Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–562. Medical and psychiatric care and treatment; records.

A person detained as an emergency involuntary patient by or committed to the care of the Department, a provider, or a hospital for mental illness shall, during the detention or commitment, be entitled to medical and psychiatric care and treatment. The administrator or director of the Department, a provider, or a hospital shall keep records detailing all medical and psychiatric care and treatment received by a person admitted for treatment as a voluntary, non-protesting, emergency or committed patient under this chapter and the records shall be made available, consistent with the provisions of the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-136; D.C. Official Code § 7-1201.01 et seq.), to the person’s attorney, personal physician, or other treatment provider. The records shall be preserved by the administrator or director of the Department, hospital, facility, or mental health provider until the person has been released from treatment, or longer, as required by District of Columbia or federal laws and regulations.


(Sept. 14, 1965, 79 Stat. 758, Pub. L. 89-183, § 1; Feb. 24, 1984, D.C. Law 5-48, § 11(a)(16), 30 DCR 5778; Apr. 4, 2003, D.C. Law 14-283, § 2(bb), 50 DCR 917.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-562.

1973 Ed., § 21-562.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1202.06.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-283 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “§ 21-562. Medical and psychiatric care and treatment; records.” “A person hospitalized in a public hospital for a mental illness shall, during his hospitalization, be entitled to medical and psychiatric care and treatment. The administrator of each public hospital shall keep records detailing all medical and psychiatric care and treatment received by a person hospitalized for a mental illness and the records shall be made available, upon that person’s written authorization, to his attorney, personal physician, or personal qualified psychologist. The records shall be preserved by the administrator until the person has been discharged from the hospital.”

Cross References

Refusal or limitation on disclosure of mental health information, see § 7-1202.06.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(aa) of Mental Health Commitment Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-265, January 30, 2002, 49 DCR 1450).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(aa) of Mental Health Commitment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-350, April 24, 2002, 49 DCR 4417).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(bb) of Mental Health Civil Commitment Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-546, December 12, 2002, 50 DCR 199).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(bb) of Mental Health Civil Commitment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-41, March 24, 2003, 50 DCR 2784).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(aa) of D.C. Law 14-131 amended this section to read as follows: “A person detained as an emergency involuntary patient by or committed to the care of the Department, a provider, or a hospital for mental illness shall, during the detention or commitment, be entitled to medical and psychiatric care and treatment. The administrator or director of the Department, a provider, or a hospital shall keep records detailing all medical and psychiatric care and treatment received by a person admitted for treatment as a voluntary, non-protesting, emergency or committed patient under this chapter and the records shall be made available, consistent with the provisions of the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-136; D.C. Official Code § 7-1201.01 et seq.), to the person’s attorney, personal physician, or other treatment provider. The records shall be preserved by the administrator or director of the Department, hospital, facility, or mental health provider until the person has been released from treatment, or longer, as required by District of Columbia or federal laws and regulations.”

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 14-131 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.