SEC. 43-7-65. Investigations by ombudsman; referral of complaints to appropriate agencies.
(1) Investigative activities of the ombudsman shall include, but not be limited to: information gathering, mediation, negotiation, informing concerned parties of alternative remedies, reporting of suspected violations to appropriate licensing or certifying agencies and reporting of suspected criminal violations to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
(2) The ombudsman need not investigate any complaint upon determining that:
(a) The complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, delayed or made in bad faith;
(b) The resources available, considering the established priorities, are insufficient for an adequate investigation;
(c) The matter complained of is not within the investigatory authority of the community long-term care facilities ombudsman program; or
(d) A real or apparent conflict of interest exists and no other ombudsman is available to investigate the complaint in an impartial manner.
(3) If a determination is made by a community long-term care facilities ombudsman not to investigate any complaint, then the complaint shall be referred to the Office of the State Long-term Care Facilities Ombudsman which shall make a final decision as to whether the matter warrants further investigation.
(4) The ombudsman shall have access to any long-term care facility for the purposes of an investigation under this section or for the purpose of carrying out other duties specified by Sections 43-7-51 through 43-7-79. The ombudsman may enter the facility at a time appropriate to the complaint. The visit may be announced in advance or such visit regarding the complaint under investigation may be unannounced. The clinical record of a resident may be examined by a representative of the State Ombudsman, with the permission of the resident or the resident's legal representative. Any copy of the clinical record examined under this provision shall not be removed from the nursing facility unless written authorization is obtained from the patient or the patient's legal representative.
(a) The State Long-term Care Facilities Ombudsman shall develop referral procedures for all long-term care facilities programs to refer any complaint to any appropriate state or local government agency. The agency shall act as quickly as possible on any complaint referred to it by a long-term care facilities ombudsman.
(b) If the complaint is referred to a government agency by a long-term care facilities ombudsman, that ombudsman shall be kept advised and shall be notified in writing in a timely manner by the government agency of the disposition of the referred complaint.
SOURCES: Laws, 1988, ch. 592, Sec. 8; 1990, ch. 492, Sec. 1, eff from and after October 1, 1990.