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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 394
MENTAL HEALTH
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F.S. 394.462
394.462 Transportation.A transportation plan shall be developed and implemented by each county by July 1, 2017, in collaboration with the managing entity in accordance with this section. A county may enter into a memorandum of understanding with the governing boards of nearby counties to establish a shared transportation plan. When multiple counties enter into a memorandum of understanding for this purpose, the counties shall notify the managing entity and provide it with a copy of the agreement. The transportation plan shall describe methods of transport to a facility within the designated receiving system for individuals subject to involuntary examination under s. 394.463 or involuntary admission under s. 397.6772, s. 397.679, s. 397.6798, or s. 397.6811, and may identify responsibility for other transportation to a participating facility when necessary and agreed to by the facility. The plan may rely on emergency medical transport services or private transport companies, as appropriate. The plan shall comply with the transportation provisions of this section and ss. 397.6772, 397.6795, 397.6822, and 397.697.
(1) TRANSPORTATION TO A RECEIVING FACILITY.
(a) Each county shall designate a single law enforcement agency within the county, or portions thereof, to take a person into custody upon the entry of an ex parte order or the execution of a certificate for involuntary examination by an authorized professional and to transport that person to the appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or to the nearest receiving facility if neither apply.
(b)1. The designated law enforcement agency may decline to transport the person to a receiving facility only if:
a. The jurisdiction designated by the county has contracted on an annual basis with an emergency medical transport service or private transport company for transportation of persons to receiving facilities pursuant to this section at the sole cost of the county; and
b. The law enforcement agency and the emergency medical transport service or private transport company agree that the continued presence of law enforcement personnel is not necessary for the safety of the person or others.
2. The entity providing transportation may seek reimbursement for transportation expenses. The party responsible for payment for such transportation is the person receiving the transportation. The county shall seek reimbursement from the following sources in the following order:
a. From a private or public third-party payor, if the person receiving the transportation has applicable coverage.
b. From the person receiving the transportation.
c. From a financial settlement for medical care, treatment, hospitalization, or transportation payable or accruing to the injured party.
(c) A company that transports a patient pursuant to this subsection is considered an independent contractor and is solely liable for the safe and dignified transport of the patient. Such company must be insured and provide no less than $100,000 in liability insurance with respect to the transport of patients.
(d) Any company that contracts with a governing board of a county to transport patients shall comply with the applicable rules of the department to ensure the safety and dignity of patients.
(e) When a law enforcement officer takes custody of a person pursuant to this part, the officer may request assistance from emergency medical personnel if such assistance is needed for the safety of the officer or the person in custody.
(f) When a member of a mental health overlay program or a mobile crisis response service is a professional authorized to initiate an involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463 or s. 397.675 and that professional evaluates a person and determines that transportation to a receiving facility is needed, the service, at its discretion, may transport the person to the facility or may call on the law enforcement agency or other transportation arrangement best suited to the needs of the patient.
(g) When any law enforcement officer has custody of a person based on either noncriminal or minor criminal behavior that meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463, the law enforcement officer shall transport the person to the appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or to the nearest receiving facility if neither apply. Persons who meet the statutory guidelines for involuntary admission pursuant to s. 397.675 may also be transported by law enforcement officers to the extent resources are available and as otherwise provided by law. Such persons shall be transported to an appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or to the nearest facility if neither apply.
(h) When any law enforcement officer has arrested a person for a felony and it appears that the person meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination or placement under this part, such person must first be processed in the same manner as any other criminal suspect. The law enforcement agency shall thereafter immediately notify the appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or to the nearest receiving facility if neither apply. The receiving facility shall be responsible for promptly arranging for the examination and treatment of the person. A receiving facility is not required to admit a person charged with a crime for whom the facility determines and documents that it is unable to provide adequate security, but shall provide examination and treatment to the person where he or she is held.
(i) If the appropriate law enforcement officer believes that a person has an emergency medical condition as defined in s. 395.002, the person may be first transported to a hospital for emergency medical treatment, regardless of whether the hospital is a designated receiving facility.
(j) The costs of transportation, evaluation, hospitalization, and treatment incurred under this subsection by persons who have been arrested for violations of any state law or county or municipal ordinance may be recovered as provided in s. 901.35.
(k) The appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or the nearest receiving facility if neither apply, must accept persons brought by law enforcement officers, or an emergency medical transport service or a private transport company authorized by the county, for involuntary examination pursuant to s. 394.463.
(l) The appropriate facility within the designated receiving system pursuant to a transportation plan or an exception under subsection (4), or the nearest receiving facility if neither apply, must provide persons brought by law enforcement officers, or an emergency medical transport service or a private transport company authorized by the county, pursuant to s. 397.675, a basic screening or triage sufficient to refer the person to the appropriate services.
(m) Each law enforcement agency designated pursuant to paragraph (a) shall establish a policy that reflects a single set of protocols for the safe and secure transportation and transfer of custody of the person. Each law enforcement agency shall provide a copy of the protocols to the managing entity.
(n) When a jurisdiction has entered into a contract with an emergency medical transport service or a private transport company for transportation of persons to facilities within the designated receiving system, such service or company shall be given preference for transportation of persons from nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, or adult family-care homes, unless the behavior of the person being transported is such that transportation by a law enforcement officer is necessary.
(o) This section may not be construed to limit emergency examination and treatment of incapacitated persons provided in accordance with s. 401.445.
(2) TRANSPORTATION TO A TREATMENT FACILITY.
(a) If neither the patient nor any person legally obligated or responsible for the patient is able to pay for the expense of transporting a voluntary or involuntary patient to a treatment facility, the transportation plan established by the governing board of the county or counties must specify how the hospitalized patient will be transported to, from, and between facilities in a safe and dignified manner.
(b) A company that transports a patient pursuant to this subsection is considered an independent contractor and is solely liable for the safe and dignified transportation of the patient. Such company must be insured and provide no less than $100,000 in liability insurance with respect to the transport of patients.
(c) A company that contracts with one or more counties to transport patients in accordance with this section shall comply with the applicable rules of the department to ensure the safety and dignity of patients.
(d) County or municipal law enforcement and correctional personnel and equipment may not be used to transport patients adjudicated incapacitated or found by the court to meet the criteria for involuntary placement pursuant to s. 394.467, except in small rural counties where there are no cost-efficient alternatives.
(3) TRANSFER OF CUSTODY.Custody of a person who is transported pursuant to this part, along with related documentation, shall be relinquished to a responsible individual at the appropriate receiving or treatment facility.
(4) EXCEPTIONS.An exception to the requirements of this section may be granted by the secretary of the department for the purposes of improving service coordination or better meeting the special needs of individuals. A proposal for an exception must be submitted to the department after being approved by the governing boards of any affected counties.
(a) A proposal for an exception must identify the specific provision from which an exception is requested; describe how the proposal will be implemented by participating law enforcement agencies and transportation authorities; and provide a plan for the coordination of services.
(b) The exception may be granted only for:
1. An arrangement centralizing and improving the provision of services within a district, which may include an exception to the requirement for transportation to the nearest receiving facility;
2. An arrangement by which a facility may provide, in addition to required psychiatric or substance use disorder services, an environment and services which are uniquely tailored to the needs of an identified group of persons with special needs, such as persons with hearing impairments or visual impairments, or elderly persons with physical frailties; or
3. A specialized transportation system that provides an efficient and humane method of transporting patients to receiving facilities, among receiving facilities, and to treatment facilities.

The exceptions provided in this subsection shall expire on June 30, 2017, and no new exceptions shall be granted after that date. After June 30, 2017, the transport of a patient to a facility that is not the nearest facility must be made pursuant to a plan as provided in this section.

History.s. 15, ch. 96-169; s. 48, ch. 2000-139; s. 3, ch. 2009-38; s. 12, ch. 2016-241.