2015 Tennessee Code
Title 71 - Welfare
Chapter 6 - Programs and Services for Abused Persons
Part 1 - Adult Protection
§ 71-6-103 - Rules and regulations -- Reports of abuse or neglect -- Investigation -- Providing protective services -- Consent of adult -- Duties of other agencies.
(a) The commissioner has the discretion to adopt such rules, regulations, procedures, guidelines, or any other expressions of policy necessary to effect the purpose of this part insofar as such action is reasonably calculated to serve the public interest.
(b) (1) Any person, including, but not limited to, a physician, nurse, social worker, department personnel, coroner, medical examiner, alternate care facility employee, or caretaker, having reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with this part. Death of the adult does not relieve one of the responsibility for reporting the circumstances surrounding the death. However, unless the report indicates that there are other adults in the same or similar situation and that an investigation and provision of protective services are necessary to prevent their possible abuse, neglect or exploitation, it shall not be necessary for the department to make an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death; provided, that the appropriate law-enforcement agency is notified.
(2) If a hospital, clinic, school, or any other organization or agency responsible for the care of adults has a specific procedure, approved by the director of adult protective services for the department, or the director's designee, for the protection of adults who are victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, any member of its staff whose duty to report under this part arises from the performance of the staff member's services as a member of the staff of the organization may, at the staff member's option, fulfill that duty by reporting instead to the person in charge of the organization or the organization head's designee who shall make the report in accordance with this chapter.
(c) An oral or written report shall be made immediately to the department upon knowledge of the occurrence of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult. Any person making such a report shall provide the following information, if known: the name and address of the adult, or of any other person responsible for the adult's care; the age of the adult; the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including any evidence of previous abuse, neglect, or exploitation; the identity of the perpetrator, if known; the identity of the complainant, if possible; and any other information that the person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Each report of known or suspected abuse of an adult involving a sexual offense that is a violation of §§ 39-13-501 -- 39-13-506 that occurs in a facility licensed by the department of mental health and substance abuse services as defined in § 33-2-402, or any hospital shall also be made to the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where such offense occurred.
(d) Upon receipt of the report, the department shall take the following action as soon as practical:
(1) Notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in all cases in which the report involves abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the adult by another person or persons;
(2) Notify the appropriate licensing authority if the report concerns an adult who is a resident of, or at the time of any alleged harm is receiving services from, a facility that is required by law to be licensed or the person alleged to have caused or permitted the harm is licensed under title 63. The commissioner of health, upon becoming aware through personal knowledge, receipt of a report or otherwise, of confirmed exploitation, abuse, or neglect of a nursing home resident, shall report such instances to the Tennessee bureau of investigation for a determination by the bureau as to whether the circumstances reported constitute abuse of the medicaid program or other criminal violation;
(3) Initiate an investigation of the complaint;
(4) Make a written report of the initial findings together with a recommendation for further action, if indicated; and
(5) After completing the evaluation, the department shall notify the person making the report of its determination.
(e) Any representative of the department may enter any health facility or health service licensed by the state at any reasonable time to carry out its responsibilities under this part.
(f) Any representative of the department may, with consent of the adult or caretaker, enter any private premises where any adult alleged to be abused, neglected, or exploited is found in order to investigate the need for protective services for the purpose of carrying out this part. If the adult or caretaker does not consent to the investigation, a search warrant may issue upon a showing of probable cause that an adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, to enable a representative of the department to proceed with the investigation.
(g) If a determination has been made that protective services are necessary when indicated by the investigation, the department shall provide such services within budgetary limitations, except in such cases where an adult chooses to refuse such services.
(h) In the event the adult elects to accept the protective services to be provided by the department, the caretaker shall not interfere with the department when rendering such services.
(i) If the adult does not consent to the receipt of protective services, or if the adult withdraws consent, the services shall be terminated, unless the department determines that the adult lacks capacity to consent, in which case it may seek court authorization to provide protective services.
(j) (1) Any representative of the department actively involved in the conduct of an abuse, neglect, or exploitation investigation under this part shall be allowed access to the mental and physical health records of the adult that are in the possession of any individual, hospital, or other facility if necessary to complete the investigation mandated by this chapter.
(2) To complete the investigation required by this part, any authorized representative of the department actively involved in the conduct of an investigation pursuant to this part shall be allowed access to any law enforcement records or personnel records, not otherwise specifically protected by statute, of any person who is:
(A) A caretaker of the adult; or
(B) The alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation of the adult, who is the subject of the investigation.
(3) (A) If refused any information pursuant to subdivisions (j)(1) and (2), any information from any records necessary for conducting investigations pursuant to this part may be obtained upon motion by the department to the circuit, chancery or general sessions court of the county where such records are located, or in the court in which any proceeding concerning the adult may have been initiated or in the court in the county in which the investigation is being conducted.
(B) The order on the department's motion may be entered ex parte upon a showing by the department of an immediate need for such information.
(C) The court may enter such orders as may be necessary to ensure that the information sought is maintained pending any hearing on the motion, and to protect the information obtained from further disclosure if the information is made available to the department pursuant to the court's order.
(4) (A) The department may be allowed access to financial records that are contained in any financial institution, as defined by § 45-10-102(3):
(a) The person who is the subject of the investigation;
(b) Any caretaker of such person; and
(c) Any alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect or exploitation of such person;
(ii) By the issuance of an administrative subpoena in the name of the commissioner or an authorized representative of the commissioner that is:
(a) Directed to the financial institution; and
(b) Complies with §§ 45-10-106 and 45-10-107; or
(iii) By application, as otherwise required pursuant to § 45-10-117, to the circuit or chancery court in the county in which the financial institution is located, or in the court in which any proceeding concerning the adult may have been initiated or in which the investigation is being conducted, for the issuance of a judicial subpoena that complies with the requirements of § 45-10-107; provided, that the department shall not be required to post a bond pursuant to § 45-10-107(a)(4).
(B) Nothing in this subdivision (j)(4) shall be construed to supersede the provision of financial records pursuant to the permissible acts allowed pursuant to § 45-10-103.
(5) Any records received by the department, the confidentiality of which is protected by any other statute or regulation, shall be maintained as confidential pursuant to such statutes or regulations, except for such use as may be necessary in the conduct of any proceedings pursuant to its authority pursuant to this part or title 33 or 34.
(k) (1) If, as a result of its investigation, the department determines that an adult who is a resident or patient of a facility owned or operated by an administrative department of the state is in need of protective services, and the facility is unable or unwilling to take action to protect the resident or patient, the department shall make a report of its investigation, along with any recommendations for needed services to the commissioner of the department having responsibility for the facility. It shall then be the responsibility of the commissioner for that department and not the department of human services to take such steps as may be necessary to protect the adult from abuse, neglect, or exploitation and, in such cases, the affected administrative department of the state shall have standing to petition the court.
(2) (A) Notwithstanding subdivision (k)(1) or any other provision of this part to the contrary, the department of human services shall not be required to investigate and the department of mental health and substance abuse services or the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities, or their successor agencies, shall not be required to report to the department of human services any allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation involving any person that arise from conduct occurring in any institutions operated directly by either the department of mental health and substance abuse services or the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
(B) Allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of individuals occurring in the circumstances described in subdivision (k)(2)(A) shall be investigated, respectively, by investigators of the department of mental health and substance abuse services and the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities, or their successor agencies, who have been assigned to investigate the allegations.
(l) In the event the department, or a law enforcement agency, in the course of its investigation, is unable to determine to its satisfaction that sufficient information is available to determine whether an adult is in imminent danger or lacks the capacity to consent to protective services, an order may be issued, upon a showing of probable cause that an adult lacks capacity to consent to protective services and is being abused, neglected, or exploited, to require the adult to be examined by a physician, a psychologist in consultation with a physician or a psychiatrist in order that such determination can be made. An order for examination may be issued ex parte upon affidavit or sworn testimony if the court finds that there is cause to believe that the adult may be in imminent danger and that delay for a hearing would be likely to substantially increase the adult's likelihood of irreparable physical or mental harm, or both, and/or the cessation of life.
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