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Delaware Health Law Blog

Delaware General Assembly Considers Expanding Immunity Connected to Mental Health Assessments

Pending in the Delaware Senate is a bill already passed unanimously in Delaware’s House of Representatives clarifying the law on immunity with regard to the process to detain or not detain a person for an involuntary mental health evaluation. House Bill #9 provides that immunity to civil damages and criminal penalties extends to peace officers, medical doctors, credentialed mental health screeners, and the facility in which the medical doctor or credentialed mental health screener practices, only for harm resulting from the mental health assessment, resulting clinical decision, and involuntary hold necessary until the person is presented to a designated psychiatric treatment facility, as required by the statute, and only if the peace officer, medical doctor, etc., did not intentionally inflict harm or engage in willful or wanton misconduct in connection with those activities. Once an individual is detained in a psychiatric facility for purposes of the statutorily required examination by a psychiatrist, neither the examining psychiatrist nor facility is immune from ordinary negligence claims. The proposed legislation is based on the recommendations of the HJR 17 Study Group created to review Delaware’s civil mental health laws. The text of the bill is available at

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