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Resident Seminar April 13, 2009. How the “Legal 2000” Works. Introductions. Melissa Piasecki, M.D. University of Nevada School of Medicine. Objectives. At the end of this session you will be able to: Describe commitment standards Complete a valid Legal 2000 form

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Resident seminar april 13 2009 l.jpg

Resident Seminar April 13, 2009

How the “Legal 2000” Works

Introductions l.jpg

  • Melissa Piasecki, M.D.

    • University of Nevada School of Medicine

Objectives l.jpg

  • At the end of this session you will be able to:

    Describe commitment standards

    Complete a valid Legal 2000 form

    Follow the process for filing petitions (to extend legal hold beyond 72 hours)

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Law and Medicine

  • Different Languages

  • Different Values

  • Different Rules

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Rules and Values

  • Medicine: we should treat patients who are ill (suffering); duty

  • Law: individuals have protected rights against intrusive and unwanted treatments; statutes

  • State: protection of public and individuals

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The Conflict

  • Patient best interests– Treatment!

  • Individual Liberty Interests– Freedom!

  • Public Safety

  • Law serves to address conflict

  • Judges serve to rule on conflict

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Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS)


  • Mental health Law is Chapter 433A and B

  • Varies from state to state

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Mental Illness is NOT

By Legal Definition:

  • Substance Intoxication, Delirium, Withdrawal or Dependence as a primary problem

  • Mental retardation

  • Dementia

  • Seizure disorder

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You Cannot Involuntarily Hold by Legal 2000

  • Medical problem

  • Substance Intoxication, Withdrawal or Dependence as primary problem

  • (Contrast with other states: Alaska)

  • Mental retardation

  • Dementia

  • Delirium

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Legal 2000: The Certificate

  • 2 pages, 3 sections

  • Each page must be signed, dated and timed to be a valid document

  • All sections must be completed

  • Shelf life: 72 hours

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Involuntary Admission: The Certificate

Page 1

Police, MSW, PhD, MD

“Behaviors that you have personally observed”

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Page 1 Continued

Behaviors that put person at risk for:

1. Suicide or self-mutilation

2. Violence towards others

3. Inability to meet basic needs (food, shelter, medical care) resulting in death or disability within the next 30 days

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  • Objective (observable)

  • Do NOT include need for treatment, non-adherence to medication

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Which are Behaviors?

  • “Psychotic”→

  • “Bizarre” →

  • “Suicidal” →

  • “Manic” →

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Which are behaviors that raise the question of imminent risk of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • Responding to internal stimuli

  • Not taking antipsychotic

  • Paranoid

  • Urinating in trash can

  • Arguing with family

  • Not taking showers

  • Preaching on the street

  • Harassing casino workers

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Be Explicit! of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • How might the patient’s behavior lead to problems?

    • “Paranoid” compare with:

    • “Paranoia about electricity led to shutting off power. Temperature in apartment found to be 105 degrees. Patient treated for hyperthermia in emergency room and remains delusional.”

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Be Explicit! of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • How might the patient’s behavior lead to problems?

    • “Impulsive and inappropriate behavior” compare with:

    • “Patient’s impulsive behavior this morning led to her disrobing in public and standing in the street facing on-coming traffic. She was pushed away from a car, narrowly escaping serious injury. ”

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  • Look for the incontrovertible of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • What would any reasonable person find a serious risk to self or others?

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Certificate Page 2 of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • Psychiatrist, psychologist or general MD

  • “Paint a picture” of your observations and how patient behavior is dangerous to self or others

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Summary of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • Two pages must be completed, dated, timed

  • Information must specifically address harm to others

    4. This allows for up to 72 hours of hospitalization

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“72 Hours” Now What? of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

Prepare and file petition the day before certificate expires

MD examines the patient and signs

DA signs the petition

Sends the case to court

Wednesday “precourt”- patient must be presented

Thursday hearing before judge- patient has right to be incourt

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Precourt of harm to others, mutilation, death or disability?

  • Send the whole chart with the patient

  • Chart the behaviors that meet criteria

  • Complete the form that targets this information

  • Let the hospital representative know about behavior and discharge planning

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What if it Certificate Expires and No Valid Petition is Filed?

  • Judge dismisses petition

  • Physician must discharge patient

    • Patient can decide to stay as voluntary

  • Liability goes to clinicians

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Can I Just Start Another Certificate if the First Expired? Filed?

  • No.

  • Can file as late as Wednesday in certain circumstances

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Commitment Hearing Filed?

  • Thursday at 9:45 am

  • NNMHAS Courtroom

  • Family Court judge or master

  • Sworn Testimony of treatment team member

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Commitment Standard Filed?

  • Judge Commits (up to 6 months) or Dismisses the Petition based on the evidence presented

    • “Clear and Convincing” Evidence required for commitment

    • Evidence that significant bodily harm will likely come to patient or others

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Committment Filed?

  • Up to 6 months

    • Often much less

    • Can be discharged at any time

  • Public Record

  • Gun ownership

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Committed Filed?

  • Does NOT mean incompetent

    • Separate determination

  • Does NOT allow for involuntary assessment or treatment

    • Denial of rights procedure

  • ONLY allows for involuntary hospitalization

  • When to discharge?

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Questions? Filed?

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient started out voluntary then was put on a certificate

    • 72 hour hold decreases to 48 hours

    • Petition must be filed within 48 hours

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Special Cases Filed?

  • On a Legal 2000 but “elopes”

    • Call the hospital police and RPD/ SPD

    • Tarasoff alerts if necessary

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient left the hospital and came back 1 day later

    • Complete a new Legal 2000 Certificate

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Special Cases Filed?

  • You suspect the patient’s self-harm behavior is attributable to Borderline PD

    • Personality disorders fall within NRS definition of mental illness

    • Involuntary admission criteria include self mutilation

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Special Cases Filed?

  • The patient met criteria when they first came in but now they do not

    • Patient must sign in voluntarily or be discharged

    • Some institutions require a second opinion

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient wants to continue (agrees to stay under a hold for 7 days) but won’t go to pre-court

    • Call Public Defender: 337-4818

    • Only the patient’s attorney can arrange for the continuance

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient is not medically stable for transfer

    • Public defender can continue the case after speaking with the patient

    • Petition must be filed within 72 hours

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient has a legal guardian with authority to consent to medical treatment

    • Guardianship does not allow for psychiatric hospitalization– court approval required

    • It does usually allow for involuntary medication

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Patient will deny all problems and not appear to meet criteria at Pre-Court

    • Go to pre-court and present your findings

    • Send good documentation of patient’s risk behavior

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Special Cases Filed?

  • Legal 2000 poorly written (by someone else) and does not describe behavior adequately

    • Go to pre-court and present your findings

    • Bring other clinical documentation

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Summary Filed?

  • NRS requires strict observation of

    • Behavioral terms on Legal 2000

    • Criteria for commitment

    • Time limits

  • You can make a difference in the court process

  • Good luck!