Doctor finds loophole in mental health reporting system - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Doctor finds loophole in mental health reporting system

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By Stacy Jacobson

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Medical University of South Carolina psychiatrists have found a loophole in the mental health reporting system. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bill Mulbry said he and his peer researchers know how to report patients if they meet the criteria to be committed to a mental institution.

But, he said a loophole exists when a patient is seeing a doctor, but doesn't meet the criteria. He also can't directly refer a patient to local probate court, where the adjudication process occurs.

"We called around and said, 'Hi, if I have a patient that I am worried about being dangerous and getting a gun, who do I report that to?' It was hard to find out," he said.

He said the research group called several law enforcement agencies, including the State Law Enforcement Agency.

Mulbry said he thought some cases in which guns should be a concern get passed over.

"Let's imagine in more general terms, you are worried about weapons. To my knowledge, there is no separate mechanism for dealing with that," Mulbry said.

Mulbry also said he was disturbed that once he explained to the agencies what he needed to talk to them about, they didn't know with whom they should connect him.

It was unclear who handled mental health issues within the agency. 

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