2011 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 27: Public Assistance
Article 7: Adult Protective Services, 27-7-1 through 27-7-31
Section 27-7-19: Department; duties; penalty.
27-7-19. Department; duties; penalty.
A. The department shall:
(1) develop, maintain and update as needed a process to receive a report or referral of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult;
(2) assess an adult and the adult's situation to determine what immediate protective services or protective placement may be required;
(3) conduct an investigation to determine if the report or referral of abuse, neglect or exploitation is substantiated;
(4) document evidence, observations and other information obtained in the course of an investigation;
(5) develop a plan to provide an adult with or refer an adult for protective services, protective placement or other intervention services, unless the department determines that the adult is knowingly and voluntarily refusing services; and
(6) ensure that the protective services or protective placement provided by or through the department is short term and has a termination date; provided that appropriate arrangements have been made for follow-up care if needed, including any long-term services for which the adult may qualify.
B. Upon request, the department, in accordance with federal or state laws that protect an adult's right to privacy and confidentiality, shall have immediate access to and may reproduce any record, including medical, personal, psychological and financial records, of the adult that the department determines is necessary to pursue an investigation mandated by this section or by the Resident Abuse and Neglect Act [30-47-1 NMSA 1978] if:
(1) the adult has the ability to consent and has given written consent;
(2) the adult is unable to consent in writing, and gives oral consent in the presence of a third party as a witness;
(3) the adult has a guardian, conservator or surrogate with the authority to approve review of the records and the department obtains the permission of the guardian, conservator or surrogate for review of the record;
(4) the adult is unable to give consent and:
(a) has no guardian, conservator or surrogate;
(b) the department is unaware of and has no reasonable grounds for believing that there is a guardian, conservator or surrogate; or
(c) the department is unable to contact the guardian, conservator or surrogate within three working days of the initiation of the investigation; or
(5) the department obtains from the district court an order granting access upon a showing that:
(a) consent is being withheld due to coercion, extortion or justifiable fear of future abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of the adult; or
(b) there is reasonable cause to believe that the adult has been or is being abused, neglected or exploited and that after notice by the department of the alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation, the guardian, conservator or surrogate has refused to give consent.
C. Upon request by the department, the provider or a facility in which an adult is or has been residing shall provide to the department the name, address and telephone number of the guardian, conservator, surrogate, attorney-in-fact, legal representative or next of kin of the adult.
D. The department shall have immediate access to an adult, whether in a facility or provider setting, who is alleged to be abused, neglected or exploited to determine the accuracy of the report and the necessity of protective services or protective placement, to evaluate the adult's needs and develop a service plan to meet those needs and to provide for the services or placement by or through the department. If the department is denied access to the adult alleged to be abused, neglected or exploited, the department may gain access upon petition to the court for an order requiring appropriate access if the department can demonstrate that a facility, provider or individual has interfered with the department's attempts to access the adult under investigation.
E. Anyone willfully interfering with an investigation of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation, pursuant to this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Interference under this section shall not include efforts by a facility, provider or individual to establish whether there is reasonable cause to believe that there is adult abuse, neglect or exploitation, provided that the department is notified as soon as reasonable cause is established, whether or not the internal investigation has been concluded.
F. The department may assess a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation against a facility, provider or individual who violates the provisions of Subsection B, C or D of this section. The department may assess and collect the penalty, after notice and an opportunity for hearing before a hearing officer designated by the department to hear the matter, upon a determination that a facility, provider or individual willfully interfered with the department or discriminated, disciplined or retaliated against a person who communicated or disclosed information to the department in good faith pursuant to this section. The hearing officer has the power to administer oaths on request of any party and issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum. Additionally, if the violation is against a person covered by the Personnel Act [10-9-1 NMSA 1978], the department shall refer the matter to the agency employing the person for disciplinary action. Any party may appeal a final decision by the department to the court pursuant to the provisions of Section 39-3-1.1 NMSA 1978.
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