CHAPTER 486

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 302

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE TO ESTABLISH THE DIVISION OF LONG-TERM CARE CONSUMER PROTECTION.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. This Act shall be known as the Long-Term Care Consumer Protection Act.

Section 2. Amend Title 29, Chapter 79 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Subchapter V, to read as follows:

"Subchapter V. Long Term Care Consumer Protection. §7960. Intent

(a). It is the intent of the General Assembly that the primary purpose of the Long-Term Care Consumer Protection Act shall be:

(1) To ensure that individuals receiving long-term care services are safe and secure, receive quality care and are free from abuse, neglect, mistreatment and financial exploitation; and

(2) To promote the quality of care and quality of life for individuals receiving long-term care services.

(b) Further, it is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that in carrying out the State's quality assurance services, the responsible state agencies and law enforcement agencies will coordinate and communicate effectively and will respond to and investigate complaints in a timely and effective manner and undertake enforcement action, civil or criminal, as warranted.

§7961. Division of Long-Term Care Consumer Protection.

(a) There is hereby established the Division of Long-Term Care Consumer Protection

within the Department of Health and Social Services.

(b) Definitions.

(1) 'Adult Abuse Registry' is a central registry of information established by 11 Del C §8564 that relates to substantiated cases of adult abuse or neglect. Health care facility employers must receive an Adult Abuse Registry check before hiring employees who would have direct access to patients/residents.

(2) 'Director' shall mean the Director of the Division of Long-Term Care Consumer Protection of the Department of Health and Social Services;

(3) 'Division' shall mean the Division of Long-Term Care Consumer Protection of the Department of Health and Social Services;

(0) 'Long-Term Care Facility' means any facility, foster home, group living arrangement, adult care home or any other facility which is required to be licensed under Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code dealing with nursing homes, rest homes and related facilities.

(c) The purpose of the Division of Long-Term Care Consumer Protection shall be to promote the quality of life of individuals receiving long-term care services and to ensure that they are safe and secure, receive quality care and are free from abuse, neglect, mistreatment and financial exploitation.

(d) The Division shall have the following duties and functions:

(1) Establish and implement policies and procedures, promulgate regulations, enforce state statutes and regulations regarding the quality of care and quality of life of individuals receiving long-term care services and refer federal violations to the appropriate authorities with recommendations for enforcement;

(2) License facilities and services on an annual basis and conduct a variety of inspections including annual, complaint-driven, and surprise inspections to determine compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations;

(3) Receive and investigate complaints of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, financial exploitation and other concerns which may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare or rights of such individuals including alleged violations of federal and state statutes and regulations;

(4) Provide for systematic and timely notification, coordinated investigation, and referral of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and financial exploitation complaints to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and the Attorney General's office;

(5) To protect the privacy of the individual receiving long-term care services and his/her family. In furtherence of this, the Division shall establish guidelines concerning the disclosure of information concerning abuse and/or neglect involving the long-term care resident or recipient of community-based long-term care services. The Division may require persons to make written requests for access to records maintained by the Division. The Division may only release information to persons who have a legitimate public safety need for such information and such information shall be used only for the purpose for which the information is released.

(0) Maintain the Adult Abuse Registry as established by 11 Del.0 §8564.

(1) In conjunction with the Attorney General's Office, develop and conduct training for Department of Health and Social Services staff and providers of long term care services on applicable statutes and regulations, as well as provide other educational workshops, including accident prevention and health promotion training, and other technical assistance as needed;

(2) Promote and advocate for consumers' rights;

(3) Meet regularly with individuals receiving long term care services and their families;

(4) Publish an mutual report to the Governor, Secretary and General Assembly on the Division's activities, including comprehensive data analysis and monitoring of trends in the quality of care and quality of life of individuals receiving long term care services in Delaware;

(5) Conduct quality assurance demonstration projects;

(6) Provide updated consumer information materials on an ongoing and as needed basis.

(13) Establish, maintain and publicize a 24-hour state wide toll free telephone hotline operating at all times and capable of receiving reports of abuse and neglect complaints."

Section 3. Amend §7903(2), Title 29, Delaware Code by adding thereto the following:

"h. A Director of the Division of Long Term Care Consumer Protection, who shall be someone qualified by training, education, experience or ability to perform the duties of Director;."

Approved July 23, 1998