Admissions Process

Admitting a Patient Currently in Treatment with a Licensed Mental Health Clinician

A treating clinician may call Sheppard Pratt Health System Admissions directly at 410-938-3800 to arrange for a direct admission to the hospital, as long as the patient is medically stable and has been evaluated by the clinician within 24 hours of the proposed admission (this is typically an insurance requirement). The clinician will be asked to provide clinical information to the Admissions staff.

Admitting a Patient Not Currently Receiving Treatment

Patients can be directed to any local emergency room for psychiatric evaluation and medical clearance. If, upon assessment and medical clearance, the emergency room clinician determines that psychiatric hospitalization is necessary, he or she can contact Sheppard Pratt Health System Admissions directly to make the appropriate arrangements. Another alternative for patients not currently in treatment and in need of an evaluation is a scheduled Urgent Assessment appointment. The patient may call 410-938-HELP (4357) to schedule an appointment with a Sheppard Pratt Health System psychiatrist. If, after evaluation, the clinician feels the patient is in need of inpatient hospitalization, he or she will make those arrangements.

Admitting a Patient Involuntarily

To determine whether there is a need for admission to the hospital, involuntary evaluation, and commitment to treatment can be employed if certain criteria are met, including the presence of imminent danger to one's self or others.

There are two options:

  1. Call 911: If the situation requires immediate intervention, call 911. If you call 911, police officers or sheriffs will come and evaluate whether the person meets the emergency petition criteria. In making this determination, they will take into account all pertinent information including what you tell them about the person and what they observe directly. If they decide that an evaluation is needed, they will take the person to the nearest emergency room.
  2. File a petition for emergency evaluation: Any interested person (friend, relative, neighbor, or health professional) may file a petition for emergency evaluation review by a judge. When a petition for emergency evaluation is granted, the person to be evaluated is taken by a police officer or sheriff to an emergency room and is then evaluated for possible hospital admission. 

To file a petition for emergency evaluation, go to the nearest district court during court hours and ask for the petition for emergency evaluation form. The form is also available online at

For a complete description of the law governing involuntary commitment in Maryland, please see Maryland Statute.