TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-17.8
Abuse in Health Care Facilities

SECTION 23-17.8-9


§ 23-17.8-9 Duties of the directors of the department of health and the department of mental health, retardation, and hospitals.

The directors of the department of health and the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals or their designee shall:

(1) Immediately notify the attorney general or his or her designee upon receipt of an oral or written report made pursuant to § 23-17.8-2;

(2) Investigate and evaluate the information reported in the reports. The investigation and evaluation shall be made within twenty-four (24) hours if the department has reasonable cause to believe the patient's or resident's health or safety is in "immediate jeopardy"; within seven (7) days for reports deemed by the department to be of "non-immediate jeopardy – high potential for harm"; within twenty-one (21) days for reports deemed by the department to be of "non-immediate jeopardy – medium potential for harm"; and within sixty (60) days for reports deemed by the department to be of "non-immediate jeopardy – low potential for harm." The investigation shall include a visit to the facility, an interview with the patient or resident allegedly abused, mistreated, or neglected, a determination of the nature, extent, and cause or causes of the injuries, the identity of the person or persons responsible for the injuries, and all other pertinent facts. The determination shall be in writing;

(3) Evaluate the environment at the facility named in the report and make a written determination of the risk of physical or emotional injury to any other patients or residents in the same facility;

(4) Forward to the attorney general within a reasonable time after a case is initially reported pursuant to § 23-17.8-2, subject to subdivision (1), a summary of the findings and recommendations on each case;

(5) If the director or the director's designee has reasonable cause to believe that a patient or resident has died as a result of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect, immediately report the death to the attorney general and the office of the medical examiner. The office of the medical examiner shall investigate the report and communicate its preliminary findings, orally within seventy-two (72) hours, and in writing within seven (7) working days, to the attorney general. The office of the medical examiner shall also communicate its final findings and conclusions, with the basis for its final findings and conclusions, to the same parties within sixty (60) days;

(6) Promulgate any regulations that may be necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter;

(7) Maintain a file of the written reports prepared pursuant to this chapter. The written reports shall be confidential, but shall be released to the attorney general or to a court of competent jurisdiction, and may be released, upon written request and with the approval of the director or his or her designee, to the patient or resident, counsel, the reporting person or agency, the appropriate review board, or a social worker assigned to the case.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 409, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 414, § 2; P.L. 1991, ch. 235, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 248, § 3; P.L. 1992, ch. 423, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 317, § 6; P.L. 2005, ch. 156, § 4; P.L. 2005, ch. 248, § 4.)