2005 Montana Code Annotated - 53-21-104 — Powers and duties of mental disabilities board of visitors.


     53-21-104. Powers and duties of mental disabilities board of visitors. (1) The board is an independent board of inquiry and review that is responsible to ensure that the treatment of all persons either voluntarily or involuntarily admitted to a mental facility in Montana is humane, is consistent with established clinical and other professional standards, and meets the requirements set forth in this part.
     (2) The board shall review all plans for experimental research involving persons admitted to a mental health facility to ensure that each research project is humane and not unduly hazardous and that it complies with the principles of the statement on the use of human subjects for research of the American association on mental deficiency and with the principles for research involving human subjects required by the United States department of health and human services. An activity considered to be an experimental research project and that involves a person or persons admitted to a mental health facility affected by this part may not be commenced unless it is approved by the mental disabilities board of visitors.
     (3) (a) The board shall inspect every mental health facility that provides treatment or evaluation to any person pursuant to this part.
     (b) The board shall annually establish a schedule for the inspection of mental health facilities that enables the board to meet its obligation under subsection (1).
     (c) The board's authority to inspect mental health facilities may not be waived or precluded by other treatment review, licensing, or accreditation requirements or protocols. The board may exercise the prerogative to inspect any mental health facility at any time independent of its facility inspection schedule.
     (d) The board shall produce a written report of each inspection of a mental health facility that must include specific recommendations for improvements that the board concludes are necessary in order for the inspected facility to meet the requirements in this part.
     (e) The board shall provide a draft of each written report within 30 calendar days of the completion of each mental health facility inspection to the professional person in charge of the inspected facility for review prior to publication.
     (f) The professional person in charge of the inspected facility shall provide a written response to the board's written report within 30 calendar days of receipt of the report. The response must include one of the following for each recommendation:
     (i) a specific plan for implementation of the recommended action; or
     (ii) a specific rationale that explains why the recommendation cannot be implemented.
     (g) The board shall include the inspected facility's written response in the board's final published written report.
     (h) The board shall include in subsequent inspections an assessment of each facility's implementation of the recommendations.
     (i) The board shall report in writing to the director of the department and the governor when it determines that a mental health facility has not either implemented written recommendations or provided a specific rationale that explains why any recommendations cannot be implemented.
     (4) (a) The board, by applying a sampling process during a scheduled inspection of a mental health facility, shall ensure that a treatment plan and a discharge plan exists and is being implemented for each patient admitted or committed to the mental health facility being inspected under this part.
     (b) The board, during a scheduled inspection of a mental health facility, shall review all aspects of the treatment of persons admitted to mental health facilities and review the use of treatment procedures that involve behavior control, including but not limited to the use of any type of mechanical restraints, locked and unlocked seclusion or isolation, time out, or any other procedure involving physical control.
     (c) The board shall ensure that the use of treatment procedures described in subsection (4)(b) at inspected mental health facilities is clinically justified, is monitored closely by a medical doctor and other mental health professionals, is implemented only when other less restrictive measures have failed, and is implemented to the least extent necessary to protect the safety and health of the affected individual or others in the immediate environment.
     (d) The board may exercise the prerogative to inquire about and ensure the existence and implementation of treatment plans and discharge plans for any person admitted to a mental health facility and to inquire about and ensure the appropriate use of treatment procedures described in subsection (4)(b) with any person admitted to a mental health facility independent of its facility inspection schedule.
     (5) The board may assist any person who is receiving or who has received treatment at a mental health facility in resolving any grievance the person may have concerning the person's admission or course of treatment in the facility.
     (6) The board shall employ and is responsible for full-time legal counsel at the state hospital, whose responsibility is to act on behalf of all patients at the state hospital. The board shall ensure that there are sufficient legal staff and facilities to ensure availability to all patients and shall require that the appointed counsel periodically interview every patient and examine the patient's files and records. The board may employ additional legal counsel for representation of patients in a similar manner at any other mental health facility having inpatient capability.
     (7) (a) If the board believes that any facility is failing to comply with the provisions of this part in regard to its physical facilities or its treatment of any person, it shall report its findings in writing to the professional person in charge of the facility and the director of the department.
     (b) The professional person in charge of the facility shall submit a written response to the board within 10 working days of the receipt of the board's written findings provided for in subsection (7)(a) that includes an explanation of the facility's point of view regarding the board's concerns, including areas of disagreement and agreement. If the facility is in full or partial agreement with the board's concerns, its written response must include actions that it has taken or that it plans to take to address the concerns.
     (c) If the facility's written response does not resolve the concerns to the board's satisfaction, the board and the professional person in charge of the facility shall meet in person within 15 working days of the board's receipt of the facility's response to seek a mutually agreed upon resolution.
     (8) The board shall publish standards for its inspections of mental health facilities.
     (9) The board shall report annually to the governor concerning:
     (a) the status of the mental health facilities and treatment programs that it has inspected since the last annual report; and
     (b) occurrences of the administration of medications against the wishes of persons receiving treatment in mental health facilities and the effectiveness of the review procedure required by 53-21-127(6) in protecting persons from unnecessary or excessive medication.

     History: En. 38-1330 by Sec. 30, Ch. 466, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 546, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 38-1330(2) thru (9); amd. Sec. 14, Ch. 547, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 41, Ch. 112, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 37, Ch. 349, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 434, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 342, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 344, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 602, L. 2003.

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