TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-17.8
Abuse in Health Care Facilities

SECTION 23-17.8-2


§ 23-17.8-2. Duty to report.

(a) Any physician, physician assistant, medical intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse's aide, orderly, certified nursing assistant, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, optician, chiropractor, podiatrist, coroner, police officer, probation officer, emergency medical technician, firefighter, speech pathologist, audiologist, social worker, pharmacist, physical or occupational therapist, or health officer, or any person, within the scope of their employment at a facility or in their professional capacity, who has knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe that a patient or resident in a facility has been abused, mistreated, or neglected, either while in the facility or prior to being admitted, shall make, within twenty-four (24) hours or by the end of the next business day, a telephone report to the director of the department of health, or his or her designee, for those incidents involving healthcare facilities, and in addition to the office of the state long-term care ombudsperson for those incidents involving nursing facilities, assisted living residences, home-care and home nursing-care providers, veterans' homes and long-term care units in Eleanor Slater hospital, or to the director of the department of behavioral healthcare, developmental disabilities and hospitals, or his or her designee, for those incidents involving community residences for people with developmental disabilities or the director of the office of healthy aging for individuals aged sixty (60) years or older. The report shall contain:

(1) The name, address, telephone number, occupation, and employer's address and the phone number of the person reporting;

(2) The name and address of the patient or resident who is believed to be the victim of the abuse, mistreatment, or neglect;

(3) The details, observations, and beliefs concerning the incident(s);

(4) Any statements regarding the incident made by the patient or resident and to whom they were made;

(5) The date, time, and place of the incident;

(6) The name of any individual(s) believed to have knowledge of the incident;

(7) The name of any individual(s) believed to have been responsible for the incident;

(8) The name of the individual's caregiver, if known;

(9) Any medical treatment being received if immediately required and need to coordinate care, if known;

(10) Any other information the reporter believes relevant to the investigation; and

(11) The name and address of the reporter and where the reporter can be contacted. The reporter's identity shall remain confidential unless disclosure is consented to by the reporter or by court order.

(b) In addition to those persons required to report pursuant to this section, any other person may make a report if that person has reasonable cause to believe that a patient or resident of a facility has been abused, mistreated, or neglected. Additional provisions for the reporting of abuse of individuals regardless of where they reside in the community are set forth in § 42-66-8.

(c) Any person required to make a report pursuant to this section shall be deemed to have complied with these requirements if a report is made to a high managerial agent of the facility in which the alleged incident occurred. Once notified, the high managerial agent shall be required to meet all reporting requirements of this section within the time frames specified by this chapter.

(d) Telephone reports made pursuant to this section shall be followed-up within three (3) business days with a written report.

(e) Individuals required to report pursuant to this section shall, whenever practical and if known, provide the office of healthy aging twenty-four hour (24) notice of the discharge from a facility, of any person subject to abuse or neglect and shall include any relevant address and telephone number(s).

(f) No person required to report pursuant to this section shall be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of the report; provided, however, that the person did not perpetrate, inflict, or cause the abuse. No employer or supervisor may discharge, demote, transfer, reduce pay, benefits, or work privileges; prepare a negative work performance evaluation; or take any other action detrimental to an employee or supervisee who files a report in accordance with the provisions of this section by reason of the report.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 409, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 504, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 235, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 318, § 2; P.L. 1992, ch. 423, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 386, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 317, § 2; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 51; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 51; P.L. 2006, ch. 361, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 501, § 2; P.L. 2012, ch. 254, § 2; P.L. 2012, ch. 264, § 2; P.L. 2019, ch. 107, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 142, § 1.)