Who can initiate the Baker Act in Florida?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 19, 2016
Chavah18 asked...

Who can initiate the Baker Act in Florida?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

As you seem to know, but other readers may not, the Baker Act is a Florida law that controls mental health services -- including voluntary admissions, involuntary examination, and involuntary placement.

The requirements for initiating the act are a little different, depending on the process being called into effect, but it appears you are inquiring about involuntary examination, which is the initial step for most, and the step most often questioned.

Involuntary examination may begin when:

  • a person signing an affidavit outlines why another person qualifies for such an examination; a judge then determines whether and when such an examination should begin
  • a law enforcement officer sees a person he or she believes should be examined and takes that person to a facility, or
  • a doctor or other health care provider determines a person should be examined, and a law enforcement officer then takes him or her to a facility for examination.

For an explanation of the complete letter of the law, see the information offered by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Community Answers

Concerned parents answered...

Our daughter was Baker Acted after a police officer found her crying and wondering around the streets near home all by herself late one night. The police officer took her to the hospital where she was Baker Acted. She was later transferred to a facility for further evaluation and was found to be experiencing a panic attack. She has no job, no money and is unable to pay the expenses. Most of the bills have been zeroed out when we contacted the hospital. However, there is a bill of $1300 from a doctor that refuses to zero out the bill. He saw her at the hospital after the police brought her in. The Hospital bill was zeroed out after she contacted them and explained her financial situation. However, others have refused to understand her situation and have referred the unpaid bills to collection agencies. What is her obligation on the bills that have been referred to the collection agency. She is 25 years old, recently graduated from the university and has been unable to work due to this experience.