SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
Columbia, South Carolina

OFFICE OF THE STATE COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO. 755 -91
(5-100)

TO:              All Organizational Components

SUBJECT:   VOLUNTARY ADMISSIONS of Mentally Ill Persons to South Carolina Department of Mental Health's Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals (G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital, William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute, Patrick B. Harris Psychiatric Hospital, Crafts-Farrow State Hospital, and South Carolina State Hospital.)

 

I. POLICY:

It is the policy of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to facilitate the admission of mentally ill persons who are appropriate for voluntary admission.

II. CRITERIA FOR VOLUNTARY ADMISSION:

1. The applicant must be recommended for voluntary admission by a physician who has personally examined the applicant and who considers the applicant to be in need of inpatient psychiatric treatment.

2. The applicant must have the apparent capacity to understand his/her actions in seeking admission to a psychiatric hospital and have the apparent ability to understand the explanation of the subject matter contained in the admission forms he or she will be asked to sign.

3. The applicant must sign an Application for Voluntary Admission and Notice of Right to Release and express a willingness to cooperate in the usual, routine and standard treatment methods of South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospitals.

4. If the applicant is under 16 years of age, the Application must be signed by the individual's parent or legal guardian.

5. The applicant must not be in immediate or imminent need of medical/surgical services requiring general hospital level of care.

III. Procedure:

1. Part I of the Application for Voluntary Admission must be completed by the applicant, or, in the case of applicants under age 16, the parent or legal guardian. The applicant or parent or legal guardian must sign the Application, as appropriate. The original copy of the Application should accompany the applicant to the receiving hospital.

(The block labeled APPROVED is to be completed by the receiving South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospital.)

2. The Part II Certificate of Licensed Physician, which includes required medical information, must also be completed, signed and dated by the referring physician. The referring physician must certify to their opinion that the applicant is in need of psychiatric hospitalization and further, that the applicant has the apparent capacity to understand the information contained in the Application and Notice of Right to Release. The original copy of the Certificate should accompany the applicant to the receiving hospital.

3. The Notice of Right to Release form contains an explanation concerning a voluntary patient's rights in regard to release from the hospital following admission. Both the applicant and the applicant's spouse, parent, legal guardian or other interested person must be furnished a copy of the Notice and sign the statement upon the form acknowledging delivery of the Notice. The original copy of the Notice should accompany the applicant to the receiving hospital. Note:  Due to differing laws governing the admission of children, the Notice of Child's Right to Release form shall be used for admissions of individuals under the age of eighteen (18) years.

4. Upon arrival at the receiving hospital, the applicant shall be examined as soon as practicable by a physician who shall, as part of his or her evaluation, determine whether the applicant has the capacity to give an informed consent to voluntary admission. The results of the evaluation of the applicant's capacity to give informed consent shall be documented in the block labeled APPROVED provided on the Application for Voluntary Admission.

IV. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS:

1. Applicants for voluntary admission should arrive at receiving South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospitals within 24 hours of the completion of the Application for Voluntary Admission, the Certificate of Licensed Physician, and the Notice of Right to Release. Forms completed more than 48 hours prior to arrival are not acceptable.

2. All applicants for voluntary admission should be evaluated by the Mental Health Centers serving the geographical location in which the applicant resides. However, no mentally ill person who is appropriate for voluntary admission shall be denied admission because he/she has not been evaluated by a community mental health center.

3. The referring physician should establish telephone contact with the on-duty physician at the receiving South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospital prior to sending the applicant.

4. If in the judgment of the director or the director's designee (generally, the on-duty physician) of the receiving South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospital the person upon arrival is not a proper subject for voluntary admission, the Director or designee shall effect another responsible option or disposition and so inform the referring physician. For example, upon arrival it may become apparent that an applicant lacks the capacity to give an informed consent to a voluntary admission, that an involuntary admission is necessary or that medical/surgical hospitalization is indicated.

5. All physicians referring applicants for voluntary admission should be thoroughly familiar with the current South Carolina laws pertaining to mental health, and in particular with S. C. Code Ann. 44-17-330 and 44-24-40 (1976) which provide that a hospital may deny a voluntarily admitted patient's request for discharge and retain the patient in the hospital involuntarily in certain circumstances. Such circumstances are described in greater detail on the Notice of Right to Release and Notice of Child's Right to Release forms. If the applicant lacks the apparent capacity to understand the legal conditions governing a voluntary admission to a Department of Mental Health psychiatric hospital, he/she is not an appropriate subject for voluntary admission.

V. CHARGES FOR CARE:

All patients receiving treatment in a Department of Mental Health facility will be charged the established fee for care and treatment as approved by the South Carolina Mental Commission.

This directive rescinds and supersedes Directive No. 602-83.

 

                                                                               Joseph J. Bevilacqua
                                                                                          Joseph J. Bevilacqua Ph.D.
                                                                          State Commissioner of Mental Health

November 12, 1991