Did you know that Texas Silver Alert legislation requires documentation of the missing person’s mental condition, prior to issuing an alert? If the family/legal guardian of the missing person is unable to provide documentation to law enforcement during a wandering incident, the physician could receive an emergency phone call.
As a physician, it is important to be aware of the below two (2) Silver Alert requirements:
- Is the missing person 65 years of age or older?
- Does the senior citizen have a diagnosed impaired mental condition, and does the senior citizen’s disappearance pose a credible threat to the senior citizen’s health and safety. (Law enforcement shall require the family or legal guardian of the missing senior citizen to provide documentation from a medical or mental health professional of the senior citizen’s condition)?
All five (5) Silver Alert criteria can be viewed on the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) website at http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/Operations/Alerts/SilverAlertOverview.htm.
Prior to activating the state’s Silver Alert network, DPS will review all forms of available documentation on a case-by-case basis. Preferred documentation is a physician’s letterhead containing the following information:
- Date of Diagnosis;
- Patient’s Name;
- Diagnosis of an Impaired Mental Condition; and
- Physician’s Signature.
Prior to a wandering incident, we encourage physicians to discuss obtaining documentation with families and legal guardians. There is no renewal period for existing documentation.
For further information, please contact the State Operations Center, Texas Department of Public Safety at (512) 424-2208 or [email protected].