HB 164: "An Act relating to the protection of vulnerable adults and residents of long term care facilities."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 164 01 "An Act relating to the protection of vulnerable adults and residents of long term care 02 facilities." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 47.24.010(a) is amended to read: 05 (a) Except as provided in (e) [AND (f)] of this section, the following persons 06 who, in the performance of their professional duties, have reasonable cause to believe 07 that a vulnerable adult suffers from undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, 08 abuse, neglect, or self-neglect shall, not later than 24 hours after first having cause for 09 the belief, report the belief to the department's vulnerable adult centralized intake 10 office [CENTRAL INFORMATION AND REFERRAL SERVICE FOR 11 VULNERABLE ADULTS IN THE OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT 12 HANDLES ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES]: 13 (1) a physician or other licensed health care provider; 14 (2) a mental health professional as defined in AS 47.30.915
01 [AS 47.30.915(11)] and including a marital and family therapist licensed under 02 AS 08.63; 03 (3) a pharmacist; 04 (4) an administrator or employee of a nursing home, residential care, 05 or health care facility; 06 (5) a guardian or conservator; 07 (6) a police officer; 08 (7) a village public safety officer; 09 (8) a village health aide; 10 (9) a social worker; 11 (10) a member of the clergy; 12 (11) a staff employee of a project funded by the Department of 13 Administration for the provision of services to older Alaskans, the Department of 14 Health and Social Services, or the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; 15 (12) an employee of a personal care or home health aide program; 16 (13) an emergency medical technician or a mobile intensive care 17 paramedic; 18 (14) a caregiver of the vulnerable adult; 19 (15) a certified nurse aide; 20 (16) an educator or administrative staff member of a public or private 21 educational institution. 22 * Sec. 2. AS 47.24.010(e) is amended to read: 23 (e) If a person making a report under this section believes that immediate 24 action is necessary to protect the vulnerable adult from imminent risk of serious 25 physical harm due to undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or 26 self-neglect and the reporting person cannot immediately contact the department's 27 vulnerable adult centralized intake office [CENTRAL INFORMATION AND 28 REFERRAL SERVICE FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS], the reporting person shall 29 make the report to a police officer or a village public safety officer. The police officer 30 or village public safety officer shall take immediate action to protect the vulnerable 31 adult and shall, within 24 hours after receiving the report of harm, notify the
01 department. A person may not bring an action for damages against a police officer, a 02 village public safety officer, the state, or a political subdivision of the state based on a 03 decision under this subsection to take or not to take immediate action to protect a 04 vulnerable adult. If a decision is made under this subsection to take immediate action 05 to protect a vulnerable adult, a person may not bring an action for damages based on 06 the protective actions taken unless the protective actions were performed with gross 07 negligence or intentional misconduct; damages awarded in the action may include 08 only direct economic compensatory damages for personal injury. 09 * Sec. 3. AS 47.24.013(a) is amended to read: 10 (a) If a report received under AS 47.24.010 pertains to the undue influence, 11 abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect of a vulnerable adult who 12 [IS 60 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER THAT] is alleged to have been committed by or 13 to have resulted from the negligence of the staff or a volunteer of an out-of-home care 14 facility, including a facility licensed under AS 47.32, in which the vulnerable adult 15 resides, the department may forward [SHALL TRANSFER] the report [FOR 16 INVESTIGATION] to the long term care ombudsman for investigation under 17 AS 47.62.015. 18 * Sec. 4. AS 47.24.013(b) is amended to read: 19 (b) The department shall investigate a report received under AS 47.24.010 20 regarding the undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self- 21 neglect of a vulnerable adult who [IS LESS THAN 60 YEARS OF AGE THAT] is 22 alleged to have been committed by or to have resulted from the negligence of the staff 23 or a volunteer of an out-of-home care facility in which the vulnerable adult resides. 24 * Sec. 5. AS 47.24.013(d) is amended to read: 25 (d) If the long term care ombudsman receives directly a report regarding the 26 undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect of a 27 vulnerable adult in an out-of-home care facility, the ombudsman may [SHALL] 28 provide the report, and the results of the ombudsman's actions or investigations 29 regarding the report, to the department's vulnerable adult centralized intake office. 30 The ombudsman shall obtain the informed consent of the vulnerable adult or the 31 vulnerable adult's resident representative before providing the report to the
01 department [CENTRAL INFORMATION AND REFERRAL SERVICE OF THE 02 OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT HANDLES ADULT PROTECTIVE 03 SERVICES]. The department may investigate the report as described in AS 47.24.015 04 if the department determines that action is appropriate. In this subsection, "resident 05 representative" has the meaning given in AS 42.62.090. 06 * Sec. 6. AS 47.24.015(a) is amended to read: 07 (a) Upon the department's receipt of a report under AS 47.24.010 [THAT IS 08 NOT TRANSFERRED UNDER AS 47.24.013], the department, or its designee, shall 09 promptly initiate an investigation to determine whether the vulnerable adult who is the 10 subject of the report suffers from undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, 11 neglect, or self-neglect. The department, or its designee, shall conduct an [A FACE- 12 TO-FACE] interview with the vulnerable adult [SUBJECT OF THE REPORT] 13 unless that person is unconscious or the department, or its designee, has determined 14 that an [A FACE-TO-FACE] interview could further endanger the vulnerable adult. 15 * Sec. 7. AS 47.62.015(a) is amended to read: 16 (a) The ombudsman shall investigate and resolve a complaint made by or on 17 behalf of an older Alaskan who resides in a long term care facility in the state if the 18 complaint relates to a decision, action, or failure to act by a provider or a 19 representative of a provider of long term care services, or by a public agency or social 20 services agency, that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or rights of the 21 older Alaskan. At the discretion of the ombudsman, the ombudsman may 22 investigate and resolve a complaint made by or on behalf of a resident who is not 23 an older Alaskan if the complaint relates to a decision, action, or failure to act by 24 a provider or a representative of a provider of long term care services, or by a 25 public agency or social services agency, that may adversely affect the health, 26 safety, welfare, or rights of the resident. 27 * Sec. 8. AS 47.62.015(c) is amended to read: 28 (c) The ombudsman may 29 (1) subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, require the 30 production of evidence, administer oaths, and examine any person under oath in 31 connection with a complaint described under (a) of this section; the powers described
01 in this paragraph shall be enforced by the superior court; 02 (2) pursue administrative, legal, or other appropriate remedies on 03 behalf of a resident of [AN OLDER ALASKAN WHO RESIDES IN] a long term 04 care facility in the state. 05 * Sec. 9. AS 47.62.025 is repealed and reenacted to read: 06 Sec. 47.62.025. Access to long term care facilities, residents, and records. 07 (a) A person may not deny access to a long term care facility or to a resident by the 08 ombudsman or an employee, volunteer, or other representative of the office. 09 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of AS 47.62.015(c)(1), the ombudsman 10 may obtain medical or other records of a resident of a long term care facility in the 11 state only with the consent of the resident or the person's resident representative or 12 legal guardian; if the resident is unable or incompetent to consent and does not have a 13 resident representative, only with a subpoena or court order. 14 * Sec. 10. AS 47.62.030(b) is repealed and reenacted to read: 15 (b) The identity of a complainant or an older Alaskan or resident on whose 16 behalf a complaint is made may only be disclosed with the consent of the identified 17 person or the person's legal guardian or resident representative, or by court order. 18 However, if an older Alaskan is unable to provide consent and does not have a legal 19 guardian, or if a resident is unable to provide consent and does not have a resident 20 representative, the ombudsman may disclose the identity of an identified person for 21 the purpose of making a referral to an agency or person, if the ombudsman or an 22 employee or volunteer of the office 23 (1) has reasonable cause to believe that an action, inaction, or decision, 24 including an action, inaction, or decision by a resident representative or a legal 25 guardian of an older Alaskan, may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or 26 rights of the older Alaskan or resident; 27 (2) has reasonable cause to believe the referral is in the best interest of 28 the older Alaskan or resident; 29 (3) obtains the approval of the ombudsman for the disclosure and 30 referral; and 31 (4) does not have evidence that the older Alaskan or resident would
01 disagree with the referral. 02 * Sec. 11. AS 47.62.060 is amended to read: 03 Sec. 47.62.060. Cooperative agreements. The authority shall enter into 04 cooperative agreements concerning the operations of the office, including protocols 05 for investigations, with state and local agencies that have jurisdiction over long term 06 care facilities or over the abuse and neglect of older Alaskans or residents. 07 * Sec. 12. AS 47.62.090 is amended to read: 08 Sec. 47.62.090. Definitions. In AS 47.62.010 - 47.62.090, 09 (1) "authority" means the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority 10 established in AS 47.30.011; 11 (2) "long term care facility" means an assisted living home, as defined 12 in AS 47.32.900, and a nursing facility, as defined in AS 47.32.900; 13 (3) "office" means the office of the long term care ombudsman; 14 (4) "older Alaskan" means a person [A RESIDENT] who is 60 years 15 of age or older and who resides in the state; 16 (5) "ombudsman" means the long term care ombudsman hired under 17 AS 47.62.010; 18 (6) "resident" means a person who resides in a long term care 19 facility in the state; 20 (7) "resident representative" means 21 (A) an individual chosen by a resident to act on behalf of 22 the resident to 23 (i) support the resident in decision-making; 24 (ii) access medical, social, or other personal 25 information of the resident; 26 (iii) manage financial matters; or 27 (iv) receive notifications; 28 (B) a person authorized by federal or state law to act on 29 behalf of a resident ["SENIOR CITIZEN HOUSING" HAS THE MEANING 30 GIVEN "SENIOR HOUSING" IN AS 18.56.799]. 31 * Sec. 13. AS 47.24.010(f), 47.24.013(c)(3), and 47.24.013(e) are repealed.