2013 Mississippi Code
Title 43 - PUBLIC WELFARE
Chapter 47 - MISSISSIPPI VULNERABLE PERSONS ACT
§ 43-47-37 - Reporting of abuse and exploitation of patients and residents of care facilities


MS Code § 43-47-37 (2013) What's This?

(1) Any person who, within the scope of his employment at a care facility as defined in Section 43-47-5(b), or in his professional or personal capacity, has knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe that any patient or resident of a care facility has been the victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation shall report immediately the abuse, neglect or exploitation.

(2) The reporting of conduct as required by subsection (1) of this section shall be made:

(a) By any employee of any home health agency, orally or telephonically, within twenty-four (24) hours of discovery, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, to the department and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General's office.

(b) By a home health agency, in writing within seventy-two (72) hours of discovery to the department and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Upon initial review, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit shall make a determination whether or not the person suspected of committing the reported abuse, neglect or exploitation was an employee of the home health agency. If so, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit shall determine whether there is substantial potential for criminal prosecution, and upon a positive determination, shall investigate and prosecute the complaint or refer it to an appropriate criminal investigative or prosecutive authority. If the alleged perpetrator is not an employee of the home health agency, the department shall investigate and process the complaint or refer it to an appropriate investigative or prosecutive authority.

(c) By all other care facilities, orally or telephonically, within twenty-four (24) hours of discovery, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, to the State Department of Health and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General's office.

(d) By all other care facilities, in writing, within seventy-two (72) hours of the discovery, to the State Department of Health and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. If, upon initial review by the State Department of Health and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, a determination is made that there is substantial potential for criminal prosecution, the unit will investigate and prosecute the complaint or refer it to an appropriate criminal investigative or prosecutive authority.

(3) The contents of the reports required by subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall contain the following information unless the information is unobtainable by the person reporting:

(a) The name, address, telephone number, occupation and employer's address and telephone number of the person reporting;

(b) The name and address of the patient or resident who is believed to be the victim of abuse or exploitation;

(c) The details, observations and beliefs concerning the incident;

(d) Any statements relating to incident made by the patient or resident;

(e) The date, time and place of the incident;

(f) The name of any individual(s) believed to have knowledge of the incident;

(g) The name of the individual(s) believed to be responsible for the incident and their connection to the patient or resident; and

(h) Such other information that may be required by the State Department of Health and/or the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, as requested.

(4) Any other individual who has knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe that any patient or resident of a care facility has been the victim of abuse, exploitation or any other criminal offense may make a report to the State Department of Health and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

(5) (a) Any individual who, in good faith, makes a report as provided in this section or who testifies in an official proceeding regarding matters arising out of this section shall be immune from all criminal and civil liability. The immunity granted under this subsection shall not apply to any suspect or perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation of any vulnerable person, or of any other criminal act under any statute of this state or municipal ordinance defining any act as a crime or misdemeanor.

(b) No person shall terminate from employment, demote, reject for promotion or otherwise sanction, punish or retaliate against any individual who, in good faith, makes a report as provided in this section or who testifies in any official proceeding regarding matters arising out of this section.

(6) Any care facility that complies in good faith with the requirements of this section to report the abuse or exploitation of a patient or resident in the care facility shall not be sanctioned by the State Department of Health for the occurrence of such abuse or exploitation if the care facility demonstrates that it adequately trained its employees and that the abuse or exploitation was caused by factors beyond the control of the care facility.

(7) Every person who knowingly fails to make the report as required by subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section or attempts to induce another, by threat or otherwise, to fail to make a report as required by subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

(8) Copies of Sections 43-47-7 and 43-47-37 shall be posted prominently in every health care facility.

(9) If, after initial inquiry or investigation, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that an employee of a home health agency has abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable person, the unit shall notify the Mississippi State Department of Health of the alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation.

(10) Upon a judicial determination of evidence that an employee of a care facility has abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable person, the appropriate investigative agency shall immediately provide the following information to the central registry: name, address, birth date, social security number of perpetrator; type of abuse, neglect and or exploitation; name, address, birth date, social security number of victim; and date of incident and report.

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