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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Emergency Physicians Should Determine the Need for Involuntary Hold Status

Emergency physicians have the responsibility for all emergency patients’ care and disposition — including which patients require involuntary holds. The regulations concerning psychiatric holds or detainments vary from state to state. Some states require that law enforcement places a patient in an involuntary hold status without physician input. EPs should have the responsibility for patient care and disposition, including who needs involuntary hold or detainment. If the emergency physician is not able to place a patient on an involuntary hold, then the emergency physician must not be held accountable for any adverse consequences that result from decisions made by other authorized entities.

Approved on 12/12/14