UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Research | Law and Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


A recent survey of state statutes for outpatient commitment (Torrey and Kaplan, 1995) indicates that while thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting outpatient commitment, Massachusetts is not one of them. Rather, Massachusetts uses a competency-based, substituted-decision-making model for the involuntary administration of medication in the community. To appreciate the Massachusetts model, it is important to understand how this court-ordered involuntary outpatient treatment fits into the overall scheme of outpatient commitment and how it is structured.

A review of involuntary outpatient treatment (IOT) literature indicates that it is prudent to distinguish between outpatient commitment, conditional release, and conservatorship-guardianship (Torrey and Kaplan, 1995). Two states whose IOT is based on the guardianship process and is described in the literature are California and New Mexico. Lamb and Weinberger (1992, 1993) have discussed California’s use of guardians for the gravely disabled psychiatric outpatient, and Schneider-Braus (1986) has presented a single case report from New Mexico.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations


Presented at Psychiatry Research Day: Translational Resesarch in Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2007.



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