CHAPTER 319h

PROTECTION OF THE ELDERLY

Table of Contents

Secs. 17a-405 to 17a-411. Transferred

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

Sec. 17a-413. (Formerly Sec. 17b-408). Review of report or complaint. Investigation. Report of findings. Referral of report, complaint or information for further action.

Secs. 17a-414 to 17a-422. Transferred

Sec. 17a-423. Long-term care policy, regulation, task force membership requirements. Duties of state agencies, Ombudsman, Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity.

Secs. 17a-424 to 17a-429. Reserved

Secs. 17a-430 to 17a-441. Transferred

Secs. 17a-442 to 17a-449. Reserved


PART I

OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN

Secs. 17a-405 to 17a-411. Transferred to Chapter 319l, Part V, Secs. 17a-870 to 17a-876, inclusive.

Sec. 17a-412. (Formerly Sec. 17b-407). Report of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Penalty for failure to report. Confidentiality. Immunity and protection from retaliation. Notification, training requirements. (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, 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, any person who is a sexual assault counselor or a domestic violence counselor as defined in section 52-146k, and any behavior analyst licensed under the provisions of chapter 382a, 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 17a-413, 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. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or section 17b-452, not later than twenty-four hours, or as soon as possible, after receiving a report pursuant to subsection (a) of this section concerning a resident of a long-term care facility, the commissioner shall notify such resident's guardian or conservator, if any, or legally liable relative or other responsible party. Such notification shall not be required when such guardian, conservator, legally liable relative or other responsible party is suspected of perpetrating the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment that is the subject of the report. The commissioner shall obtain the contact information for such guardian, conservator, legally liable relative or other responsible party from the long-term care facility.

(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, in general terms, of the findings of any investigation conducted by the Commissioner of Social Services not later than forty-five days after completion of the investigation, provided: (1) The person who made such report was legally mandated to make such report, (2) the information is not otherwise privileged or confidential under state or federal law, (3) the names of the witnesses or other persons interviewed are kept confidential, and (4) the names of the person or persons suspected to be responsible for the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment are not disclosed unless such person or persons have been arrested as a result of the investigation.

(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.

(i) Any person required to report suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall complete the educational training program provided by the Commissioner of Social Services pursuant to subsection (g) of section 17b-451, or an alternate program approved by the commissioner, not later than June 30, 2023, or not later than ninety days after beginning employment as a person required to report suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(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; P.A. 13-214, S. 9; P.A. 15-150, S. 1; P.A. 16-149, S. 4; P.A. 21-121, S. 30; P.A. 22-57, S. 13; 22-58, S. 72.)

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; P.A. 13-214 amended Subsec. (a) to substitute “domestic violence counselor” for “battered women's counselor”; Sec. 17b-407 transferred to Sec. 17a-412 in 2015; P.A. 15-150 amended Subsec. (d) by adding provision re notification of certain parties after receiving report pursuant to Subsec. (a); P.A. 16-149 amended Subsec. (g) to add provisions re notification to person filing report or complaint, in general terms, of findings of investigation not later than 45 days after completion of investigation in certain circumstances, effective July 1, 2016; P.A. 21-121 amended Subsec. (b) by adding behavior analysts licensed pursuant to Ch. 382a to list of persons required to report suspected patient abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment; P.A. 22-57 added Subsec. (i) re training requirement, effective May 23, 2022; P.A. 22-58 amended Subsec. (i) by replacing “December 31, 2022” with “June 30, 2023”, effective May 23, 2022.

Annotation to former section 17b-407:

Cited. 242 C. 1.

Sec. 17a-413. (Formerly Sec. 17b-408). 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 17a-412, the Commissioner of Social Services 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 of Social Services shall investigate such report or complaint not later than ten working days thereafter. The Commissioner of Social Services 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 of Social Services 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 of Social Services shall refer the report or complaint, together with a report of the investigation, to the Commissioner of Public Health for appropriate action. If no violation of the Public Health Code is indicated, the Commissioner of Social Services shall take whatever action said 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 of Social Services 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; P.A. 14-116, S. 5.)

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; P.A. 14-116 changed “commissioner” to “Commissioner of Social Services” and made a technical change; Sec. 17b-408 transferred to Sec. 17a-413 in 2015.

Secs. 17a-414 to 17a-422. Transferred to Chapter 319l, Part V, Secs. 17a-877 to 17a-885, inclusive.

Sec. 17a-423. Long-term care policy, regulation, task force membership requirements. Duties of state agencies, Ombudsman, Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity. For purposes of this section, (1) “residents council” means a council elected and run by residents of a long-term care facility that brings concerns to management of such facility about residents' living conditions and care, (2) “family council” means a council comprised of family members of residents of long-term care facilities that brings concerns to management of such facility about residents' living conditions and care, and (3) “long-term care facility” means a nursing home facility, as defined in section 19a-490, or a managed residential community, as defined in section 19a-693, with assisted living services regulated by the Department of Public Health.

(b) Not later than three days after a state agency submits a legislative proposal to the General Assembly or posts a notice of intent on the eRegulations System proposing a new or revised regulation concerning living and care conditions at long-term care facilities, such agency shall inform the State Ombudsman, appointed pursuant to section 17a-870, and the executive director of the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, established pursuant to section 2-127. The State Ombudsman and the executive director shall seek testimony from the Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Residents Councils and from family councils concerning such legislative proposal or proposed regulation. For regulations other than those proposed pursuant to subsections (g) and (h) of section 4-168, the State Ombudsman and the executive director shall immediately inform the members of the coalition and family councils that the agency will be required to hold a public hearing upon the request of fifteen or more persons not later than fourteen days after the date such notice of intent is posted on the eRegulations System. Such agency or legislative committee of cognizance shall accept testimony in a manner and format that provides for the greatest input from members of residents councils and family councils including, but not limited to, when permissible under the rules of such agency or committee and when practicable, remote testimony by such members via technology with audio or audio and video capabilities.

(c) Any state task force appointed by the General Assembly or by a state agency that is studying issues concerning living or care conditions at long-term care facilities shall include among members (1) representatives of residents councils, (2) representatives of family councils, and (3) the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to aging, or their designees. The chairpersons of such task force shall schedule meetings in a manner and format that provides for the greatest input from members of residents councils and family councils, including, but not limited to, when practicable, remote testimony by such members via technology with audio or video capabilities.

(P.A. 21-194, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 21-194 effective July 13, 2021.

Secs. 17a-424 to 17a-429. Reserved for future use.

PART II

PROTECTIVE SERVICES

Secs. 17a-430 to 17a-441. Transferred to Chapter 319dd, Secs. 17b-450 to 17b-461, inclusive.

Secs. 17a-442 to 17a-449. Reserved for future use.