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General Laws

Section 15. (a) Any physician, physician assistant, medical intern, dentist, nurse, family counselor, probation officer, social worker, policeman, firefighter, emergency medical technician, licensed psychologist, coroner, registered physical therapist, registered occupational therapist, osteopath, podiatrist, director of a council on aging, outreach worker employed by a council on aging, executive director of a licensed home health agency or executive director of a homemaker service agency or manager of an assisted living residence who has reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person is suffering from or has died as a result of abuse, shall immediately make a verbal report of such information or cause a report to be made to the department or its designated agency and shall within forty-eight hours make a written report to the department or its designated agency. Any person so required to make such reports who fails to do so shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

(b) The executive director of a home care corporation, licensed home health agency or homemaker service agency shall establish procedures within such agency to ensure that homemakers, home health aides, case managers or other staff of said agency who have reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person has been abused shall report such case to the executive director of the corporation or agency. The executive director shall immediately make a verbal report of such information or cause a report to be made to the department or its designated agency and shall within forty-eight hours make a written report to the department or its designated agency.

(c) In addition to a person required to report under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any other person may make such a report to the department or its designated agency, if any such person has reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person is suffering from or has died as a result of abuse.

(d) No person required to report pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) shall be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of such report; provided, however, that such person did not perpetrate, inflict or cause said abuse. No other person making such a report pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) or (c) shall be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of such report if it was made in good faith; provided, however, that such person did not perpetrate, inflict or cause said abuse. Any person making a report under subsection (a), (b) or (c) who, in the determination of the department or the district attorney may have perpetrated, inflicted or caused said abuse may be liable in a civil or criminal action by reason of such report. No employer or supervisor may discharge, demote, transfer, reduce pay, benefits or work privileges, prepare a negative work performance evaluation, or take any other action detrimental to an employee or supervisee who files a report in accordance with the provisions of this section by reason of such report.

(e) Reports made pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) shall contain the name, address and approximate age of the elderly person who is the subject of the report, information regarding the nature and extent of the abuse, the name of the person’s caretaker, if known, any medical treatment being received or immediately required, if known, any other information the reporter believes to be relevant to the investigation, and the name and address of the reporter and where said reporter may be contacted, if the reporter wishes to provide said information. The department shall publicize the provisions of this section and the process by which reports of abuse shall be made.

(f) Any privilege established by sections one hundred and thirty-five A and one hundred and thirty-five B of chapter one hundred and twelve or section twenty B of chapter two hundred and thirty-three relating to the exclusion of confidential communications shall not prohibit the filing of a report pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), (b) or (c).

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