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Sec. 574.045: Transportation of Patient

(a) The court may authorize, in the following order of priority, the transportation of a committed patient or a patient detained under Section 573.022 or 574.023 to the designated mental health facility by:

(1) a special officer for mental health assignment certified under Section 1701.404, Occupations Code;

(2) the facility administrator of the designated mental health facility, unless the administrator notifies the court that facility personnel are not available to transport the patient;

(3) a representative of the local mental health authority, who shall be reimbursed by the county, unless the representative notifies the court that local mental health authority personnel are not qualified to ensure the safety of the patient during transport;

(4) a qualified transportation service provider selected from the list established and maintained as required by Section 574.0455 by the commissioners court of the county in which the court authorizing the transportation is located;

(5) the sheriff or constable; or

(6) a relative or other responsible person who has a proper interest in the patient's welfare and who receives no remuneration, except for actual and necessary expenses.

(a-1) A person who under Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (5) is authorized by the court to transport a person to a mental health facility may contract with a qualified transportation service provider that is included on the list established and maintained as required by Section 574.0455 by the commissioners court of the county in which the court is located to provide the transportation authorized by the court.

(b) The court shall require appropriate medical personnel to accompany the person transporting the patient if there is reasonable cause to believe that the patient will require medical assistance or the administration of medication during the transportation. The payment of an expense incurred under this subsection is governed by Section 571.018.

(c) The patient's friends and relatives may accompany the patient at their own expense.

(d) A female patient must be accompanied by a female attendant unless the patient is accompanied by her father, husband, or adult brother or son.

(e) The patient may not be transported in a marked police or sheriff's car or accompanied by a uniformed officer unless other means are not available.

(f) The patient may not be transported with a state prisoner.

(g) The patient may not be physically restrained unless necessary to protect the health and safety of the patient or of a person traveling with the patient. If the treating physician or the person transporting a patient determines that physical restraint of the patient is necessary, that person shall document the reasons for that determination and the duration for which the restraints are needed. The person transporting the patient shall deliver the document to the facility at the time the patient is delivered. The facility shall include the document in the patient's clinical record.

(h) The patient must be transported directly to the facility within a reasonable amount of time and without undue delay.

(i) All vehicles used to transport patients under this section must be adequately heated in cold weather and adequately ventilated in warm weather.

(j) Special diets or other medical precautions recommended by the patient's physician must be followed.

(k) The person transporting the patient shall give the patient reasonable opportunities to get food and water and to use a bathroom.

(l) A patient restrained under Subsection (g) may be restrained only during the apprehension, detention, or transportation of the patient. The method of restraint must permit the patient to sit in an upright position without undue difficulty unless the patient is being transported by ambulance.


Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 15, Sec. 5.20, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 60, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1512, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.804, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1122 (H.B. 167), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 889 (H.B. 978), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 674 (S.B. 1129), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2015.