Emergency Medicine Council – Toolkit

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The Emergency Medicine Council was launched in July 2016 to address challenges encountered in emergency departments for which there is no clear or definitive guidance provided by local and national patient safety organizations, or professional colleges and associations. The Council is comprised of experts in law, risk management and patient safety, claims management, medicine, nursing, and employee safety, with goals focused on the development of best practice guidelines to direct complex practice issues. Council members represent facilities of all sizes and demographics to ensure toolkits are applicable to any BETA member facility.

The Management of Mental Health Patients in the ED Toolkit is the result of a two-year journey by BETA Healthcare Group’s Emergency Medicine Council and provides guidance from a risk management and patient safety perspective. The evidence-based Toolkit is consistent with established standards of care, and we believe would be defensible should the patient experience an adverse outcome due to an inability to transfer the patient to a designated LPS facility within 72-hours.

Questions addressed in this Toolkit include:

    • It has been over 72-hours since law enforcement placed the patient on a 5150 and we have not been able to obtain an inpatient bed for the patient. Do we have to release the patient?
    • We finally found a facility to take the patient, but their representative said that if the 72-hours is up before the patient? physically arrives at their facility, they will not accept the patient. What should we do?
    • The patient is starting to get violent, but if we medicate the patient, the accepting facility will not accept him. What should we do?
    • Can we place the patient on a back-to-back 5150?
    • Our county requires that a county mental health worker come in to place the patient on a 5150 hold, but she says she is busy and cannot come for two days. The 1799.111 expires in 24-hours, so what should we do?
    • Does the 72-hour clock begin ticking when the individual writes the 5150-detainment order or when the patient is evaluated by a psychiatrist and begins receiving treatment?


Click here to access or download the Management of Mental Health Patients in the ED Toolkit.


For EMC Mental Health related inquiries, please contact: Risk Management,

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