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NASHVILLE — Nash County commissioners on Monday approved a transportation agreement for involuntary commitments to comply with new state laws effective Oct. 1.
Under the agreement between Nash County government, the sheriff’s office and Nash UNC Healthcare Company Police, deputies, other law enforcement agencies within Nash County or the hospital system police can take into custody and transport an individual with an active involuntary commitment process to the Nash UNC emergency department.
A person can be involuntarily committed in one of two ways: a successful petition to a magistrate or clerk of Superior Court by a “family member, friend, concerned citizen or law enforcement officer,” or through a clinical or emergency petition by any North Carolina-approved “physician, eligible psychologist or any health professional who is certified to perform the first examination for involuntary commitment.”
Individuals are to be transported within 24 hours of a custody order, according to the policy. The policy allows the hospital police to take into custody an individual with an IVC who is on Nash UNC Healthcare property, identified as Coastal Plain Hospital, Medical Bed Tower and the Women’s Center.
The policy also allows the same agencies to transport an individual under an IVC to a designated IVC facility where a second evaluation will be completed by a physician within 24 hours.
Under the policy, Nash County residents who are discharged or whose IVC is terminated can return home on their own at their own expense by a member of their family or a guardian or be taken home by Nash deputies or any other law enforcement agency within the county.
Agencies have long transported IVC patients to the hospital and commissioners expressed confusion at why a new policy was needed.
Allison Manning-Williams, director of psychiatric services at Nash UNC Healthcare, said the major difference was that the new policy allows the hospital system to assist law enforcement with patient transportation when needed.
With no other discussion, the board approved the new policy unanimously.
In other business, the county commissioners:
• Renewed franchise agreements with North State and Eastern Transport and approved new franchise for Metz Medical Transport ambulance services.
• Approved a tax-exempt loan of $141,540.89 to the Whitakers Volunteer Fire Department to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus and related equipment.
• Authorized the application for two $150,000 state grants for asset inventory and assessment on behalf of the county’s water and wastewater treatment systems.
• Awarded a retiring K-9, Bosh, to his handler, Deputy David Boykin. Bosh became a member of the sheriff’s office in 2015 and was effective in a variety of assignments until health issues forced his retirement.
• Recognized Nash County EMS for receiving the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus recognition, its highest award through the Mission: Lifeline EMS program. The designation was launched in 2014 to showcase emergency medical services organizations across the nation that are providing excellent heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke care. Emergency Services Director Brian Brantley said Nash County EMS was a pilot county for the original program in 2005 before it was adopted nationwide.