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2017 Georgia Code
Title 31 - Health
Chapter 2 - Department of Community Health
§ 31-2-8. Actions against certain applicants or licensees
Universal Citation: GA Code § 31-2-8 (2017)
- (a) This Code section shall be applicable to any agency, center, facility, institution, community living arrangement, drug abuse treatment and education program, or entity subject to regulation by the department under Chapters 7, 13, 22, 23, and 44 of this title; Chapter 5 of Title 26; paragraph (8) of subsection (d) of Code Section 31-2-4; and Article 7 of Chapter 6 of Title 49. For purposes of this Code section, the term "license" shall be used to refer to any license, permit, registration, or commission issued by the department pursuant to the provisions of the law cited in this subsection.
- (b) The department shall have the authority to take any of the actions enumerated in subsection (c) of this Code section upon a finding that the applicant or licensee has:
- (1) Knowingly made any false statement of material information in connection with the application for a license, or in statements made or on documents submitted to the department as part of an inspection, survey, or investigation, or in the alteration or falsification of records maintained by the agency, facility, institution, or entity;
- (2) Failed or refused to provide the department with access to the premises subject to regulation or information pertinent to the initial or continued licensing of the agency, facility, institution, or entity;
- (3) Failed to comply with the licensing requirements of this state; or
- (4) Failed to comply with any provision of this Code section.
- (c) When the department finds that any applicant or licensee has violated any provision of subsection (b) of this Code section or laws, rules, regulations, or formal orders related to the initial or continued licensing of the agency, facility, institution, or entity, the department, subject to notice and opportunity for hearing, may take any of the following actions:
- (1) Refuse to grant a license; provided, however, that the department may refuse to grant a license without holding a hearing prior to taking such action;
- (2) Administer a public reprimand;
- (3) Suspend any license for a definite period or for an indefinite period in connection with any condition which may be attached to the restoration of said license;
- (4) Prohibit any applicant or licensee from allowing a person who previously was involved in the management or control, as defined by rule, of any agency, facility, institution, or entity which has had its license or application revoked or denied within the past 12 months to be involved in the management or control of such agency, facility, institution, or entity;
- (5) Revoke any license;
- (6) Impose a fine, not to exceed a total of $25,000.00, of up to $1,000.00 per day for each violation of a law, rule, regulation, or formal order related to the initial or ongoing licensing of any agency, facility, institution, or entity, except that no fine may be imposed against any nursing facility, nursing home, or intermediate care facility which is subject to intermediate sanctions under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section 1396r(h)(2)(A), as amended, whether or not those sanctions are actually imposed; or
- (7) Limit or restrict any license as the department deems necessary for the protection of the public, including, but not limited to, restricting some or all services of or admissions into an agency, facility, institution, or entity for a time certain.
In taking any of the actions enumerated in this subsection, the department shall consider the seriousness of the violation, including the circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited acts, and the hazard or potential hazard created to the health or safety of the public.
- (d) (1) With respect to any facility classified as a nursing facility, nursing home, or intermediate care home, the department may not take an action to fine or restrict the license of any such facility based on the same act, occurrence, or omission for which:
- (A) The facility has received an intermediate sanction under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section 1396r(h)(2)(A), as amended, or 42 U.S.C. Section 1395i-3(h)(2)(B); or
- (B) Such facility has been served formal notice of intent to take such a sanction which the department based on administrative review or any other appropriate body based on administrative or judicial review determines not to impose; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the department from utilizing the provisions authorized under subsection (f) of this Code section.
- (2) When any civil monetary penalty is recommended and imposed against such facility, and the department does not resurvey the facility within 48 hours after the date by which all items on a plan of correction submitted by the facility are to be completed, the accrual of any resulting civil monetary penalties shall be suspended until the facility is resurveyed by the department.
- (3) If the department resurveys such facility beyond 48 hours after the final date for completion of all items on the plan of correction submitted by the facility, and the facility is not in substantial compliance with the applicable standards, any civil monetary penalties imposed shall relate back to the date on which such penalties were suspended.
- (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, nothing contained in said paragraphs shall be construed as requiring the state survey agency to act in violation of applicable federal law, regulations, and guidelines.
- (e) The department may deny a license or otherwise restrict a license for any applicant who has had a license denied, revoked, or suspended within one year of the date of an application or who has transferred ownership or governing authority of an agency, facility, institution, or entity subject to regulation by the department within one year of the date of a new application when such transfer was made in order to avert denial, revocation, or suspension of a license.
- (f) With regard to any contested case instituted by the department pursuant to this Code section or other provisions of law which may now or hereafter authorize remedial or disciplinary grounds and action, the department may, in its discretion, dispose of the action so instituted by settlement. In such cases, all parties, successors, and assigns to any settlement agreement shall be bound by the terms specified therein, and violation thereof by any applicant or licensee shall constitute grounds for any action enumerated in subsection (c) of this Code section.
- (g) The department shall have the authority to make public or private investigations or examinations inside or outside of this state to determine whether the provisions of this Code section or any other law, rule, regulation, or formal order relating to the licensing of any agency, facility, institution, or entity has been violated. Such investigations may be initiated at any time, in the discretion of the department, and may continue during the pendency of any action initiated by the department pursuant to subsection (c) of this Code section.
- (h) For the purpose of conducting any investigation, inspection, or survey, the department shall have the authority to require the production of any books, records, papers, or other information related to the initial or continued licensing of any agency, facility, institution, or entity.
- (i) Pursuant to the investigation, inspection, and enforcement powers given to the department by this Code section and other applicable laws, the department may assess against an agency, facility, institution, or entity reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the department pursuant to any administrative or legal action required by the failure of the agency, facility, institution, or entity to fully comply with the provisions of any law, rule, regulation, or formal order related to the initial or continued licensing. Assessments shall not include attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, shall not exceed other actual expenses, and shall only be assessed if such investigations, inspection, or enforcement actions result in adverse findings, as finally determined by the department, pursuant to administrative or legal action.
- (j) For any action taken or any proceeding held under this Code section or under color of law, except for gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct, the department, when acting in its official capacity, shall be immune from liability and suit to the same extent that any judge of any court of general jurisdiction in this state would be immune.
- (k) In an administrative or legal proceeding under this Code section, a person or entity claiming an exemption or an exception granted by law, rule, regulation, or formal order has the burden of proving this exemption or exception.
- (l) This Code section and all actions resulting from its provisions shall be administered in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act."
- (m) The provisions of this Code section shall be supplemental to and shall not operate to prohibit the department from acting pursuant to those provisions of law which may now or hereafter authorize remedial or disciplinary grounds and action for the department. In cases where those other provisions of law so authorize other disciplinary grounds and actions, but this Code section limits such grounds or actions, those other provisions shall apply.
- (n) The department is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Code section.
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