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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 29: Access to consenting residents; purpose of visit

Section 29. Any person employed by or associated with the ombudsman or any designated local ombudsman program, or representative of a community group offering legal services or free advocacy assistance, certified by the secretary of the department of elder affairs, under the provisions of clause (a) or (h) of section thirty-three, shall be permitted access at reasonable hours, including at least the hours of ten o'clock ante meridian to eight o'clock post meridian, inclusive, each day, to any consenting individual resident of any long term care facility; provided, however, that there is neither a commercial purpose nor effect to such access and if the purpose is to do any of the following:—

(1) visit, talk with and make personal, social and legal services available to all residents;

(2) inform residents of their rights and entitlements and their correspondent obligations, under federal and state laws, by means of educational materials and discussion in groups and with individual residents;

(3) assist residents in asserting their legal rights regarding claims for public assistance, medical assistance and social security benefits, or assist residents in action against agencies responsible for such programs, as well as in all other matters in which residents are aggrieved and may include advising litigation; or

(4) engage in other methods of assisting, advising and representing residents so as to extend to them full enjoyment of their rights.

Upon entering such facility, the person or representative shall notify facility personnel of his presence and, upon request, shall produce identification. Prior to entering the room of an individual resident, the person or representative shall identify himself and explain the purpose of the visit. The person or representative shall have the right to visit privately with the resident only after the resident has given permission for such visit; shall, at all times, respect the confidentiality of all such communications; and shall not subject the resident to photographing, filming, videotaping, or audiotaping without written permission of the resident or his legal representative. Such facility may not release or discuss information in a resident's medical records unless it has first obtained proper written consent as required by law from the resident or his legal representative.