Following an evaluation, in order for involuntary outpatient treatment proceedings to begin, the community mental health center (or other receiving facility where outpatient treatment is available) must petition the Probate Court for an order requiring outpatient treatment. This petition must be supported by a certificate signed by the evaluating physician or psychologist. The petition must be filed by the treating facility within five days of receipt of the examination report and individualized service plan from the evaluating facility. The doctor's certificate must be done within four hours of the examination if done at a mental health center as opposed to a hospital, which serves as an emergency receiving facility.
A hearing on the petition will be held within 30 days of the filing of the petition. Notice is served at least 10 days prior to the hearing. Two patient representatives are designated (one by the patient and one or two by the facility, depending on whether or not the patient has designated one), the required notices are sent by the court, and an attorney is appointed to represent the patient if the patient does not have or retain one for the upcoming hearing.