Title 37, Chapter 3, Section 1
As used in this chapter, the term:
(.1) "Available outpatient treatment" means outpatient treatment,
either public or private, available in the patient's community,
including but not limited to supervision and support of the
patient by family, friends, or other responsible persons in that
community. Outpatient treatment at state expense shall be
available only within the limits of state funds specifically
(1) "Chief medical officer" means the physician with overall
responsibility for patient treatment at any facility receiving
patients under this chapter or a physician appointed in writing as
the designee of such chief medical officer.
(2) "Clinical record" means a written record pertaining to an
individual patient and shall include all medical records, progress
notes, charts, admission and discharge data, and all other
information which is recorded by a facility or other entities
responsible for a patient's care and treatment under this chapter
and which pertains to the patient's hospitalization and treatment.
Such other information as may be required by rules and regulations
of the board shall also be included.
(3) "Community mental health center" means an organized program
for the care and treatment of the mentally ill operated by a
community service board or other appropriate public provider.
(4) "Court" means:
(A) In the case of an individual who is 17 years of age or older, the probate court of the county of residence of the patient or the county in which such patient is found. Notwithstanding Code Section 15-9-13, in any case in which the judge of such court is unable to hear a case brought under this chapter within the time required for such hearing or is unavailable to issue the order specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 37-3-41, such judge shall appoint a person to serve and exercise all the jurisdiction of the probate court in such case. Any person so appointed shall be a member of the State Bar of Georgia and shall be otherwise qualified for his duties by training and experience. Such appointment may be made on a case-by-case basis or by making a standing appointment of one or more persons. Any person receiving such standing appointment shall serve at the pleasure of the judge making the appointment or his successor in office to hear such cases if and when necessary. The compensation of a person so appointed shall be as agreed upon by the judge who makes the appointment and the person appointed with the approval of the governing authority of the county for which such person is appointed and shall be paid from the county funds of said county. All fees collected for the services of such appointed person shall be paid into the general funds of the county served; or
(B) In the case of an individual who is under the age of 17
years, the juvenile court of the county of residence of the
patient or the county in which such patient is found.
(5) "Emergency receiving facility" means a facility designated by
the department to receive patients under emergency conditions as
provided in Part 1 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(6) "Evaluating facility" means a facility designated by the
department to receive patients for psychiatric evaluation as
provided in Part 2 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(7) "Facility" means any state owned or state operated hospital,
community mental health center, or other facility utilized for the
diagnosis, care, treatment, or hospitalization of persons who are
mentally ill; any facility operated or utilized for such purpose
by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or other
federal agency; and any other hospital or facility within the
State of Georgia approved for such purpose by the department.
(8) "Full and fair hearing" or "hearing" means a proceeding before a hearing examiner under Code Section 37-3-83 or Code Section 37-3-93 or before a court as defined in paragraph (4) of this Code section. The hearing may be held in a regular courtroom or in an informal setting, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court, but the hearing shall be recorded electronically or by a qualified court reporter. The patient shall be provided with effective assistance of counsel. If the patient cannot afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for him or the hearing examiner shall have the court appoint such counsel; provided, however, that the patient shall have the right to refuse in writing the appointment of counsel, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The patient shall have the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and to offer evidence. The patient shall have the right to subpoena witnesses and to require testimony before the hearing examiner or in court in person or by deposition from any physician upon whose evaluation the decision of the hearing examiner or the court may rest. The patient shall have the right to obtain a continuance for any reasonable time for good cause shown. The hearing examiner and the court shall apply the rules of evidence applicable in civil cases. The burden of proof shall be upon the party seeking treatment of the patient. The standard of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence. At the request of the patient, the public may be excluded from the hearing. The patient may waive his right to be present at the hearing, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The reason for the action of the court or hearing examiner in excluding the public or permitting the hearing to proceed in the patient's absence shall be reflected in the record.
(9) "Individualized service plan" means a proposal developed
during a patient's stay in a facility and which is specifically
tailored to the individual patient's treatment needs. Each plan
shall clearly include the following:
(A) A statement of treatment goals or objectives, based upon and
related to a proper evaluation, which can be reasonably achieved
within a designated time interval;
(B) Treatment methods and procedures to be used to obtain these
goals, which methods and procedures are related to these goals
and which include a specific prognosis for achieving these
(C) Identification of the types of professional personnel who
will carry out the treatment and procedures, including
appropriate medical or other professional involvement by a
physician or other health professional properly qualified to
fulfill legal requirements mandated under state and federal law;
(D) Documentation of patient involvement and, if applicable, the
patient's accordance with the service plan; and
(E) A statement attesting that the chief medical officer has
made a reasonable effort to meet the plan's individualized
treatment goals in the least restrictive environment possible
closest to the patient's home community.
(9.1) "Inpatient" means a person who is mentally ill and:
(A)(i) Who presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to
that person or others, as manifested by either recent overt
acts or recent expressed threats of violence which present a
probability of physical injury to that person or other
(ii) Who is so unable to care for that person's own physical
health and safety as to create an imminently life-endangering
(B) Who is in need of involuntary inpatient treatment.
(9.2) "Inpatient treatment" or "hospitalization" means a program
of treatment for mental illness within a hospital facility
(9.3) "Involuntary treatment" means inpatient or outpatient
treatment which a patient is required to obtain pursuant to this
(10) "Least restrictive alternative," "least restrictive
environment," or "least restrictive appropriate care and
treatment" means that which is the least restrictive available
alternative, environment, or care and treatment, respectively,
within the limits of state funds specifically appropriated
(11) "Mentally ill" means having a disorder of thought or mood
which significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to
recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of
(12) "Mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment" means a
person who is an inpatient or an outpatient.
(12.1) "Outpatient" means a person who is mentally ill and:
(A) Who is not an inpatient but who, based on the person's
treatment history or current mental status, will require
outpatient treatment in order to avoid predictably and
imminently becoming an inpatient;
(B) Who because of the person's current mental status, mental
history, or nature of the person's mental illness is unable
voluntarily to seek or comply with outpatient treatment; and
(C) Who is in need of involuntary treatment.
(12.2) "Outpatient treatment" means a program of treatment for
mental illness outside a hospital facility setting which includes,
without being limited to, medication and prescription monitoring,
individual or group therapy, day or partial programming
activities, case management services, and other services to
alleviate or treat the patient's mental illness so as to maintain
the patient's semi-independent functioning and to prevent the
patient's becoming an inpatient.
(13) "Patient" means any mentally ill person who seeks treatment
under this chapter or any person for whom such treatment is
(14) "Private facility" means any hospital facility that is a
proprietary hospital or a hospital operated by a nonprofit
corporation or association approved for the purposes of this
chapter, as provided herein, or any hospital facility operated by
a hospital authority created pursuant to the "Hospital Authorities
Law," Article 4 of Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(14.1) "Psychologist" means a licensed psychologist who meets the criteria of training and experience as a health service provider psychologist as provided in Code Section 31-7-162.
(15) "Representatives" means the persons appointed as provided in Code Section 37-3-147 to receive notice of the proceedings for voluntary or involuntary treatment.
(16) "Superintendent" means the chief administrative officer who
has overall management responsibility at any facility receiving
patients under this chapter or an individual appointed as the
designee of such superintendent.
(16.1) "Traumatic brain injury" means a traumatic insult to the
brain and its related parts resulting in organic damage thereto
which may cause physical, intellectual, emotional, social, or
vocational changes in a person. It shall also be recognized that a
person having a traumatic brain injury may have organic damage or
physical or social disorders, but for the purposes of this
chapter, traumatic brain injury shall not be considered mental
illness as defined in paragraph (11) of this Code section.
(17) "Treatment" means care, diagnostic and therapeutic services,
including the administration of drugs, and any other service for
the treatment of an individual.
(18) "Treatment facility" means a facility designated by the department to receive patients for psychiatric treatment as provided in Code Sections 37-3-80 through 37-3-84.