2015 Georgia Code
Title 31 - HEALTH
Chapter 8 - CARE AND PROTECTION OF INDIGENT AND ELDERLY PATIENTS
Article 5 - BILL OF RIGHTS FOR RESIDENTS OF LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
§ 31-8-124 - Grievances
(a) Any resident, guardian, or representative who believes his rights under this article have been violated by a facility shall be permitted to file a grievance under this Code section.
(b) To initiate the grievance, the resident, guardian, or representative may submit an oral or written complaint to the administrator or his designee. The administrator or his designee shall act to resolve the complaint or shall respond to the complaint within three business days, including in the response a description of the review and appeal rights set forth in this Code section.
(c) If the person filing the complaint is not satisfied by the action taken by the administrator or his designee, the complainant shall submit an oral or written complaint to the state or community ombudsman, pursuant to Article 3 of this chapter.
(d) If the ombudsman does not resolve the grievance to the complainant's satisfaction within ten days, the complainant may submit the grievance to an impartial referee, jointly chosen by the administrator or his designee and the complainant, who will conduct a hearing.
(e) The referee's hearing shall be held at the facility within 14 days after submission of the grievance to him, at a time convenient to the referee, the complainant, and the administrator. The complainant and the administrator may review relevant records and documents, present evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, make oral arguments, and be represented by any person of their choice. The referee may ask questions of any person, review relevant records and documents, call witnesses, and receive other evidence as appropriate. The referee shall keep a record of the proceedings, which record may be a sound recording. Within 72 hours after the grievance review, the referee shall render a decision and shall give to the complainant and to the administrator a written statement of the decision and reasons therefor, which statement shall also describe the appeal rights set forth in Code Section 31-8-125. Such decision shall be binding on the parties unless reversed upon appeal.
(f) The facility shall maintain a central file of documents pertaining to grievances, such file to be confidential, except that any resident, guardian, or representative may review any document pertaining to the resident and all documents shall be available to the department for inspection. This subsection shall not apply to any documents protected by the attorney-client privilege.
(g) If a resident or complainant is unable for any reason to understand any writing or communication pertinent to this Code section, such information shall be communicated to him in a manner that takes into account any communication impairment he may have.
(h) A resident, guardian, or representative who elects not to proceed under this Code section shall not be prohibited from proceeding under Code Section 31-8-125 or 31-8-126.
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