CHAPTER 319aa
OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN

Table of Contents

Sec. 17b-400. (Formerly Sec. 17a-405). Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Regional ombudsmen. Appointments. Inclusion in classified service. Definitions.
Sec. 17b-401. (Formerly Sec. 17a-406). Residents' advocates. Appointment, expenses, removal. Use of trained volunteers.
Sec. 17b-402. (Formerly Sec. 17a-407). Residents' advocates. Training. Regulations.
Sec. 17b-403. (Formerly Sec. 17a-408). Duties of State Ombudsman.
Sec. 17b-404. (Formerly Sec. 17a-409). Investigative authority.
Sec. 17b-405. (Formerly Sec. 17a-410). Duties of regional ombudsmen.
Sec. 17b-406. (Formerly Sec. 17a-411). Duties of residents' advocates. Posting by nursing home facilities. Funding.
Sec. 17b-407. (Formerly Sec. 17a-412). Report of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Penalty for failure to report. Confidentiality. Immunity and protection from retaliation. Notice to complainant. Registry.
Sec. 17b-408. (Formerly Sec. 17a-413). Review of report or complaint. Investigation. Report of findings. Referral of report, complaint or information for further action.
Sec. 17b-409. (Formerly Sec. 17a-414). Legal counsel for residents and applicants and to assist the ombudsman and representatives of the office in performance of their official duties. Regional ombudsmen and residents' advocates considered state employees for purposes of certain civil actions.
Sec. 17b-410. (Formerly Sec. 17a-415). Powers of ombudsman and representatives. Access to records, facilities and residents. Penalty for wilful interference with representatives of office. Confidentiality. Assistance from outside persons or entities.
Sec. 17b-411. (Formerly Sec. 17a-416). Regulations.
Sec. 17b-412. (Formerly Sec. 17a-417). State ombudsman to: Prepare annual report; analyze, comment on and monitor law, regulations, policies and actions; provide information.
Sec. 17b-413. State-wide uniform data system.
Sec. 17b-414. Duties of state agency re disclosure.
Sec. 17b-415. Consideration of outside views re planning and operating the program.
Sec. 17b-416. Duties of state agency.
Sec. 17b-417. State ombudsman duties re pilot program in managed residential communities. Report.
Secs. 17b-418 and 17b-419.

      Sec. 17b-400. (Formerly Sec. 17a-405). Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Regional ombudsmen. Appointments. Inclusion in classified service. Definitions. (a) As used in this chapter:

      (1) "State agency" means the Division of Elderly Services of the Department of Social Services.

      (2) "Office" means the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman established in this section.

      (3) "State Ombudsman" means the State Ombudsman established in this section.

      (4) "Program" means the long-term care ombudsman program established in this section.

      (5) "Representative" includes a regional ombudsman, a residents' advocate or an employee of the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman who is individually designated by the ombudsman.

      (6) "Resident" means an older individual who resides in or is a patient in a long-term care facility who is sixty years of age or older.

      (7) "Long-term care facility" means any skilled nursing facility, as defined in Section 1819(a) of the Social Security Act, (42 USC 1395i-3(a)) any nursing facility, as defined in Section 1919(a) of the Social Security Act, (42 USC 1396r(a)) a board and care facility as defined in Section 102(19) of the federal Older Americans Act, (42 USC 3002(19)) and for purposes of ombudsman program coverage, an institution regulated by the state pursuant to Section 1616(e) of the Social Security Act, (42 USC 1382e(e)) and any other adult care home similar to a facility or nursing facility or board and care home.

      (8) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Social Services.

      (9) "Director" means the director of the Division of Elderly Services of the Department of Social Services.

      (10) "Applicant" means an older individual who has applied for admission to a long-term care facility.

      (b) There is established an independent Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman within the Department of Social Services. The Commissioner of Social Services shall appoint a State Ombudsman who shall be selected from among individuals with expertise and experience in the fields of long-term care and advocacy to head the office and the State Ombudsman shall appoint assistant regional ombudsmen. In the event the State Ombudsman or an assistant regional ombudsman is unable to fulfill the duties of the office, the commissioner shall appoint an acting State Ombudsman and the State Ombudsman shall appoint an acting assistant regional ombudsman.

      (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, on and after July 1, 1990, the positions of State Ombudsman and regional ombudsmen shall be classified service positions. The State Ombudsman and regional ombudsmen holding said positions on said date shall continue to serve in their positions as if selected through classified service procedures. As vacancies occur in such positions thereafter, such vacancies shall be filled in accordance with classified service procedures.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 1, 23; P.A. 81-167; P.A. 88-206, S. 3; P.A. 90-204, S. 1, 3; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 99-176, S. 1, 24.)

      History: P.A. 81-167 changed the number of assistant regional ombudsmen the commissioner on aging may appoint from a maximum of five to a number to be determined by the commissioner and deleted obsolete provisions re original appointment dates and terms; P.A. 88-206 authorized the commissioner to appoint an acting state ombudsman or an acting assistant regional ombudsman if the state ombudsman or assistant regional ombudsman cannot fulfill the duties of his office; P.A. 90-204 provided for the inclusion of the state ombudsman and assistant regional ombudsmen in the classified service; Sec. 17-135a transferred to Sec. 17a-405 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-405 transferred to Sec. 17b-400 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 inserted new Subsec. (a) consisting of definitions, redesignated former Subsec. (a) as Subsec. (b), changed name of office from "Nursing Home Ombudsmen Office" to "Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman", deleted reference to responsibility for receiving and resolving complaints, added that the ombudsman shall be selected from among individuals with expertise and experience in the fields of long-term care and advocacy and provided that the State Ombudsman shall appoint assistant regional ombudsmen, substituted "the commissioner shall appoint an acting State Ombudsman and the State Ombudsman shall appoint an acting assistant regional ombudsman" for "the commissioner may appoint an acting State Ombudsman or an acting assistant regional ombudsman", and deleted reference to appointment of local volunteer patients' advocates, redesignated former Subsec. (b) as (c), deleted "assistant" re regional ombudsmen and made technical changes, effective July 1, 1999.

      See title 2c re termination under "Sunset Law".

      See Sec. 17b-450 et seq. re protection of the elderly.


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      Sec. 17b-401. (Formerly Sec. 17a-406). Residents' advocates. Appointment, expenses, removal. Use of trained volunteers. (a) Residents' advocates shall be appointed by the State Ombudsman, in consultation with the regional ombudsmen, for each region in sufficient number to serve the long-term care facilities within such region. Such residents' advocates shall, if possible, be residents of the region in which they will serve, and shall have demonstrated an interest in the care of the elderly. Residents' advocates shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within available appropriations.

      (b) The residents' advocates shall be appointed after submission of recommendations from at least two former employers or other nonrelated persons.

      (c) The residents' advocates shall serve for a term of years specified by the State Ombudsman provided a residents' advocate may be removed by the State Ombudsman whenever the State Ombudsman finds such residents' advocate guilty of misconduct, material neglect of duty or incompetence in the conduct of the office.

      (d) Nothing in sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-523, 19a-524, 19a-530, 19a-531, 19a-532 and 19a-554 shall be construed to preclude the use of additional trained volunteers when it is deemed necessary to assist the State Ombudsman, regional ombudsmen or the residents' advocates.

      (e) Until such time as residents' advocates are appointed in accordance with the provisions of sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-523, 19a-524, 19a-530, 19a-531, 19a-532 and 19a-554, those residents' advocates previously appointed shall continue to perform their assigned duties and responsibilities.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 2, 23; P.A. 85-97; 85-613, S. 34, 154; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 99-176, S. 2, 24.)

      History: P.A. 85-97 required that chief administrative officer and committee on aging be consulted about appointment of advocates, where previously they were empowered to submit the nominees, and specified requirements for prospective advocates' recommendations; P.A. 85-613 made technical changes, substituting references to Sec. 2c-2b(a)(20) for references to Sec. 2c-2a; Sec. 17-135b transferred to Sec. 17a-406 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-406 transferred to Sec. 17b-401 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 amended section to substitute "residents' advocates" for "patients' advocates" and to substitute "long-term care facilities" for "nursing home facilities", amended Subsec. (b) to delete "after consultation with the chief administrative officer and committee on aging for each town, area agency on aging and director of health serving each town" re appointment of residents' advocates, amended Subsec. (c) to substitute "State Ombudsman" for "Commissioner of Social Services" and "the State Ombudsman" for "he" re finding advocates guilty of misconduct, etc., and amended Subsecs. (d) and (e) to delete reference to Sec. 2c-2b(a)(20), effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-402. (Formerly Sec. 17a-407). Residents' advocates. Training. Regulations. No person may perform any functions as a residents' advocate until the person has successfully completed a course of training required by the State Ombudsman. Any residents' advocate who fails to complete such a course within a reasonable time after appointment may be removed by the State Ombudsman or the regional ombudsman for the region in which such residents' advocate serves. The commissioner, after consultation with the State Ombudsman, shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out the provisions of this section. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the course of training required by this subsection.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 3, 23; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 99-176, S. 3, 24.)

      History: Sec. 17-135c transferred to Sec. 17a-407 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-407 transferred to Sec. 17b-402 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 deleted Subsec. designators, substituted "residents' advocate" for "patients' advocate", made the course of training subject to that required by the State Ombudsman rather than by the commissioner through regulation, required the commissioner, after consultation with the State Ombudsman, to adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of the section, including, but not limited to, the course of training, and deleted former Subsec. (b) re the discretion of the commissioner, after consultation with the State Ombudsman, to waive the training requirement upon a showing of adequate training or experience, effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-403. (Formerly Sec. 17a-408). Duties of State Ombudsman. (a) The State Ombudsman shall establish and operate ombudsman programs in this state pursuant to Sections 711 to 713, inclusive, of the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended from time to time.

      (b) The State Ombudsman shall serve on a full-time basis, and shall personally or through representatives of the office:

      (1) Identify, investigate and resolve complaints that:

      (A) Are made by, or on behalf of, residents or, as to complaints involving the application for admission to a long-term care facility, by or on behalf of applicants; and

      (B) Relate to action, inaction or decisions that may adversely affect 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, of (i) providers or representatives of providers of long-term care services, (ii) public agencies, or (iii) health and social service agencies;

      (2) Provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

      (3) Inform the residents about means of obtaining services provided by providers or agencies described in subparagraph (B) of subdivision (1) of this subsection or services described in subdivision (2) of this subsection;

      (4) Ensure that the residents and, as to issues involving applications for admission to long-term care facilities, applicants have regular and timely access to the services provided through the office and that the residents and complainants receive timely responses from representatives of the office to complaints;

      (5) Represent the interests of the residents, and of applicants in relation to issues concerning applications to long-term care facilities, before governmental agencies and seek administrative, legal and other remedies to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

      (6) Provide administrative and technical assistance to representatives to assist the representatives in participating in the program;

      (7) (A) Analyze, comment on and monitor the development and implementation of federal, state and local laws, regulations, and other governmental policies and actions that pertain to the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents with respect to the adequacy of long-term care facilities and services in this state and to the rights of applicants in relation to applications to long-term care facilities;

      (B) Recommend any changes in such laws, regulations, policies and actions as the office determines to be appropriate; and

      (C) Facilitate public comment on the laws, regulations, policies and actions;

      (8) Advocate for:

      (A) Any changes in federal, state and local laws, regulations and other governmental policies and actions that pertain to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents with respect to the adequacy of long-term care facilities and services in this state and to the health, safety, welfare and rights of applicants which the State Ombudsman determines to be appropriate;

      (B) Appropriate action by groups or agencies with jurisdictional authority to deal with problems affecting individual residents and the general resident population and applicants in relation to issues concerning applications to long-term care facilities; and

      (C) The enactment of legislative recommendations by the General Assembly and of regulatory recommendations by commissioners of Connecticut state agencies;

      (9) (A) Provide for training representatives of the office;

      (B) Promote the development of citizen organizations to participate in the program; and

      (C) Provide technical support for the development of resident and family councils to protect the well-being and rights of residents;

      (10) Coordinate ombudsman services with the protection and advocacy systems for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses established under (A) Part A of the Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (42 USC 6001, et seq.), and (B) The Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 (42 USC 10801 et seq.);

      (11) Coordinate, to the greatest extent possible, ombudsman services with legal assistance provided under Section 306(a)(2)(C) of the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, (42 USC 3026(a)(2)(C)) as amended from time to time, through the adoption of memoranda of understanding and other means;

      (12) Provide services described in subdivisions (1) to (11), inclusive, of this subsection, to residents under age sixty living in a long-term care facility, if (A) a majority of the residents of the facility where the younger person resides are over age sixty and (B) such services do not weaken or decrease service to older individuals covered under this chapter; and

      (13) Carry out such other activities and duties as may be required under federal law.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 4, 23; P.A. 99-176, S. 4, 24.)

      History: Sec. 17-135d transferred to Sec. 17a-408 in 1991; Sec. 17a-408 transferred to Sec. 17b-403 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 deleted existing provisions and substituted new Subsec. (a) re requirement that the State Ombudsman establish and operate ombudsman programs pursuant to provisions of the federal Older Americans Act, and substituted new Subsec. (b) re list of State Ombudsman's duties, effective July 1, 1999.

      See Sec. 17a-450 et seq. re protection of the elderly.

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      Sec. 17b-404. (Formerly Sec. 17a-409). Investigative authority. The State Ombudsman is authorized to investigate and make reports and recommendations concerning any act or the failure to act by any agency, official or public employee, with respect to their responsibilities and duties in connection with long-term care facilities, except the courts and their personnel, legislative bodies and their personnel and the chief executive of the state and the chief executive's personal staff and all elected officials.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 5, 23; P.A. 88-206, S. 4; P.A. 90-204, S. 2, 3; P.A. 99-176, S. 5, 24.)

      History: P.A. 88-206 provided that the state ombudsman shall also be accountable to the deputy commissioner on aging; P.A. 90-204 deleted the former Subsec. (a) which provided for the direct supervision of the state ombudsman by the commissioner or deputy commissioner; Sec. 17-135e transferred to Sec. 17a-409 in 1991; Sec. 17a-409 transferred to Sec. 17b-404 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 substituted "long-term care facilities" for "nursing home facilities" and "the chief executive's" for "his", effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-405. (Formerly Sec. 17a-410). Duties of regional ombudsmen. The regional ombudsmen shall, in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the director:

      (1) Provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents;

      (2) Ensure that residents in service areas have regular timely access to representatives of the program and timely responses to complaints and requests for assistance;

      (3) Identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents that relate to action, inaction or decisions that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare or rights of the residents or by, or on behalf of, applicants in relation to issues concerning applications to long-term care facilities;

      (4) Represent the interests of residents and applicants, in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities, before government agencies and seek administrative, legal and other remedies to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

      (5) (A) 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 and applicants in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities, and (B) facilitate the ability of the public to comment on the laws, regulations, policies and actions;

      (6) Support the development of resident and family councils; and

      (7) Carry out other activities that the State Ombudsman determines to be appropriate.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 6, 23; P.A. 83-587, S. 32, 96; P.A. 99-176, S. 6, 24.)

      History: P.A. 83-587 deleted reference to specific number of ombudsmen; Sec. 17-135f transferred to Sec. 17a-410 in 1991; Sec. 17a-410 transferred to Sec. 17b-405 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 deleted existing provisions and replaced with list of duties (1) to (7), effective July 1, 1999.

      See Sec. 17a-450 et seq. re protection of the elderly.

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      Sec. 17b-406. (Formerly Sec. 17a-411). Duties of residents' advocates. Posting by nursing home facilities. Funding. (a) Residents' advocates, under supervision of the regional ombudsmen, shall assist the regional ombudsmen in the performance of all duties and responsibilities of the regional ombudsmen as described in section 17b-405.

      (b) All long-term care facilities shall post or cause to be posted in a conspicuous place therein a list of the names of the appropriate residents' advocates and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the appropriate ombudsmen.

      (c) The Commissioner of Social Services shall have authority to seek funding for the purposes contained in this section from public and private sources, including but not limited to any federal or state funded programs.

      (P.A. 75-468, S. 11, 17; P.A. 76-331, S. 14, 16; P.A. 77-575, S. 14, 23; 77-604, S. 18, 84; 77-614, S. 323, 610; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 99-176, S. 7, 24.)

      History: P.A. 76-331 rewrote provisions re patients' advocates in Subsec. (a), required posting of availability of reports rather than reports themselves in Subsec. (b)(2), rephrased Subsec. (b)(3) and added Subdivs. (5) and (6) re financial affairs and well-being of patients and added Subsec. (e) re funding sources; P.A. 77-575 deleted former Subsecs. (a) and (b) re qualifications, appointment and duties of advocates, inserted new Subsec. (a) placing advocates under ombudsmen and listing duties, relettering remaining Subsecs. accordingly, required reports to commissioner of health and required names, addresses and telephone numbers of ombudsmen but names only of advocates; P.A. 77-604 rephrased Subsec. (b)(4); P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of health with commissioner of health services, effective January 1, 1979; Sec. 19-621 transferred to Sec. 17-135g in 1979; Sec. 17-135g transferred to Sec. 17a-411 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 substituted commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-381 replaced commissioner of health services with commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-411 transferred to Sec. 17b-406 in 1995; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 99-176 substituted "residents' advocates" for "patients' advocates" and "long-term care facilities" for "nursing home facilities" and amended Subsec. (a) to delete list of duties and to reference responsibilities of the regional ombudsman as described in section 17b-405, deleted Subsec. (b) and redesignated Subsec. (c) and (d) as (b) and (c), respectively, effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-407. (Formerly Sec. 17a-412). Report of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Penalty for failure to report. Confidentiality. Immunity and protection from retaliation. Notice to complainant. Registry. (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, 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, 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) 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.

      (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.

      (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.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 7, 23; P.A. 80-190, S. 5; 80-433; P.A. 84-546, S. 156, 173; P.A. 93-340, S. 5, 19; P.A. 99-102, S. 14; 99-176, S. 8, 24; P.A. 03-267, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 80-190 deleted reference to coroners in Subsec. (a); P.A. 80-433 expanded disclosure provisions in Subsec. (d); P.A. 84-546 made technical changes in Subsec. (a), substituting "licensed" for "registered" where appearing; Sec. 17-135h transferred to Sec. 17a-412 in 1991; P.A. 93-340 amended Subsec. (a) to add sexual assault counselors and battered women's counselors to list of persons required to report suspected patient abuse, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-412 transferred to Sec. 17b-407 in 1995; P.A. 99-102 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting obsolete reference to chapter 371 and osteopaths and made technical changes; P.A. 99-176 substituted "long-term care facility" for "nursing home facility", amended Subsec. (a) to delete reporting requirement for regional ombudsmen and patients' advocates, and required reports to be made to the commissioner pursuant to chapter 319dd rather than the Nursing Home Ombudsmen Office, amended Subsec. (c) to require reports to be made to the commissioner rather than the Nursing Home Ombudsmen Office, and to require the commissioner to inform the resident of the services of the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, amended Subsec. (d) to substitute the commissioner for the State Ombudsman re disclosure, amended Subsec. (f) to substitute the commissioner for Nursing Home Ombudsmen Office re investigations, and amended Subsec. (g) to substitute the commissioner for the State Ombudsman re maintenance of a registry of reports, effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 03-267 amended Subsec. (a) to require the report be made "not later than seventy-two hours after such suspicion or belief arose" rather than "within five calendar days" and to make the penalty for intentionally failing to report within the prescribed time period a class C misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offense, added new Subsec. (f) re remedies available to person who is discharged or in any manner discriminated or retaliated against for making a good faith report or complaint, redesignated existing Subsecs. (f) and (g) as Subsecs. (g) and (h), and made technical changes.

      See Sec. 17a-451 re required reporting of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of, or need for protective services for, the elderly.

      Cited. 242 C. 1.

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      Sec. 17b-408. (Formerly Sec. 17a-413). Review of report or complaint. Investigation. Report of findings. Referral of report, complaint or information for further action. Upon receipt of a report or complaint as provided in section 17b-407, 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 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 not later than ten working days thereafter. The commissioner shall complete an investigation and make a report of the findings 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 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.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 8, 23; 77-614, S. 323, 587, 610; P.A. 78-303, S. 85, 136; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-2, S. 130, 165; P.A. 99-176, S. 9, 24; P.A. 03-267, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 77-614 and P.A. 78-303 replaced commissioner of health with commissioner of health services, effective January 1, 1979; Sec. 17-135i transferred to Sec. 17a-413 in 1991; P.A. 93-381 replaced commissioner of health services with commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-413 transferred to Sec. 17b-408 in 1995; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-2 added provision requiring the regional ombudsman to refer a report or complaint together with a report of any investigation undertaken to the Department of Social Services or Public Health, as appropriate, if such investigation indicates a possible violation of Secs. 19a-533, 19a-535 or 19a-537, and eliminated obsolete references, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 99-176 substituted "commissioner" for "ombudsman" or "regional ombudsman" re various stages of investigations, findings and reporting, deleted "Department of Social Services" re who the completed report or complaint is referred to, and made provisions gender neutral, effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 03-267 added provision that if investigation indicates that a long-term facility resident has been abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, the commissioner shall refer such information to the Chief State's Attorney for further investigation if necessary and a determination whether criminal proceedings should be initiated, replaced "within" with "not later than" where appearing and made a technical change.

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      Sec. 17b-409. (Formerly Sec. 17a-414). Legal counsel for residents and applicants and to assist the ombudsman and representatives of the office in performance of their official duties. Regional ombudsmen and residents' advocates considered state employees for purposes of certain civil actions. (a) The state agency shall ensure that:

      (1) Adequate legal counsel is available and is able, without conflict of interest, to: (A) Provide advice and consultation needed to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents and applicants in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities; and (B) assist the ombudsman and representatives of the office in the performance of the official duties of the ombudsman and representatives; and

      (2) Administrative, legal and other appropriate remedies are pursued on behalf of residents and applicants in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities.

      (b) The regional ombudsmen and residents' advocates shall be considered state employees under section 4-141 for the purposes of any civil action for damages on account of any act or omission that is not wanton, wilful or malicious and that is within the scope of employment or duties under sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-531 and 19a-532.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 16, 23; P.A. 99-176, S. 10, 24; P.A. 03-278, S. 65.)

      History: Sec. 17-135j transferred to Sec. 17a-414 in 1991; Sec. 17a-414 transferred to Sec. 17b-409 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 deleted existing provisions and substituted Subsec. (a) re availability of legal counsel and pursuit of legal and other remedies, and added Subsec. (b) re status of regional ombudsmen and residents' advocates as state employees for purposes of certain civil actions, effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 03-278 made technical changes in Subsec. (a), effective July 9, 2003.

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      Sec. 17b-410. (Formerly Sec. 17a-415). Powers of ombudsman and representatives. Access to records, facilities and residents. Penalty for wilful interference with representatives of office. Confidentiality. Assistance from outside persons or entities. (a) The ombudsman and representatives of the office shall have:

      (1) Access to long-term care facilities and residents;

      (2) Appropriate access to review the medical and social records of a resident, if (A) the representative has the permission of the resident, or the legal representative of the resident, (B) the resident is unable to consent to the review and has no legal representative, or (C) access to the records is necessary to investigate a complaint and a legal guardian of the resident refuses to give permission, a representative of the office has reasonable cause to believe that the guardian is not acting in the best interests of the resident, and the representative obtains the approval of the ombudsman;

      (3) Access to the administrative records, policies and documents, to which the residents have, or the general public has access, of long-term care facilities; and

      (4) Access to and, on request, copies of all licensing and certification records maintained by the state with respect to long-term care facilities.

      (b) Any person or entity who wilfully interferes with representatives of the office in the performance of the official duties of the representatives, or any long-term care facility or other entity which retaliates or exacts reprisals with respect to any resident, employee or other person for filing a complaint with, providing information to, or otherwise cooperating with any representative of the office, or long-term care facility which refuses to permit the State Ombudsman or any regional ombudsman or any residents' advocate entry into such facility or refuses to cooperate with the State Ombudsman, or any regional ombudsman or any residents' advocate in the carrying out of their mandated duties and responsibilities enumerated under sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-531 and 19a-532 or refuses to permit residents or staff to communicate freely with the State Ombudsman or any regional ombudsman or any residents' advocate shall be subject to the penalty prescribed for a class B violation under section 19a-527.

      (c) In carrying out the duties enumerated in sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-531 and 19a-532, the State Ombudsman, the regional ombudsmen and the residents' advocates shall have access to all relevant public records, except that records which are confidential to a resident shall only be divulged with the written consent of the resident.

      (d) In the performance of the duties and responsibilities enumerated under sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-531 and 19a-532, the State Ombudsman, the regional ombudsmen and the residents' advocates may utilize any other state department, agency or commission, or any other public or private agencies, groups or individuals who are appropriate and who may be available.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 17, 23; P.A. 87-166, S. 4; P.A. 99-176, S. 11, 24.)

      History: P.A. 87-166 made violations under Subsec. (a) subject to penalty prescribed for class B, rather than class D violations under Sec. 19a-527; Sec. 17-135k transferred to Sec. 17a-415 in 1991; Sec. 17a-415 transferred to Sec. 17b-410 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 substituted "resident" for "patient", deleted reference to sections 19a-523, 19a-524, 19a-530 and 19a-554, inserted new Subsec. (a) re ombudsman and representatives' access to records, facilities and residents, redesignated former Subsec. (a) as Subsec. (b) and added provision re any person or entity who wilfully interferes with representatives of the office in the performance of official duties, or retaliations or reprisals by long-term care facilities, and redesignated former Subsecs. (b) and (c) as (c) and (d), respectively, effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-411. (Formerly Sec. 17a-416). Regulations. The Commissioner of Social Services, after consultation with the State Ombudsman, shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out the provisions of sections 17b-400 to 17b-412, inclusive, 19a-531 and 19a-532.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 19, 23; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 99-176, S. 12, 24.)

      History: Sec. 17-135l transferred to Sec. 17a-416 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-416 transferred to Sec. 17b-411 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 amended section to require the regulations to be adopted after consultation with the State Ombudsman, and to delete reference to sections 19a-523, 19a-524, 19a-530 and 19a-554, effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-412. (Formerly Sec. 17a-417). State ombudsman to: Prepare annual report; analyze, comment on and monitor law, regulations, policies and actions; provide information. The director shall require the State Ombudsman to:

      (1) Prepare an annual report:

      (A) Describing the activities carried out by the office in the year for which the report is prepared;

      (B) Containing and analyzing the data collected under section 17b-413;

      (C) Evaluating the problems experienced by and the complaints made by or on behalf of residents;

      (D) Containing recommendations for (i) improving the quality of the care and life of the residents, and (ii) protecting the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

      (E) (i) Analyzing the success of the program including success in providing services to residents of long-term care facilities; and (ii) identifying barriers that prevent the optimal operation of the program; and

      (F) Providing policy, regulatory and legislative recommendations to solve identified problems, to resolve the complaints, to improve the quality of the care and life of residents, to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents and to remove the barriers that prevent the optimal operation of the program.

      (2) Analyze, comment on and monitor the development and implementation of federal, state and local laws, regulations and other government policies and actions that pertain to long-term care facilities and services, and to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents in the state, and recommend any changes in such laws, regulations and policies as the office determines to be appropriate.

      (3) (A) Provide such information as the office determines to be necessary to public and private agencies, legislators and other persons, regarding (i) the problems and concerns of older individuals residing in long-term care facilities; and (ii) recommendations related to the problems and concerns; and (B) make available to the public and submit to the federal assistant secretary for aging, the Governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Public Health and other appropriate governmental entities, each report prepared under subdivision (1) of this section.

      (P.A. 77-575, S. 18, 23; P.A. 78-331, S. 31, 58; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 99-176, S. 13, 24.)

      History: P.A. 78-331 required that report state nature of administrative acts investigated in addition to the number of acts investigated; Sec. 17-135m transferred to Sec. 17a-417 in 1991; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department on aging, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17a-417 transferred to Sec. 17b-412 in 1995; P.A. 99-176 replaced existing provisions with requirement that director require ombudsman to prepare an annual report containing enumerated information, to analyze, comment on and monitor relevant developments and implementation of laws, regulations and other government policies and actions, and to provide information the office determines necessary and submit the annual report to enumerated entities, effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-413. State-wide uniform data system. The state agency shall establish a state-wide uniform system to: (1) Collect and analyze data relating to complaints and conditions in long-term care facilities and to residents for the purpose of identifying and resolving significant problems; and (2) submit the data, on a regular basis to: (A) The Department of Public Health; (B) other state and federal entities that the State Ombudsman determines to be appropriate; and (C) the National Ombudsman Resource Center, established in Section 202(a)(21) of the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended from time to time.

      (P.A. 99-176, S. 14, 24.)

      History: P.A. 99-176 effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-414. Duties of state agency re disclosure. The state agency shall:

      (1) Provide that the files and records maintained by the program may be disclosed only at the discretion of the State Ombudsman or the person designated by the ombudsman to disclose the files and records; and

      (2) Prohibit the disclosure of the identity of any complainant or resident with respect to whom the office maintains such files or records unless (A) the complainant or resident, or the legal representative of the complainant or resident, consents to the disclosure and the consent is given in writing; (B) (i) the complainant or resident gives consent orally; and (ii) the consent is documented contemporaneously in a writing made by a representative of the office in accordance with such requirements as the state agency shall establish; or (iii) the disclosure is required by court order.

      (P.A. 99-176, S. 15, 24.)

      History: P.A. 99-176 effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-415. Consideration of outside views re planning and operating the program. In planning and operating the program, the state agency, in consultation with the ombudsman, shall consider the views of area agencies on aging, older individuals and providers of long-term care.

      (P.A. 99-176, S. 16, 24.)

      History: P.A. 99-176 effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-416. Duties of state agency. The state agency shall:

      (1) Ensure that no individual, or member of the immediate family of an individual, involved in the designation of the State Ombudsman, whether by appointment or otherwise, or the designation of representatives is subject to a conflict of interest;

      (2) Ensure that no officer or employee of the office, representative, or member of the immediate family of the officer, employee or representative, is subject to a conflict of interest;

      (3) Ensure that the State Ombudsman: (A) Does not have a direct involvement in the licensing or certification of a long-term care facility or of a provider of a long-term care service; (B) does not have an ownership or investment interest, represented by equity, debt or other financial relationship, in a long-term care facility or a long-term care service; (C) is not employed by, or participating in the management of, a long-term care facility; and (D) does not receive, or have the right to receive, directly or indirectly, remuneration, in cash or in kind, under a compensation arrangement with an owner or operator of a long-term care facility; and

      (4) Establish and specify, in writing, mechanisms to identify and remove conflicts of interest described in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this section, and to identify and eliminate the relationships described in subdivision (3) of this section, including such mechanisms as: (A) The methods by which the state agency will examine individuals and immediate family members to identify the conflicts; and (B) the actions that the state agency will require the individuals and such family members to take to remove such conflicts.

      (P.A. 99-176, S. 17, 24.)

      History: P.A. 99-176 effective July 1, 1999.

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      Sec. 17b-417. State ombudsman duties re pilot program in managed residential communities. Report. (a) The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall develop and implement a pilot program, within available appropriations, to provide assistance and education to residents of managed residential communities, as defined in section 19a-693, who receive assisted living services from an assisted living services agency licensed by the Department of Public Health in accordance with chapter 368v. The assistance and education provided under such pilot program shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Assistance and education for residents who are temporarily admitted to a hospital or long-term care facility and return to a managed residential community; (2) assistance and education for residents with issues relating to a residency agreement for a managed residential community; and (3) assistance and education for residents to assure adequate and appropriate services are being provided including, but not limited to, adequate and appropriate services for individuals with cognitive impairments.

      (b) The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall develop and implement the pilot program in cooperation with managed residential communities and assisted living services agencies. Priority of assistance and education shall be given to residents of managed residential communities who participate in subsidized assisted living programs authorized under sections 8-206e, 17b-347e, 17b-365, 17b-366 and 19a-6c. To the extent allowed by available appropriations, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall also provide assistance and education under the pilot program to residents in managed residential communities who do not participate in said subsidized assisted living programs.

      (c) Not later than June 30, 2005, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall submit a report on the pilot program to the Commissioners of Social Services and Public Health, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, public health and appropriations, and to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to aging. The report shall be submitted in accordance with section 11-4a.

      (P.A. 04-158, S. 2; P.A. 07-252, S. 82; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2, S. 42.)

      History: P.A. 04-158 effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 07-252 amended Subsec. (a)(1) to make assistance and education available to residents who are temporarily admitted, rather than discharged, and amended Subsec. (a)(2) to substitute "residency agreement" for "admissions contract", effective July 12, 2007; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2 amended Subsec. (a) by replacing "19-13-D105 of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies" with "19a-693".

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      Secs. 17b-418 and 17b-419. Reserved for future use.

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