TITLE 40.1
Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals

CHAPTER 40.1-5
Mental Health Law

SECTION 40.1-5-5

§ 40.1-5-5. Admission of patients generally – Rights of patients – Patients' records – Competence of patients.

(a) Admissions. Any person who is in need of care and treatment in a facility, as herein defined, may be admitted or certified, received, and retained as a patient in a facility by complying with any one of the following admission procedures applicable to the case:

(1) Voluntary admission.

(2) Emergency certification.

(3) Civil court certification.

(b) Forms. The director shall prescribe and furnish forms for use in admissions and patient notification procedures under this chapter.

(c) Exclusions. No defective delinquent, person with a mental disability, or person under the influence of alcohol or drugs shall be certified to a facility, as herein defined, solely by reason of that condition, unless the person also qualified for admission or certification under the provisions of this chapter.

(d) Examining physician. For purposes of certification, no examining physician shall be related by blood or marriage to the person who is applying for the admission of another, or to the person who is the subject of the application; nor shall he or she have any interest, contractually, testamentary, or otherwise (other than reasonable and proper charges for professional services rendered), in or against the estate or assets of the person who is the subject of the application; nor shall he or she be a manager, trustee, visitor, proprietor, officer, stockholder, or have any pecuniary interest, directly or indirectly, or, except as otherwise herein expressly provided, be a director, resident physician, or salaried physician, or employee in any facility to which it is proposed to admit the person.

(e) Certificates. Certificates, as required by this chapter, must provide a factual description of the person's behavior that indicates that the person concerned is mentally disabled, creates a likelihood of serious harm, and is in need of care and treatment in a facility as defined in this chapter. They shall further set forth such other findings as may be required by the particular certification procedure used. Certificates shall also show that an examination of the person concerned was made within five (5) days prior to the date of admission or certification, unless otherwise herein provided. The date of the certificate shall be the date of the commencement of the examination, and in the event examinations are conducted separately or over a period of days, then the five-day (5) period above referred to (unless otherwise expressly provided) shall be measured from the date of the commencement of the first examination. All certificates shall contain the observations upon which judgments are based, and shall contain other information as the director may by rule or regulation require.

(f) Rights of patients. No patient admitted or certified to any facility under any provision of this chapter shall be deprived of any constitutional, civil, or legal right, solely by reason of such admission or certification nor shall the certification or admission modify or vary any constitutional or civil right, including, but not limited to, the right or rights:

(1) To privacy and dignity;

(2) To civil service or merit rating or ranking and appointment;

(3) Relating to the granting, forfeiture or denial of a license, permit, privilege, or benefit pursuant to any law;

(4) To religious freedom;

(5) To be visited privately at all reasonable times by his or her personal physician, attorney, and clergyperson, and by other persons at all reasonable times unless the official in charge of the facility determines either that a visit by any of the other persons or a particular visitation time would not be in the best interests of the patient and he or she incorporates a statement for any denial of visiting rights in the individualized treatment record of the patient;

(6) To be provided with stationery, writing materials, and postage in reasonable amounts and to have free unrestricted, unopened, and uncensored use of the mails for letters;

(7) To wear one's own clothes, keep and use personal possessions, including toilet articles; to keep and be allowed to spend a reasonable sum of money for canteen expenses and small purchases; to have access to individual storage space for his or her private use; and reasonable access to telephones to make and receive confidential calls; provided, however, that any of these rights may be denied for good cause by the official in charge of a facility or a physician designated by him or her. A statement of the reasons for any denial shall be entered in the individualized treatment record of the patient;

(8) To seek independent psychiatric examination and opinion from a psychiatrist or mental health professional of his or her choice;

(9) To be employed at a gainful occupation insofar as the patient's condition permits, provided however, that no patient shall be required to perform labor;

(10) To vote and participate in political activity;

(11) To receive and read literature;

(12) To have the least possible restraint imposed upon the person consistent with affording him or her the care and treatment necessary and appropriate to his or her condition;

(13) To have access to the mental health advocate upon request;

(14) To prevent release of his or her name to the advocate or next of kin by signing a form provided to all patients for that purpose at the time of admission.

(g) Records. A facility shall maintain for each patient admitted pursuant to this chapter, a comprehensive medical record. The record shall contain a recorded, individualized treatment plan, which shall at least monthly be reviewed by the physician of the facility who is chiefly responsible for the patient's care, notations of the reviews to be entered in the record. The records shall also contain information indicating at the time of admission or certification what alternatives to admission or certification are available to the patient; what alternatives have been investigated; and why the investigated alternatives were not deemed suitable. The medical record shall further contain other information as the director may by rule or regulation require.

(h) Competence. A person shall not, solely by reason of his or her admission or certification to a facility for examination or care and treatment under the provisions of this chapter, thereby be deemed incompetent to manage his or her affairs; to contract; to hold, or seek a professional, occupational, or vehicle operator's license; to make a will; or for any other purpose. Neither shall any requirement be made, by rule, regulation, or otherwise, as a condition to admission and retention, that any person applying for admission shall have the legal capacity to contract, it being sufficient for the purpose, that the person understand the nature and consequence of making the application.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1966, ch. 100, § 1; P.L. 1968, ch. 168, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 40-20-6; Reorg. Plan No. 1, 1970; G.L. 1956, § 40.1-5-6; P.L. 1974, ch. 119, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 203, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 215, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 136.)