The Forensic Psychiatry division of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Augusta University is newly founded to provide forensic analysis of criminal and civil cases that have psychiatric implications.

The forensic psychiatry division at Augusta University provides psychiatric evaluations in a wide variety of civil and criminal matters (employment related evaluations, personal injury, testamentary capacity, competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, post conviction relief, etc).

Evaluations - Types of evaluation that could be provided include:

Psychiatric civil evaluations such as:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Personal Injury
  • Psychiatric Disability and Independent Medical Examinations
  • Worker's Compensation and Fitness for Duty
  • Competency to proceed with Post Conviction Relief (PCR)
  • Evaluations under the Sexual Violent Predator Act
  • Testamentary Capacity
  • Global Competency (Guardianship)
  • Financial Competency (Conservatorship)
  • Psychiatric Malpractice
  • Psychiatric Autopsy

Psychiatric criminal evaluations such as:

  • Competency to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility
  • Mitigating Evidence for the sentencing phase in capital cases
  • Pre-sentencing psychiatric evaluations for United States District Court
  • Competency to be Executed

Support Staff

  • One administrative assistant: to assist with scheduling, confirmation letters and contracts, invoicing, and report typing
  • One social worker to assist with social history and contacting families

Background - 
Records - Records will be kept confidential 
Area - Georgia and South Carolina
Billing - Payment is required at the time the services are rendered. A retainer will be necessary for more complex evaluations, with the requirement that the account be paid in full before a report would be issued, or, if a report would not be necessary, but court appearance is needed, before the court appearance. All clients will be billed an hourly rate or a flat fee depending on the evaluation. This includes the interview with the client, record review, interview of other persons if necessary, report writing. All checks should be made payable to Physician Practice Group. There is no facility fee. 
Consultations - Consultations are available when necessary with:

  • The Radiology Department at the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University)
  • Neuro-psychologists from the Neurology Department at Augusta University
  • Other psychiatrists within the department with expertise in psychopharmacology, geriatric, or child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Psychologists within the department for psychological testing

Developmental context: environment and opportunities

For a variety of societal and clinical reasons, there is increasing growth in forensic services in many states. It is acknowledged that there is a great concern in the general population about today's violence. Statistics show that although the murder rate has been in a slight decline, the rate of violent crimes is increasing.

The Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior has multiple divisions: General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychology, as well as a strong Psychiatry Research component. The Forensic division is the newest addition to the department. The total number of regular faculty is 34 while there are 44 clinical faculty appointments. Additionally, among the 34 regular faculty members, the department currently employs two psychiatrists with forensic interests who are both Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The department offers training to 20 general psychiatry residents, 4 child and adolescent psychiatry residents, 7 psychology interns, one psychopharmacology fellow, and 3 postdoctoral psychology fellows. The goal of the department is to have an accredited forensic psychiatry fellowship.

The department already has many elements of a fledgling forensic program. In particular there has been extensive collaboration with the Augusta State Medical Prison. There are currently 4 psychiatrists (faculty members), one of them with forensic psychiatry training and residents who offer consultations and treatment at the Augusta State Medical Prison. The Department of Corrections has been very supportive of this relationship. Additionally, three of the department faculty members provide consultations at the Richmond County Detention Center. This is another important collaborative site. Moreover, in our child and adolescent division we have additional collaborations that are important in the development of a forensic program. Child and adolescent faculty and residents are involved in the treatment of juveniles at the Youth Detention Center/Department for Juvenile Justice.

Additionally, there is a new collaboration with the Georgia Department of Mental Health through Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia and East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. Medical students already rotate through these sites and they provided excellent feedback regarding the collaboration. We have a faculty member providing consultations on difficult to treat cases located at both CSH and ECRH. Collectively, the newly founded Forensic Division could participate in the pre-trial evaluations and other evaluations in all - several of these collaborating sites. The forensic program will also work diligently with attorneys and judges in our region. This will provide another important component.

The civil forensic psychiatry work has intensified through collaborations with the local and regional attorneys as well as with independent medical evaluation companies.