A court, a law enforcement officer, or a physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker.
Where will I go if I'm Baker Acted?
You might get Baker Acted in any emergency room. Then you will go to the nearest "receiving" facility. Usually that is a free standing psychiatric hospital, but it could be a unit within a larger medical hospital. The important thing to remember is that the law mandates that you be taken to the nearest facility that is licensed for that purpose by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
How long can I be kept against my will?
A receiving hospital can involuntarily keep a person under the Baker Act for examination for up to 72 hours (longer if a weekend or holiday is involved.) At the end of that time period, the receiving hospital has to either let you go or submit a petition to the court that requests permission to keep you.
The court can grant the hospital's petition, in which case you will be kept involuntarily for longer than 72 hours.
Do I have to pay the hospital if I was taken there involuntarily?
Do I have access to my records?
Yes, but mental health records are very private and getting access is not always easy.
Do I have any rights while in a mental health facility?
You have rights that are guaranteed under Florida law.
Am I entitled to a legal hearing at any point?
You are entitled to a legal hearing within 5 days if the receiving facility (hospital) submits a petition to the court asking to retain you for longer than 72 hours.
If I have a hearing, will I have a lawyer?
You are entitled to an attorney. By law, the Public Defender is appointed to represent you at your hearing. The Public Defender will represent you regarding the hospital's petition to keep you longer than 72 hours. The Public Defender will NOT represent you regarding any complaints that you have against the hospital or your psychiatrist.
Additional resources provided by the author
Florida Statute Mental Health Act Part I
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA; P.L.104-191)
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