2003 -- S 876 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
RELATING TO LONG-TERM CARE -- OMBUDSPERSON
Introduced By: Senators Roberts, Paiva-Weed, and Gibbs
Date Introduced: February 26, 2003
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 42-66.7-3, 42-66.7-5, 42-66.7-6, 42-66.7-7, 42-66.7-9, 42-66.7-10,
42-66.7-12 and 42-66.7-13 of the General Laws in Chapter 42-66.7 entitled "Long-Term Care
Ombudsperson Act of 1995" are hereby amended to read as follows:
42-66.7-3. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:
(1) An "act" of any facility or government agency includes any failure or refusal to act
by any facility or government agency.
(2) "Administrator" means any person who is charged with the general administration or
supervision of a facility whether or not that person has an ownership interest and whether or not
that person's functions and duties are shared with one or more other persons.
(3) "Elderly" means any person sixty (60) years of age or older who is a resident of any
"Facility" means any facility
, or institution, home
care provider or home nursing care
provider, whether public or private, offering health or health related services for the
institutionalized elderly, and which is subject to regulation, visitation, inspection, or supervision
by any government agency. "Facilities" include, but are not limited to, nursing homes,
intermediate care facilities, extended care facilities, convalescent homes, rehabilitation centers,
home care agencies, homes for the aged, veterans' homes, boarding homes, and residential care
and assisted living
(5) "Government agency" means any department, division, office, bureau, board,
commission, authority, non-profit community organization, or any other agency or
instrumentality created by any municipality or by the state, or to which the state is a party, which
is responsible for the regulation, inspection, visitation, or supervision of facilities or which
provides services to residents of facilities.
"Ombudsperson" means the person or persons designated by the director
of the department of elderly affairs. That person or persons shall have expertise and
experience in the
fields of social work, long term care, and advocacy, and shall be qualified and experienced in
communicating with the elderly.
(7) "Resident" means any person age sixty (60) years of age or older who is receiving
treatment, care, or housing in any facility in all of its aspects including, but not limited to,
admission, retention, confinement, period of residence, transfer, discharge, and in any instances
directly related to that status. Residents include patients and clients. Residents shall also include
disabled persons under sixty (60) years of age residing in nursing homes, or clients of residential
and assisted living facilities and home care providers/home nursing care providers.
(8) "Interfere" means willing and continuous conduct which prevents the ombudsperson
from performing her/his official duties.
(9) "Official duties" means work pursuant to the long-term care ombudsperson program
authorized by the federal Older Americans Act or the long-term care ombudsperson program
authorized by state law and carried out under the auspices and general direction of the state long-
term care ombudsperson.
(10) "Director" means the director of the department of elderly affairs.
(11) "Person" means any individual, trust, or estate, partnership, limited liability
corporation, corporation (including associations, joint stock companies, and insurance
companies), state, or political subdivision or instrumentality of a state.
42-66.7-5. Powers and duties. -- The long term care ombudsperson shall:
(1) Identify, investigate, and resolve complaints that (a) are made by, or on behalf of,
residents; and (b) relate to action, inaction, or decisions, that may adversely effect the health,
safety, welfare, or rights of the residents (including the welfare and rights of the residents with
respect to the appointment and activities of guardians and representative payees);
(2) Provide referral services to assist residents in protecting their health, safety, welfare
(3) Inform residents of their rights and advocate on their behalf to improve their quality
of life and live with dignity and respect;
(4) Formulate policies and procedures to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints;
(5) Make appropriate referrals of investigations to other state agencies, such as the
department of health and the
department of attorney general;
(6) Offer assistance and training to public and private organizations on long term care of
. and persons with
(7) Represent the interests of residents of facilities before government agencies and seek
administrative, legal, and other remedies to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the
residents including rights with respect to the appointment and activities of guardians and
representative payees; and
(8) Review and, if necessary, comment on any existing and proposed laws, regulations,
and other government policies and actions, that pertain to the rights and well-being of residents of
42-66.7-6. Confidentiality. -- The files maintained by the long term care ombudsperson
program are confidential and shall be disclosed only with the written consent of the resident
client affected or his or her legal representative, or if any disclosure is required by court order.
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of information gathered in
an investigation to any interested party as may be necessary to resolve the complaint or to refer to
other appropriate state agencies investigating civil, criminal or licensing violations.
42-66.7-7. Access to records, facility, resident. –(a) In the course of an investigation,
the long term care ombudsperson shall:
(1) make the necessary inquiries and obtain information as is deemed necessary;
(2) have access to facilities and residents and service providers; and
(3) enter facilities and, after notifying the person in charge, inspect any books, files,
medical records, or other records
that pertain to the resident.
and are required by law to be maintained by the facility
(b) In the ordinary course of the long term care ombudsperson's duties, the long term
care ombudsperson shall have access to residents of a facility to:
(1) visit, talk with, make personal, social, and other appropriate services available;
(2) inform them of their rights and entitlements and corresponding obligations under
federal and state law by distribution of educational materials, discussion in groups, or discussion
with individual residents and their families; and
(3) engage in other methods of assisting, advising, and representing residents to extend
to them the full enjoyment of their rights.
42-66.7-9. Cooperation required. -- (a) The long term care ombudsperson may request
from any government agency, and the agency is authorized and directed to provide, any
cooperation and assistance, services, and data as will enable the long term care ombudsperson to
properly perform or exercise any of his or her functions, duties and powers under this chapter.
(b) The long term care ombudsperson shall, to the extent permissible under the
provisions of section 712 of the Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. 3058g) as amended in 2000,
cooperate and assist other government agencies in their investigations, such as the department of
health, the department of attorney general, the department of human services and any other
pertinent department or agency.
Annual reports. -- The long term care ombudsperson shall
file a submit
annual report of the activities of the long term care ombudsperson program and the long term care
ombudsperson's activities concerning facilities and the protection of the rights of residents of the
facilities with the assistant secretary for aging, director, governor, general assembly, director of
the Rhode Island department of health, chair of the long-term-care coordinating council and other
entities. The report shall be available to the public.
director of the department of elderly affairs. This report shall be submitted by the director of
elderly affairs to the chair of the long term care
coordinating council for review.
42-66.7-12. Rules and regulations. -- The director of the department of elderly affairs
shall promulgate and, from time to time, revise rules and regulations for the implementation and
enforcement of the long-term ombudsperson program including, but not limited to, the procedures
for the receipt, investigation and resolution, through administrative action, of complaints. As
applicable, the rules and regulations promulgated by the director shall be in accordance with the
provisions set forth in section 712 of the Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. 3058g) as amended in
42-66.7-13. Interagency cooperation. -- Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to be
a limitation of the powers and responsibilities assigned by law to other state agencies or
departments. The director
department of elderly affairs shall establish an interagency
agreement among the elderly affairs department, the department of health, the department of
attorney general and the department of human services to ensure a cooperative effort in meeting
the needs of the residents of long term care facilities.
SECTION 2. Chapter 42-66.7 of the General Laws entitled "Long-Term Care
Ombudsperson Act of 1995" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following sections:
42-66.7-14. Noninterference. – No person shall willfully interfere with the long-term
care ombudsperson in the performance of the ombudsperson's official duties.
42-66.7-15. Enforcement. – The director shall have the power to enforce the provisions
of this chapter.
42-66.7-16. Penalty for violations of sections 42-66.7-8 and 42-66.7-14. – (a) Every
person who shall willfully violate the provisions of sections 42-66.7-8 or 42-66.7-14 will be
subject to a fine up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation of these sections and any
other remedy provided for in the Rhode Island law.
42-66.7-17. Severability. – If any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation
made under this chapter, or the application of any provision of this chapter to any person or
circumstance shall be held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of the
chapter, rule or regulation and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances
shall not be affected thereby. The invalidity of any section or sections or parts of any section of
this chapter shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this chapter and to this end the
provisions of the chapter are declared to be severable.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.