Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1231.08. Administration of medication.

(a) Except as provided in this section, no consumer shall be administered medication for the purpose of mental health treatment without his or her informed consent. In seeking a consumer’s informed consent, the Department or other provider shall present the consumer with information about the proposed medication, including the purpose for its administration, possible side effects, and its potential risks and benefits, as well as information about feasible alternative treatments.

(b) If a consumer has been certified as incapacitated for purposes of making a health care decision in accordance with § 21-2204, his or her attorney-in-fact or substitute health care decision-maker may consent to the administration of medication only in accordance with the consumer’s treatment preferences as expressed in his or her durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment. This preference may be overridden only after the procedures set forth in subsection (c) of this section are followed.

(c) Except in an emergency or in the absence of an attorney-in-fact or substitute health care decision-maker who is available and willing to make a decision about the administration of medication for the purpose of mental health treatment, a provider may administer medication to the incapacitated consumer only after receiving approval for such action through an administrative procedure established by the Department in accordance with Chapter 5 of Title 2. The administrative procedure established by the Department shall include, at a minimum:

(1) Written and oral notice to the consumer of available advocacy services;

(2) The right to a meeting convened by a neutral party within the Department for the purpose of reviewing the necessity for involuntary administration of medication;

(3) The right of the consumer to not less than 48 hours prior notice of any such meeting;

(4) The right of the consumer to be present and have representation during any such meeting;

(5) The opportunity, at the meeting, for the consumer and his or her representative to present information and to discuss the necessity of medication with the physician seeking to administer it;

(6) A written decision by the neutral party, within a period of time established by the Department, regarding whether the medication may be administered over the objection of the consumer. This decision shall be valid for no more than 30 days if it authorizes the involuntary administration of medication;

(7) The right to appeal the decision of the neutral party to an independent panel consisting of 3 persons appointed by the Director and convened within 72 hours. The members of the panel shall not be affiliated with the individual consumer, the provider, or the physician seeking to administer the medication, but shall include:

(A) A board-certified psychiatrist;

(B) A licensed practitioner; and

(C) A consumer, or if unavailable, a consumer advocate; and

(8) The right to have any decision of a neutral party that is appealed to the panel stayed pending a determination by the panel regarding whether the decision should stand or be overturned.

(d) A consumer’s refusal to consent to medication on the basis of a valid religious objection shall not be overridden absent a specific court order requiring the provider to administer the medication.

(e) Family members and personal representatives to whom the consumer has authorized release of information in accordance with Chapter 12 of this title, shall be notified whenever a provider involuntarily administers medication pursuant to subsections (c) or (d) of this section.

(f) The neutral party, and members of the panel and their employers, shall be immune from suit for any claim arising from any good faith act or omission under this section.


(Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 208, 48 DCR 7674.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1231.07, § 7-1231.14, and § 24-531.09.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 208 of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).