged, unless within such period:

(1) he is admitted to voluntary treatment pursuant to section 202;   3  or

(2) the court orders involuntary treatment pursuant to section 304.  4

1 50 P.S. § 7302.
2 See subsec. (a) of this section.
3 50 P.S. § 7202.
4 50 P.S. § 7304.

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