New Hampshire Circuit Court’s New Centralized Involuntary Emergency Admissions Process Produces Immediate Efficiencies
CONCORD, NH—The New Hampshire Circuit Court announces that its revised procedures for processing involuntary emergency admissions have dramatically reduced filing delays and provided individuals with expedited decisions. Under the revised procedures, all filings from around the state are now centrally processed. Centralization of this case type is a key step in the Court’s broad initiative to centralize all mental health-related cases in the system.
Governor Sununu, New Hampshire acute care hospitals, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and the lawyers who represent individuals in IEA cases, all participated in the development of the centralization process. The use of ARPA funds approved by the Governor and Executive Council and the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee allowed the Judicial Branch to convert two vacant marital master positions into two judicial positions and to provide support staff who are being hired and trained and will be devoted to IEA and similar mental health case types.
On June 9, Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court David D. King and court staff gave a one-hour presentation on the new hearing process to members of NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance on Mental Illness). In his presentation, Administrative Judge King noted that since March 21, the Circuit Court has scheduled 520 telephonic probable cause hearings involving 23 hospitals across the state.
“The changes to how we process emergency involuntary admissions petitions are driven by the Courts’ concerns about the individuals’ rights,” said Administrative Judge King, “in particular, the filing delays that were resulting in sometimes lengthy stays in hospital emergency departments before a patient was afforded a hearing. By working with state partners to change when petitions are filed, and by centralizing the filing of these cases, we are now able to schedule timely hearings in every case. Individuals are quickly discharged when no probable cause is found and ready for transfer as soon as a bed is available if a finding is made.”
“The efforts of the Circuit Court in the past few months in creating the [IEA] docket have been truly remarkable,” said Susan Stearns, Executive Director of NAMI New Hampshire.
“Our goal is to make New Hampshire ‘the gold standard’ for when people with mental health emergencies have to intersect with the court system,” said Judge King.
The NH Rapid Response Access Point is available 24/7 if you or someone you care about is having a mental health or substance use crisis. To connect, call/text 833-710-6477 or visit www.NH988.com