Chapter 24 protection of vulnerable adults




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TITLE 47 WELFARE, SOCIAL SERVICES AND INSTITUTIONS

CHAPTER 24 PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS


SECTION 47.24.010 Reports of harm.

(a) Except as provided in (e) and (f) of this section, the following persons who, in the performance of their professional duties, have reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult suffers from abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect shall, not later than 24 hours after first having cause for the belief, report the belief to the department's central information and referral service for vulnerable adults:

(1) a physician or other licensed health care provider;

(2) a mental health professional as defined in AS 47.30.915(11) and including a marital and family therapist licensed under AS 08.63;

(3) a pharmacist;

(4) an administrator of a nursing home, residential care or health care facility;

(5) a guardian or conservator;

(6) a police officer;

(7) a village public safety officer;

(8) a village health aide;

(9) a social worker;

(10) a member of the clergy;

(11) a staff employee of a project funded by the Department of Administration for the provision of services to older Alaskans, the Department of Health and Social Services, or the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault;

(12) an employee of a personal care or home health aide program;

(13) an emergency medical technician or a mobile intensive care paramedic;

(14) a caregiver of the vulnerable adult.

(b) A report made under this section may include the name and address of the reporting person and must include

(1) the name and address of the vulnerable adult;

(2) information relating to the nature and extent of the abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect;

(3) other information that the reporting person believes might be helpful in an investigation of the case or in providing protection for the vulnerable adult.

(c) The department or its designees shall report to the Department of Law any person required by (a) of this section to report who fails to comply with this section. A person listed in (a) of this section who, because of the circumstances, should have had reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult suffers from abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect but who knowingly fails to comply with this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. If a person convicted under this section is a member of a profession or occupation that is licensed, certified, or regulated by the state, the court shall notify the appropriate licensing, certifying, or regulating entity of the conviction.

(d) This section does not prohibit a person listed in (a) of this section, or any other person, from reporting cases of abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect of a vulnerable adult that have come to the person's attention.

(e) If a person making a report under this section believes that immediate action is necessary to protect the vulnerable adult from imminent risk of serious physical harm due to abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect and the reporting person

cannot immediately contact the department's central information and referral service for vulnerable adults, the reporting person may make the report to a police officer or a village public safety officer. The police officer or village public safety officer shall take immediate action to protect the vulnerable adult and shall, at the earliest opportunity, notify the department. A person may not bring an action for damages against a police officer, village public safety officer, the state, or a political subdivision of the state based on a decision under this subsection to take or not to take immediate action to protect a vulnerable adult. If a decision is made under this subsection to take immediate action to protect a vulnerable adult, a person may not bring an action for damages based on the protective actions taken unless the protective actions were performed with gross negligence or intentional misconduct; damages awarded in the action may include only

direct economic compensatory damages for personal injury.

(f) A person listed in (a) of this section who reports to the long term care ombudsman under AS 44.21.232, or to the Department of Health and Social Services, that a vulnerable adult has been exploited, abused, or neglected in an out-of-home care facility is considered to have met the duty to report under (a) of this section.

(g) [Repealed, Sec. 14 ch 129 SLA 1994].

(h) [Repealed, Sec. 14 ch 129 SLA 1994].

HISTORY

(Sec. 2 ch 36 SLA 1983; am Sec. 4 ch 108 SLA 1988; am Sec. 10 ch 129



SLA 1992; am Sec. 24 ch 36 SLA 1993; am Sec. 2 ch 103 SLA 1994; am Sec.

2 - 7, 14 ch 129 SLA 1994; am Sec. 11 ch 131 SLA 1994)

REVISORS NOTES.

The amendment made to (a) of this section by Sec. 11, ch. 131, SLA 1994 is not set out above because it was made obsolete by the amendment made by Sec. 2, ch. 129, SLA 1994.

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS.

The 1992 amendment, effective September 23, 1992, added "and including a marital and family therapist licensed under AS 08.63" to paragraph (a)(2).

The 1993 amendment, effective August 25, 1993, substituted "mobile intensive care paramedic" for "paramedic in the mobile intensive care program" in paragraph (a)(13).

The first 1994 amendment, effective September 7, 1994, in subsection (c), inserted "knowingly" and substituted "class B misdemeanor" for "violation as defined in AS 11.81.900(b)" in the first sentence and added the second sentence.

The second 1994 amendment, effective July 1, 1994, in subsection (a), rewrote the introductory language, substituted the phrase beginning "Department of Administration" for "Older Alaskans Commission" in paragraph (11), substituted "personal care" for "homemaker program" in paragraph (12), added paragraph (14), and made a related stylistic change; in subsection (b), substituted "vulnerable adult" for "elderly person" in paragraphs (1) and (3), made minor stylistic changes in the introductory language and paragraph (3), and substituted "abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect" for "harm" in paragraph (2); rewrote subsection (c); in subsection (d), rewrote the first sentence and deleted the former second sentence, relating to the reporting of economic harm induced by theft or fraud; in subsection (e), rewrote the first sentence, substituted "vulnerable adult" for "elderly person" in the second sentence, and added the third and fourth sentences; rewrote subsection (f); and repealed subsections (g) and

(h), relating to civil liability for failure to report and to punitive action against a reporting individual, respectively.

The third 1994 amendment, effective July 1, 1994, substituted "Alaska Commission on Aging" for "Older Alaskans Commission" in paragraph (a)(11).

NOTES TO DECISIONS



Whistleblower provisions do not extend to volunteers. - Protected relationships under the "whistleblower" provisions of this section does not protect the intangible benefits of volunteering. McAdoo v. Diaz, 884 P.2d 1385 (Alaska 1994).


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