ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT (Chapters 1 through 182)
Reports of abuse of patients
Section 72G. A physician, medical intern or resident, physician assistant, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, orderly, home health aide, hospice worker, homemaker, administrator, responsible person, medical examiner, dentist, optometrist, optician, chiropractor, podiatrist, coroner, police officer, speech pathologist, audiologist, social worker, pharmacist, physical or occupational therapist or health officer, paid for caring for a patient or resident, who has reasonable cause to believe that a patient or resident has been abused, mistreated or neglected or had property misappropriated, shall immediately report such abuse, mistreatment or neglect or misappropriation of patient or resident property to the department by electronically transmitted report, facsimile or oral communication and, if by oral communication, by making a written report within 48 hours after such oral communication. Any such person required to make such oral and written reports who fails to do so shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.
In addition to those persons required to report pursuant to this section, any other person may make such a report if such person has reasonable cause to believe that a patient or resident has been abused, mistreated or neglected or had property misappropriated. Any person making an oral or written report pursuant to this section shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action by reason of such report if such report was made in good faith. In a civil action commenced against a person making such report, if the court finds in favor of the defendant, the court shall order the plaintiff to pay the defendant reasonable costs and expenses including, but not limited to, attorneys’ fees, lost wages and court costs.
No facility, home health agency or hospice program shall discharge, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any person who, in good faith, makes such a report or testifies or is about to testify in any proceeding about the abuse, mistreatment or neglect of a patient or resident or the misappropriation of a patient’s or resident’s property. A facility, home health agency or hospice program which discharges, discriminates or retaliates against such a person shall be liable to the person so discharged, discriminated or retaliated against, for treble damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
A written report shall contain the following information where applicable: (i) the name and gender of the patient or resident; (ii) the home address of the patient; (iii) the name and address of the facility in which the resident resides; (iv) the name and address of the home health agency or hospice program; (v) the age of the patient or resident, if known to the reporter; (vi) the name and address of the reporter and where such reporter may be contacted; (vii) any information relative to the nature and extent of the abuse, mistreatment or neglect or the misappropriation of patient or resident property; (viii) if known to the reporter, any information relative to prior abuse, mistreatment or neglect of such patient or resident or misappropriation of such patient’s or resident’s property; (ix) the circumstances under which the reporter became aware of the abuse, mistreatment or neglect or misappropriation of property; (x) if known to the reporter, whatever action, if any, was taken to treat or otherwise assist the patient or resident; (xi) any other information which the reporter believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of such abuse, mistreatment or neglect or misappropriation of property and the person or persons responsible therefor; and (xii) such other information as may be required by the department.
Any privilege established by section 20 or section 20B of chapter 233, by court decision or by professional code relating to the exclusion of confidential communications and the competency of witnesses may not be invoked in any civil action arising out of a report made pursuant to this section.
For the purposes of this section, the term “written report” shall include, without limitation, an electronically transmitted report and facsimile.