Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 901

Public Act No. 03-267

AN ACT CONCERNING REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE, NEGLECT, EXPLOITATION OR ABANDONMENT OF ELDERLY PERSONS OR PERSONS IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES AND ESTABLISHING THE CRIME OF ABUSE OF AN ELDERLY, BLIND, DISABLED OR MENTALLY RETARDED PERSON.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17b-407 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370, any resident physician or intern in any hospital in this state, whether or not so licensed, and any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, social worker, clergyman, police officer, pharmacist, physical therapist, long-term care facility administrator, nurse's aide or orderly in a long-term care facility, any person paid for caring for a patient in a long-term care facility, any staff person employed by a long-term care facility and any person who is a sexual assault counselor or a battered women's counselor as defined in section 52-146k who has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a resident in a long-term care facility has been abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or is in a condition that is the result of such abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, shall, [within five calendar days] not later than seventy-two hours after such suspicion or belief arose, report such information or cause a report to be made in any reasonable manner to the Commissioner of Social Services pursuant to chapter 319dd. Any person required to report under the provision of this section who fails to make such report within the prescribed time period shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, except that, if such person intentionally fails to make such report within the prescribed time period, such person shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.

(b) Such report shall contain the name and address of the long-term care facility, the name of the involved resident, information regarding the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment and any other information which the reporter believes might be helpful in an investigation of the case and for the protection of the resident.

(c) Any other person having reasonable cause to believe that a resident in a long-term care facility is being, or has been, abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or any person who wishes to file any other complaint regarding a long-term care facility, shall report such information in accordance with subsection (b) of this section in any reasonable manner to the Commissioner of Social Services who shall inform the resident of the services of the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

(d) Such report or complaint shall not be deemed a public record, and shall not be subject to the provisions of section 1-210. Information derived from such reports or complaints for which reasonable grounds are determined to exist after investigation as provided for in section 17b-408, as amended by this act, including the identity of the long-term care facility, the number of complaints received, the number of complaints substantiated and the types of complaints, may be disclosed by the Commissioner of Social Services, except that in no case shall the name of the resident or the complainant be revealed, unless such person specifically requests such disclosure or unless a judicial proceeding results from such report or complaint.

(e) [Anyone] Any person who makes a report or complaint pursuant to this section or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from the report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report or complaint or testimony, except for liability for perjury, unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

(f) Any person who is discharged or in any manner discriminated or retaliated against for making, in good faith, a report or complaint pursuant to this section shall be entitled to all remedies available under law including, but not limited to, remedies available under sections 19a-532 and 31-51m, as applicable.

[(f)] (g) The person filing a report or complaint pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be notified of the findings of any investigation conducted by the Commissioner of Social Services, upon request.

[(g)] (h) The Commissioner of Social Services shall maintain a registry of the reports received, the investigations made, the findings and the actions recommended and taken.

Sec. 2. Section 17b-408 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

Upon receipt of a report or complaint as provided in section 17b-407, as amended by this act, the commissioner shall determine immediately whether there are reasonable grounds for an investigation. If it is determined that reasonable grounds do not exist for an investigation, the complainant or the person making the report shall be notified of this determination [within] not later than five working days after the receipt of such complaint or report. If such reasonable grounds are found, the commissioner shall investigate such report or complaint [within] not later than ten working days thereafter. The commissioner shall complete an investigation and make a report of the findings [, within] not later than fifteen working days after the receipt of the complaint or report. If the investigation indicates that there is a possible violation of section 19a-533, 19a-535 [,] or 19a-537, the commissioner shall refer the report or complaint together with a report of any investigation the commissioner has undertaken to the Department of Public Health for action as appropriate. If the investigation indicates that there is a possible violation of the provisions of the Public Health Code with respect to licensing requirements, the commissioner shall refer the report or complaint, together with a report of the commissioner's investigation, to the Commissioner of Public Health for appropriate action. If no violation of the Public Health Code is indicated, the commissioner shall take whatever action the commissioner deems necessary, and shall notify the complainant or the person making the report, of the action taken [within] not later than fifteen working days after receipt of the complaint or report. If the investigation indicates that a person has abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned a resident in a long-term care facility, the commissioner shall refer such information in writing to the Chief State's Attorney or the Chief State's Attorney's designee who shall conduct such further investigation, if any, as deemed necessary and shall determine whether criminal proceedings should be initiated against such person in accordance with applicable state law.

Sec. 3. Section 17b-451 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370, any resident physician or intern in any hospital in this state, whether or not so licensed, any registered nurse, any nursing home administrator, nurse's aide or orderly in a nursing home facility, any person paid for caring for a patient in a nursing home facility, any staff person employed by a nursing home facility, any patients' advocate and any licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, social worker, clergyman, police officer, pharmacist, psychologist or physical therapist, who has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that any elderly person has been abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or is in a condition which is the result of such abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, or who is in need of protective services, shall, [within five calendar days] not later than seventy-two hours after such suspicion or belief arose, report such information or cause a report to be made in any reasonable manner to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the person or persons designated by the commissioner to receive such reports. Any person required to report under the provisions of this section who fails to make such report within the prescribed time period shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, except that, if such person intentionally fails to make such report within the prescribed time period, such person shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offense.

(b) Such report shall contain the name and address of the involved elderly person, information regarding the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, and any other information which the reporter believes might be helpful in an investigation of the case and the protection of such elderly person.

(c) Any other person having reasonable cause to suspect or believe that an elderly person is being, or has been, abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or who is in need of protective services may report such information in any reasonable manner to the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.

(d) Any person who makes any report pursuant to sections 17b-450 to 17b-461, inclusive, as amended by this act, or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from such report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report or testimony, except for liability for perjury, unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

(e) Any person who is discharged or in any manner discriminated or retaliated against for making, in good faith, a report pursuant to this section shall be entitled to all remedies available under law including, but not limited to, remedies available under sections 19a-532 and 31-51m, as applicable.

[(e)] (f) For the purposes of sections 17b-450 to 17b-461, inclusive, as amended by this act, the treatment of any elderly person by a Christian Science practitioner, in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, or the refusal of treatment by an elderly person for religious reasons shall not of itself constitute grounds for the implementation of protective services.

Sec. 4. Section 17b-460 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

If as a result of any investigation initiated under the provisions of sections 17b-450 to 17b-461, inclusive, as amended by this act, a determination is made that a caretaker or other person has abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned an elderly person, such information shall be referred in writing to the [appropriate office of the state's attorney, which] Chief State's Attorney or the Chief State's Attorney's designee who shall conduct such further investigation, if any, [is] as deemed necessary and shall determine whether criminal proceedings should be initiated against such caretaker or other person, in accordance with applicable state law.

Sec. 5. Subsection (b) of section 51-164n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes to the contrary, any person who is alleged to have committed (1) a violation under the provisions of section 1-9, 1-10, 1-11, 4b-13, 7-13, 7-14, 7-35, 7-41, 7-83, 7-283, 7-325, 7-393, 8-25, 8-27, 9-63, 9-296, 9-305, 9-322, 9-350, 10-193, 10-197, 10-198, 10-230, 10-251, 10-254, 12-52, 12-170aa, 12-292, 12-326g, subdivision (4) of section 12-408, subdivision (3), (5) or (6) of section 12-411, section 12-435c, 12-476a, 12-476b, 12-487, 13a-71, 13a-107, 13a-113, 13a-114, 13a-115, 13a-117b, 13a-123, 13a-124, 13a-139, 13a-140, 13a-143b, 13a-247, 13a-253, subsection (f) of section 13b-42, section 13b-90, 13b-221, 13b-292, 13b-336, 13b-337, 13b-338, 13b-410a, 13b-410b, 13b-410c, subsection (a), (b) or (c) of section 13b-412, section 13b-414, subsection (d) of section 14-12, section 14-20a, 14-27a, subsection (e) of section 14-34a, subsection (d) of section 14-35, section 14-43, 14-49, 14-50a, 14-58, subsection (b) of section 14-66, section 14-66a, 14-66b, 14-67a, subsection (f) of section 14-80h, section 14-97a, section 14-100b, 14-103a, 14-106a, 14-106c, 14-146, 14-152, 14-153, 14-163b, a first violation as specified in subsection (f) of section 14-164i, section 14-219 specified in subsection (e) of said section, section 14-240, 14-249, 14-250, subsection (a), (b) or (c) of section 14-261a, section 14-262, 14-264, 14-267a, 14-269, 14-270, 14-275a, 14-278, 14-279, subsection (e) of section 14-283, section 14-291, 14-293b, 14-319, 14-320, 14-321, 14-325a, 14-326, 14-330, 14-332a, subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of section 14-386a, section 15-33, subsection (a) of section 15-115, section 16-256, 16-256e, 16a-15, 16a-22, subsection (a) or (b) of section 16a-22h, section 17a-24, 17a-145, 17a-149, 17a-152, 17a-465, 17a-642, 17b-124, 17b-131, 17b-137, [17b-407, 17b-451,] 17b-734, subsection (b) of section 17b-736, 19a-30, 19a-33, 19a-39, 19a-87, subsection (b) of section 19a-87a, section 19a-91, 19a-105, 19a-107, 19a-215, 19a-219, 19a-222, 19a-224, 19a-286, 19a-287, 19a-297, 19a-301, 19a-309, 19a-335, 19a-336, 19a-338, 19a-339, 19a-340, 19a-425, 19a-502, 20-7a, 20-14, 20-158, 20-231, 20-257, 20-265, 20-324e, subsection (a) of section 20-341, section 20-341l, 20-597, 20-608, 20-610, 21-30, 21-38, 21-39, 21-43, 21-47, 21-48, 21-63, 21-76a, 21a-21, 21a-25, 21a-26, 21a-30, subsection (a) of section 21a-37, section 21a-46, 21a-61, 21a-63, 21a-77, subsection (b) of section 21a-79, section 21a-85, 21a-154, 21a-159, 21a-201, 21a-211, 22-13, 22-14, 22-15, 22-16, 22-29, 22-34, 22-35, 22-36, 22-37, 22-38, 22-39, 22-39a, 22-39b, 22-39c, 22-39d, 22-39e, 22-49, 22-54, 22-61, 22-89, 22-90, 22-98, 22-99, 22-100, 22-111o, 22-279, 22-280a, 22-318a, 22-320h, 22-324a, 22-326, 22-342, subsection (b) or (e) of section 22-344, section 22-359, 22-366, 22-391, 22-413, 22-414, 22-415, 22a-66a, 22a-246, subsection (a) of section 22a-250, subsection (e) of section 22a-256h, section 22a-449, 22a-461, 23-37, 23-38, 23-46, 23-61b, subsection (a) or (b) of section 23-65, section 25-37, 25-40, 26-19, 26-21, 26-31, 26-40, 26-40a, 26-49, 26-54, 26-59, 26-61, 26-64, 26-79, 26-89, 26-97, 26-107, 26-117, 26-128, 26-131, 26-132, 26-138, 26-141, 26-207, 26-215, 26-224a, 26-227, 26-230, 26-294, 28-13, 29-6a, 29-109, 29-161a, 29-161b, 29-198, 29-210, 29-243, 29-277, 29-316, 29-318, 29-341, 29-381, 30-48a, 30-86a, 31-3, 31-10, 31-11, 31-12, 31-13, 31-14, 31-15, 31-16, 31-18, 31-23, 31-24, 31-25, 31-28, 31-32, 31-36, 31-38, 31-38a, 31-40, 31-44, 31-47, 31-48, 31-51, 31-51k, 31-52, 31-52a, 31-54, subsection (a) or (c) of section 31-69, section 31-70, 31-74, 31-75, 31-76, 31-76a, 31-89b, 31-134, subsection (g) of section 31-273, section 31-288, 36a-787, 42-230, 45a-450, 45a-634, 45a-658, subdivision (13) or (14) of section 46a-54, section 46a-59, 46b-22, 46b-24, 46b-34, 47-34a, 47-47, 49-8a, 49-16, 53-133, subsection (a) or (b) of section 53-211, section 53-212a, 53-249a, 53-252, 53-264, 53-302a, 53-303e, 53-311a, 53-321, 53-322, 53-323, 53-331, 53-344 or 53-450, or (2) a violation under the provisions of chapter 268, or (3) a violation of any regulation adopted in accordance with the provisions of section 12-484, 12-487 or 13b-410, shall follow the procedures set forth in this section.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) For the purposes of sections 6 to 10, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Person" means any natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, unincorporated business or other business entity;

(2) "Elderly person" means any person who is sixty years of age or older;

(3) "Blind person" means any person who is blind, as defined in section 1-1f of the general statutes;

(4) "Disabled person" means any person who is physically disabled, as defined in section 1-1f of the general statutes;

(5) "Mentally retarded person" means any person with mental retardation, as defined in section 1-1g of the general statutes;

(6) "Abuse" means any repeated act or omission that causes physical injury or serious physical injury to an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person, except when (A) the act or omission is a part of the treatment and care, and in furtherance of the health and safety, of the elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person, or (B) the act or omission is based upon the instructions, wishes, consent, refusal to consent or revocation of consent of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person, or the legal representative of an incapable elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person. For purposes of this subdivision, "repeated" means an act or omission that occurs on two or more occasions;

(7) "Intentionally" means "intentionally" as defined in subdivision (11) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes;

(8) "Knowingly" means "knowingly" as defined in subdivision (12) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes;

(9) "Recklessly" means "recklessly" as defined in subdivision (13) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes;

(10) "Physical injury" means "physical injury" as defined in subdivision (3) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes; and

(11) "Serious physical injury" means "serious physical injury" as defined in subdivision (4) of section 53a-3 of the general statutes.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) A person is guilty of abuse in the first degree when such person intentionally commits abuse of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person and causes serious physical injury to such elderly, blind, mentally retarded, or disabled person.

(b) Abuse in the first degree is a class C felony.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) A person is guilty of abuse in the second degree when such person: (1) Intentionally commits abuse of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person and causes physical injury to such elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person, or (2) knowingly commits abuse of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person and causes serious physical injury to such elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person.

(b) Abuse in the second degree is a class D felony.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) A person is guilty of abuse in the third degree when such person (1) knowingly commits abuse of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person and causes physical injury to such elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person, or (2) recklessly commits abuse of an elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person and causes physical injury to such elderly, blind, disabled or mentally retarded person.

(b) Abuse in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) For the purposes of this section, "license" means a license, certificate or permit to engage in a profession issued by the Department of Public Health.

(b) Whenever a person holding a license is convicted of a violation of section 7, 8 or 9 of this act or subsection (a) of section 17b-407 or subsection (a) of section 17b-451 of the general statutes, the appropriate state's attorney or assistant state's attorney shall transmit a notice of conviction to the Department of Public Health.

(c) The Department of Public Health may suspend or revoke the license of such person for any period of time or permanently revoke such license, or take any other action authorized by section 19a-17 of the general statutes, in the sole discretion of the department.

Approved July 9, 2003