Section 5: Investigation, evaluation and disclosure of abuse reports; case findings and recommendations; reports of deaths
Section 5. Upon receipt of a report of abuse of a disabled person, an investigator designated by the commission, the general counsel, or a department within the executive office of health and human services shall:--
(1) Investigate and evaluate the information reported in said reports. Said investigation and evaluation shall be made within twenty-four hours if the commission, counsel or department of mental health or department of public health determines that there is reasonable cause to believe the disabled person's health or safety is in immediate danger from further abuse and within ten calendar days for all other such reports. The investigation shall include a visit to the disabled person's residence and day program, if any, an interview with the disabled person allegedly abused, a determination of the nature, extent and cause or causes of the injuries, the identity of the person or persons responsible therefor and all other pertinent facts. Such determinations and evaluations shall be in writing and shall be immediately forwarded to the commission, to the general counsel and to the department of mental health and the department of public health.
If requested in writing by the commission or by any agency it designates, any mandated reporter required to make a report pursuant to section ten, shall disclose such documents relevant to any investigation being conducted pursuant to this chapter to the commission or to the agency. For the purposes of this section the word ''documents'' shall include, but not be limited to, any records, charts, reports, reviews, assessments, papers, correspondence and any other data or material.
Any privilege created by statute or common law relating to confidential communications or any statute prohibiting the disclosure of information shall neither preclude the disclosure of such documents to the commission or its designated agency nor prevent the admission of such documents in any civil or disciplinary proceeding arising out of the alleged abuse or neglect of the disabled person; provided, however, that absent the written consent of an individual to whom the requested documents relate, any information which is protected by the attorney-client privilege, the psychotherapist-client privilege, or the clergy-penitent privilege shall not be subject to such disclosure.
Any party required to provide documents in compliance with the provisions of this section shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action for providing such documents to the commission or any designated agency.
(2) Evaluate the environment of the facility named in the report, if any, and make a written determination of the risk of physical or emotional injury to any other residents or clients in the same facility.
(3) Forward to the commission, the general counsel, the department of mental health and the department of public health within a reasonable time after a case is initially reported pursuant to section four, a summary of the findings and recommendations on each case.
(4) If there is reasonable cause to believe that a disabled person has died as a result of abuse, immediately report said death to the commission, the general counsel, the attorney general, the district attorney for the county in which such death occurred, and to the medical examiner as required by section six of chapter thirty-eight.
(5) Not less than ten days prior to the issuance of a report containing a finding that there is reason to believe that misconduct has occurred, the commission shall provide written notice thereof to the person or persons alleged to have committed such misconduct and afford such person or persons the opportunity to respond in writing prior to the issuance of said report; provided, that, as determined by the commission, such notice of misconduct will not place the alleged victim at risk of further abuse.
Upon receipt of a report of abuse of a disabled person, or upon receipt of a written determination and evaluation prepared and forwarded to the commission pursuant to the provisions of this section, the commission, notwithstanding any provisions of chapter sixty-six A regarding personal data to the contrary, shall immediately report such conditions and forward said investigation and evaluation report, together with any other material or information which the commission has obtained or received and which is relevant to the alleged abuse, to the district attorney for the county in which the abuse is alleged to have occurred if there is reasonable cause to believe that any of the following conditions exist: (a) a disabled person has been sexually abused or raped, or assaulted or battered, as set forth in chapter two hundred and sixty-five; (b) a disabled person has suffered brain injury, loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function or organ, or substantial disfigurement; or (c) a disabled person has suffered serious bodily injury as a result of a pattern of repetitive actions or inactions by a caretaker.
No person providing notification or information to a district attorney or providing testimony in court pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of such action.