A N A C T
RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- LICENSING OF HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 23-17-2, 23-17-47 and 23-17-52 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-17 entitled "Licensing of Health Care Facilities" are hereby amended to read as follows:
23-17-2. Definitions -- As used in this chapter:
(1) "Alzheimer's dementia special care unit or program" means a distinct living environment within a nursing facility that has been physically adapted to accommodate the particular needs and behaviors of those with dementia. The unit provides increased staffing, therapeutic activities designed specifically for those with dementia, and trains its staff on an ongoing basis on the effective management of the physical and behavioral problems of those with dementia. The residents of the unit/program have had a standard medical diagnostic evaluation and have been determined to have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia or another dementia.
(2) (i) "Change in operator" means a transfer by the governing body or operator of a health care facility to any other person (excluding delegations of authority to the medical or administrative staff of the facility) of the governing body's authority to:
(A) Hire or fire the chief executive officer of the health care facility;
(B) Maintain and control the books and records of the health care facility;
(C) Dispose of assets and incur liabilities on behalf of the health care facility; or
(D) Adopt and enforce policies regarding operation of the health care facility.
(ii) This definition is not applicable to circumstances wherein the governing body of a health care facility retains the immediate authority and jurisdiction over the activities enumerated in subdivisions (2)(i)(A) -- (2)(i)(D).
(3) "Change in owner" means:
(i) In the case of a health care facility which is a partnership, the removal, addition, or substitution of a partner which results in a new partner acquiring a controlling interest in the partnership;
(ii) In the case of a health care facility which is an unincorporated solo proprietorship, the transfer of the title and property to another person;
(iii) In the case of a health care facility which is a corporation:
(A) A sale, lease exchange, or other disposition of all, or substantially all of the property and assets of the corporation; or
(B) A merger of the corporation into another corporation; or
(C) The consolidation or two or more corporations, resulting in the creation of a new corporation; or
(D) In the case of a health care facility which is a business corporation, any transfer of corporate stock which results in a new person acquiring a controlling interest in the corporation; or
(E) In the case of a health care facility which is a nonbusiness corporation, any change in membership which results in a new person acquiring a controlling vote in the corporation.
(4) "Director" means the director of the Rhode Island state department of health.
(5) "Health care facility" means any institutional health service provider, facility or institution, place, building, agency, or portion thereof, whether a partnership or corporation, whether public or private, whether organized for profit or not, used, operated, or engaged in providing health care services, including but not limited to hospitals; nursing facilities; home nursing care provider (which shall include skilled nursing services and may also include activities allowed as a home care provider or as a nursing service agency); home care provider (which may include services such as personal care or homemaker services); rehabilitation centers; kidney disease treatment centers; health maintenance organizations; free-standing emergency care facilities, and facilities providing surgical treatment to patients not requiring hospitalization (surgi-centers); hospice care, and physician office settings providing surgical treatment. The term "health care facility" also includes organized ambulatory care facilities which are not part of a hospital but which are organized and operated to provide health care services to outpatients such as central services facilities serving more than one health care facility or health care provider, treatment centers, diagnostic centers, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, infirmaries and health centers, and neighborhood health centers; providing, however, that the term "health care facility" shall not apply to organized ambulatory care facilities owned and operated by professional service corporations as defined in chapter 5.1 of title 7, as amended (the "Professional Service Corporation Law"), or to a private practitioner's (physician, dentist, or other health care provider) office or group of the practitioners' offices (whether owned and/or operated by an individual practitioner, alone or as a member of a partnership, professional service corporation, organization, or association). Individual categories of health care facilities shall be defined in rules and regulations promulgated by the licensing agency with the advice of the health services council. Rules and regulations concerning hospice care shall be promulgated with regard to the "Standards of a Hospice Program of Care", promulgated by national hospice organization. Any provider of hospice care who provides such hospice care without charge shall be exempt from the licensing provisions of this chapter but shall meet the "Standards of a Hospice Program of Care." Facilities licensed by the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals, and the department of human services, and clinical laboratories licensed in accordance with chapter 16.2 of this title, as well as Christian Science institutions (also known as Christian Science Nursing Facilities) listed and certified by the Commission for Accreditation of Christian Science Nursing Organizations/Facilities, Inc. shall not be considered health care facilities for purposes of this chapter.
(6) "Homemaker", or however else called, means a trained non-professional worker who performs related housekeeping services in the home for the sick, disabled, dependent, or infirmed, and as further defined by regulation; the director shall establish criteria for training.
(7) "Licensing agency" means the Rhode Island state department of health.
(8) "Medical services" means such professional services and supplies rendered by or under the direction of persons duly licensed under the laws of this state to practice medicine, surgery, or podiatry as may be specified by any medical service plan. Medical service shall not be construed to include hospital services.
(9) "Person" means any individual, trust or estate, partnership, corporation, (including associations, joint stock companies, and insurance companies) state, or political subdivision or instrumentality of a state.
(10) "Physician office setting providing surgical treatment" means an office or portion of an office owned and/or operated by a physician controlled professional service corporation as defined in chapter 5.1 of title 7, as amended (the "Professional Service Corporation Law"), or a private physician's office or group of the physicians' offices (whether owned and/or operated by an individual practitioner, alone or as a member of a partnership, professional service corporation, organization, or association) which is utilized for the purpose of furnishing surgical services to the owner and/or operator's own patients on an ambulatory basis.
(11) "Clinician" means a physician licensed under title 5, chapter 37; a nurse licensed under title 5, chapter 34; a psychologist licensed under title 5, chapter 44, a social worker licensed under title 5, chapter 39.1; a physical therapist licensed under title 5, chapter 40; and a speech language pathologist or audiologist licensed under title 5, chapter 48.
(12) "Hospital" means a person or governmental entity licensed in accordance with chapter 23-17 of this title to establish, maintain and operate a hospital.
(13) A "non-English speaker" means a person who cannot speak or understand, or has difficulty in speaking or understanding, the English language, because he/she uses only or primarily a spoken language other than English, and/or a person who uses a sign language and requires the use of a sign language interpreter to facilitate communication.
(14) A "qualified interpreter" means a person who, through experience and/or training, is able to translate a particular foreign language into English with the exception of sign language interpreters who must be licensed in accordance with title 5, chapter 71.
(15) A "qualified sign language interpreter" means one who has been licensed in accordance with the provisions of title 5, chapter 71 of the general laws.
23-17-47. Identification badges -- A health care facility shall require all persons, including students, who examine, observe or treat a patient or resident of such facility to wear a photo identification badge which states, in a reasonably legible manner, (1) the first name, (2) licensure registration status, if any, (3) fluency in sign languages or language other than English, if any, and (4) staff position of such person.
23-17-52. Department of health concern line -- Any hospital licensed pursuant to this chapter shall provide the department of health's concern line number to all patients and staff through posted notices in conspicuous places throughout the hospital. Such notices shall be written in English and in, at minimum, the three (3) most common foreign languages used by the patients served by each hospital as determined by such hospital.
SECTION 2. Chapter 23-17 of the General Laws entitled "Licensing of Health Care Facilities" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following sections:
23-17-54. Provisions of interpreter services. -- (a) Every hospital shall, as a condition of initial or continued licensure, provide a qualified interpreter, if an appropriate bilingual clinician is not available to translate, in connection with all services provided to every non-English speaker who is a patient or seeks appropriate care and treatment and is not accompanied or represented by an appropriate qualified interpreter or a qualified sign language interpreter who has attained at least sixteen (16) years of age.
(b) Each hospital shall post a multi-lingual notice in conspicuous places setting forth the requirement in subsection (a) above in English and the, at minimum, three (3) most common foreign languages used by the hospital as determined by the hospital.
(c) The receipt by a non-English speaker of interpreter services shall not be deemed the receipt of a benefit under any provisions of law restricting benefits or assistance on the basis of immigrant status.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or limit any rights, remedies or obligations under chapters 11-24, 42-87 or 42-112 of the general laws.
23-17-55. Severability. -- If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect January 1, 2002.