The Baker Act is used to commit a patient involuntarily to a psychiatric care facility if mental illness is suspected; the patient refuses or denies needing help; or if current behavior is dangerous. A certificate for involuntary examination comes from law enforcement, the courts or a medical professional, according to Windmoor Healthcare.
Patients capable of determining the need for mental health evaluation and treatment can voluntarily enter a mental health treatment program, states Windmoor Healthcare. The Florida Mental Health Act, informally called the Baker Act, allows patients to receive treatment without consenting. The Baker Act specifies the type of acceptable treatment facilities, the differences in treatment with regard to age, specifications for handling patients, patient rights and transportation guidelines.
Call ahead to ensure treatment is available at the closest facility. The staff reviews patient information and checks for another facility equipped to provide treatment, if necessary. The original Baker Act forms must accompany the patient, but fax a copy for approval prior to calling law enforcement for transport, explains Windmoor Healthcare.
The role of the transporting officer is not to diagnose the patient's mental state. It is not necessary to witness behavior as long as credible eyewitnesses are present who can account for the mental state of the patient. To initiate the Baker Act, prepare the Transportation to Receiving Facility, Part I and the Report of Law Enforcement Officer Initiating Involuntary Examination forms to give to the facility upon arrival, notes Windmoor Healthcare.