Assigned to HHS                                                                                                 AS PASSED BY COMMITTEE






Fifty-Sixth Legislature, Second Regular Session





involuntary treatment; guardians; agents; rights


Outlines rights of guardians and agents who have prescribed decision making authority for a patient in any proceeding involving court ordered treatment of the patient and allows a guardian to submit reports to the court regarding a patient's compliance with the original order for treatment. Prescribes procedures that a screening agency must follow when denying an application or declining to file a petition for court ordered evaluation.


If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a patient, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to self or others or has a persistent, acute or grave disability and is in need of treatment but is either unwilling or unable to accept voluntary treatment, the court must order the patient to undergo: 1) treatment in a program of outpatient treatment; 2) treatment in a program consisting of combined inpatient and outpatient treatment; or 3) inpatient treatment in a mental health treatment agency in a hospital as specified. If there is a court order for treatment and a guardianship with additional mental health authority existing at the same time, the treatment and placement decisions made by the treatment agency assigned by the court to supervise and administer the patient's treatment program pursuant to the court order for treatment are controlling unless the court orders otherwise (A.R.S. § 36-540).

Mental disorder is a substantial disorder of a person's emotional processes, thought, cognition or memory and is distinguished from: 1) conditions that are primarily those of drug abuse, alcoholism or intellectual disability, unless the person has a mental disorder; 2) the declining mental abilities that directly accompany impending death; and 3) character and personality disorders characterized by lifelong and deeply ingrained antisocial behavior patterns, including sexual behaviors that are abnormal and prohibited by statute unless the behavior results from a mental disorder (A.R.S. § 36-501).

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.


1.   Grants guardians and agents who have prescribed decision making authority for a patient, in any proceedings involving involuntary treatment of the patient, the right to:

a)   be notified of any petition for treatment, motion for amended court order, application for continued court-ordered treatment and request for judicial review;

b)   provide a court with the guardian's or agent's position regarding sought relief in any of the proceedings as well as relevant information to help the court make a determination, if allowed by the court;

c)   provide relevant information to any agency providing inpatient or outpatient screening, evaluation or treatment to the patient; and

d)   participate, as appropriate, in treatment and discharge planning with the inpatient or outpatient treatment providers.

2.   Requires the medical director of a screening agency or the director's designee to:

a)   review the prepetition screening report if the screening agency determines that an application for court ordered evaluation should be denied, or if the screening agency accepts the application but declines to file the petition for court ordered evaluation; and

b)   provide the reason for the denial or the decision not to file the petition, if requested by the applicant and:

i.   the disclosure is not opposed by the person who was screened; or

ii.   the person who was screened lacks capacity to make the decision to allow disclosure and the disclosure is in that person's best interest.

3.   Stipulates that if the screening took place in a facility operated by the screening agency, then the screening agency must attempt to notify the applicant that the screening agency intends to release the proposed patient and document the notification attempt as prescribed.

4.   Requires a petitioner to serve a copy of the petition for court ordered treatment, affidavits in support of the petition and the notice of hearing on any guardian identified in the petition at least two calendar days before the hearing.

5.   Allows a guardian, in lieu of personal service, to provide a written acknowledgement that the guardian has received the documents.

6.   Specifies that a petitioner's failure to serve a guardian is not grounds for petition dismissal.

7.   Allows a patient's guardian, during any period of the patient's outpatient treatment, to file a report with the court that addresses whether:

a)   the patient is complying with the terms of the order;

b)   the outpatient treatment plan is still appropriate; and

c)   the patient needs inpatient treatment.

8.   Requires the court to set a conference or hearing if, after reviewing the report, it determines the patient is not complying with the original order for treatment or that the outpatient treatment plan is no longer appropriate.

9.   Makes technical and conforming changes.

10.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Amendments Adopted by Committee

1.   Removes the ability of a parent, spouse or guardian to directly petition the court for court ordered evaluation of a proposed patient.

2.   Outlines requirements that a screening agency must adhere to when denying an application or declining to file a petition for court ordered evaluation of a proposed patient.

3.   Makes technical and conforming changes.

House Action                                                              Senate Action

HHS                2/15/24      DP          9-1-0-0               HHS             3/19/24      DPA       6-0-1

3rd Read          2/26/24                     45-11-3-0-1

Prepared by Senate Research

March 20, 2024