A. Notwithstanding § 37.2-814, the district court judge or special justice shall require an examination of the person who is the subject of the hearing by a psychiatrist or a psychologist who is licensed in Virginia by the Board of Medicine or the Board of Psychology and is qualified in the diagnosis of mental illness or, if such a psychiatrist or psychologist is not available, a mental health professional who (i) is licensed in Virginia through the Department of Health Professions as a clinical social worker, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist, (ii) is qualified in the assessment of mental illness, and (iii) has completed a certification program approved by the Department. The examiner chosen shall be able to provide an independent clinical evaluation of the person and recommendations for his placement, care, and treatment. The examiner shall (a) not be related by blood or marriage to the person, (b) not be responsible for treating the person, (c) have no financial interest in the admission or treatment of the person, (d) have no investment interest in the facility detaining or admitting the person under this chapter, and (e) except for employees of state hospitals, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and community service boards, not be employed by the facility. For purposes of this section, the term “investment interest” shall be as defined in § 37.2-809.
B. The examination conducted pursuant to this section shall be a comprehensive evaluation of the person conducted in-person or, if that is not practicable, by two-way electronic video and audio communication system as authorized in § 37.2-804.1. Translation or interpreter services shall be provided during the evaluation where necessary. The examination shall consist of (i) a clinical assessment that includes a mental status examination; determination of current use of psychotropic and other medications; a medical and psychiatric history; a substance use, abuse, or dependency determination; and a determination of the likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, the person will, in the near future, suffer serious harm due to his lack of capacity to protect himself from harm or to provide for his basic human needs; (ii) a substance abuse screening, when indicated; (iii) a risk assessment that includes an evaluation of the likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, the person will, in the near future, cause serious physical harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening harm and other relevant information, if any; (iv) an assessment of the person’s capacity to consent to treatment, including his ability to maintain and communicate choice, understand relevant information, and comprehend the situation and its consequences; (v) a review of the temporary detention facility’s records for the person, including the treating physician’s evaluation, any collateral information, reports of any laboratory or toxicology tests conducted, and all admission forms and nurses’ notes; (vi) a discussion of treatment preferences expressed by the person or contained in a document provided by the person in support of recovery; (vii) an assessment of whether the person meets the criteria for an order authorizing discharge to mandatory outpatient treatment following a period of inpatient treatment pursuant to subsection C1 of § 37.2-817; (viii) an assessment of alternatives to involuntary inpatient treatment; and (ix) recommendations for the placement, care, and treatment of the person.
C. All such examinations shall be conducted in private. The judge or special justice shall summons the examiner who shall certify that he has personally examined the person and state whether he has probable cause to believe that the person (i) has a mental illness and there is a substantial likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, the person will, in the near future, (a) cause serious physical harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening harm and other relevant information, if any, or (b) suffer serious harm due to his lack of capacity to protect himself from harm or to provide for his basic human needs, and (ii) requires involuntary inpatient treatment. The judge or special justice shall not render any decision on the petition until the examiner has presented his report. The examiner may report orally at the hearing, but he shall provide a written report of his examination prior to the hearing. The examiner’s written certification may be accepted into evidence unless objected to by the person or his attorney, in which case the examiner shall attend in person or by electronic communication. When the examiner attends the hearing in person or by electronic communication, the examiner shall not be excluded from the hearing pursuant to an order of sequestration of witnesses.
1976, c. 671, § 37.1-67.3; 1979, c. 426; 1980, cc. 166, 582; 1982, c. 471; 1984, c. 277; 1985, c. 261; 1986, cc. 349, 609; 1988, c. 225; 1989, c. 716; 1990, cc. 59, 60, 728, 798; 1991, c. 636; 1992, c. 752; 1994, cc. 736, 907; 1995, cc. 489, 668, 844; 1996, cc. 343, 893; 1997, cc. 558, 921; 1998, c. 446; 2001, cc. 478, 479, 507, 658, 837; 2004, cc. 66, 1014; 2005, c. 716; 2007, c. 400; 2008, cc. 779, 850, 870; 2009, cc. 21, 132, 838; 2010, cc. 330, 461.