2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
May 18, 2021 - Offered by Senator Jacque.
SB239-SSA1,1,2 1An Act to amend 51.15 (2) (c) of the statutes; relating to: approval of emergency
2detention after evaluation of certain medical conditions.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill specifies that a county department's approval of an emergency
detention of an individual must occur after an individual who is in a hospital
emergency room is medically cleared for transport. Current law establishes a
procedure for emergency detention of an individual who is believed to be mentally
ill, drug dependent, or developmentally disabled and who demonstrates a
substantial probability of physical harm to himself or herself or others or impairment
or injury to himself or herself due to impaired judgment, or inability to satisfy certain
basic needs due to mental illness. The applicable county department must approve
the need for detention, which the county department may do only if a crisis
assessment has been performed by a mental health professional and the mental
health professional agrees with the need for the detention and if the county
department reasonably believes the individual will not voluntarily consent to
evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. Transportation of the individual to a facility
specified in current law for emergency detention occurs only after the county
department approves, however, transportation of an individual who is in a hospital's
emergency department may not occur until hospital staff who is treating the
individual determines that the transfer is medically appropriate and has
communicated that determination to the person transporting the individual.

Currently, in Milwaukee County, the treatment director of a facility has 24
hours from the time the individual is delivered to the facility to determine whether
or not the individual must be detained for purposes of emergency detention. Once
the treatment director makes a determination that an individual is being detained,
the individual may not be detained for longer than 72 hours without a court hearing.
The 24-hour period in which the treatment director must make the determination
may be extended by any period that the determination is delayed that is directly
attributable to evaluation or stabilizing treatment of nonpsychiatric medical
conditions. Currently, in counties other than Milwaukee County, there is no 24-hour
period for determination by a treatment director, and the 72-hour period during
which the individual may be held without a hearing begins when the individual is
taken into custody by law enforcement or another authorized person and continues
upon transfer of the individual to the treatment facility.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB239-SSA1,1 1Section 1. 51.15 (2) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB239-SSA1,2,132 51.15 (2) (c) The After any determination made under par. (b) that an
3individual who is in a hospital's emergency department is medically appropriate to
4transfer, the
county department may approve the detention only if a physician who
5has completed a residency in psychiatry, a psychologist licensed under ch. 455, or a
6mental health professional, as determined by the department, has performed a crisis
7assessment on the individual and agrees with the need for detention and the county
8department reasonably believes the individual will not voluntarily consent to
9evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment necessary to stabilize the individual and
10remove the substantial probability of physical harm, impairment, or injury to
11himself, herself, or others. For purposes of this paragraph, a crisis assessment may
12be conducted in person, by telephone, or by telemedicine or video conferencing