Interfacility Transfer Policies – Lake County


The majority of individuals on a 5150 go to psychiatric facilities by ambulance.

On weekends and holidays, Lake County Behavioral Health does offer transportation using county caged cars with our drivers. If MINORS are to go by county car, parents are offered to ride with the minor.

The determination to use a county car instead of an ambulance is a joint decision made between the attending Emergency Room doctor and the crisis worker. Both have to sign off on the Lake County Checklist to determine appropriateness for transfer by county car.

Lake County Behavioral Health staff does not accompany individuals transferred by ambulance. Once the evaluation is completed and an individual is placed on a 5150 hold, the crisis worker leaves the hospital and goes to the clinic to work on placement, unless there are other individuals to be evaluated. Once placement is secured, the hospital where the individual is located is contacted, provided the placement information (facility, accepting doctor, etc.) and the transferring hospital arranges transportation to the accepting facility.

In the case that the individual is to be transported by county car, upon getting acceptance at a psychiatric facility, the crisis worker will then contact the on-call driver and arrange for them to go to the transferring hospital and transport to the accepting facility. The only Lake County Behavioral Health staff during this transfer is the driver.

Inter-facility transfers (IFTs) & AMBULANCE REIMBURSEMENT of mental health patients

  • When transferring to higher level of care the costs are reimbursable. When an individual is transferred to a psychiatric facility, it is a higher need of care, therefore reimbursable. The responsibility for transfer costs fall on the hospital or the ambulance company if individual does not or cannot pay.
  • Lake County Fire Department cannot bill for cage car services.
  • Ambulances are currently used for cage car transfers with individuals whom are medically cleared; because the individual is medically cleared the ambulance transportation for this type of service are not billable.