46-454. Duty to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults; duty to make medical records available; violation; classification

A. A physician, physician assistant, registered nurse practitioner, licensed practical or registered nurse, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, home health provider, hospital intern or resident, surgeon, dentist, psychiatrist, psychologist, pharmacist, speech, physical or occupational therapist, long-term care provider, social worker, peace officer, medical examiner, guardian, conservator, fire protection personnel, developmental disabilities provider, employee of the department of economic security or other person who has responsibility for the care of a vulnerable adult and who has a reasonable basis to believe that abuse, neglect or exploitation of the adult has occurred shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis to a peace officer or to the adult protective services central intake unit. The guardian or conservator of a vulnerable adult shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis to the superior court and the adult protective services central intake unit. All of the above reports shall be made immediately by telephone or online.

B. If an individual prescribed in subsection A of this section is an employee or agent of a health care institution as defined in section 36-401 and the health care institution's procedures require that all suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation be reported to adult protective services as required by law, the individual is deemed to have complied with the requirements of subsection A of this section by reporting or causing a report to be made to the health care institution in accordance with the health care institution's procedures.

C. An attorney, accountant, trustee, guardian, conservator or other person who has responsibility for preparing the tax records of a vulnerable adult or a person who has responsibility for any other action concerning the use or preservation of the vulnerable adult's property and who, in the course of fulfilling that responsibility, discovers a reasonable basis to believe that abuse, neglect or exploitation of the adult has occurred shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis to a peace officer or to the adult protective services central intake unit.  All of the above reports shall be made immediately by telephone or online.

D. Reports pursuant to subsections A and C of this section shall contain:

1. The names and addresses of the adult and any persons having control or custody of the adult, if known.

2. The adult's age and the nature and extent of the adult's vulnerability.

3. The nature and extent of the abuse, neglect or exploitation.

4. Any other information that the person reporting believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse, neglect or exploitation.

E. Any person other than one required to report or cause reports to be made in subsection A or C of this section who has a reasonable basis to believe that abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred may report the information to a peace officer or to the adult protective services central intake unit.

F. A person having custody or control of medical or financial records of a vulnerable adult for whom a report is required or authorized under this section shall make those records, or a copy of those records, available to a peace officer or adult protective services worker investigating the vulnerable adult's abuse, neglect or exploitation on written request for the records signed by the peace officer or adult protective services worker. Records disclosed pursuant to this subsection are confidential and may be used only in a judicial or administrative proceeding or investigation resulting from a report required or authorized under this section.

G. If reports pursuant to this section are received by a peace officer, the peace officer shall notify the adult protective services central intake unit as soon as possible and make that information available to them.

H. A person required to receive reports pursuant to subsection A, C or E of this section may take or cause to be taken photographs of the abused adult and the vicinity involved. Medical examinations, including radiological examinations of the involved adult, may be performed. Accounts, inventories or audits of the exploited adult's property may be performed. The person, department, agency or court that initiates the photographs, examinations, accounts, inventories or audits shall pay the associated costs in accordance with existing statutes and rules. If any person is found to be responsible for the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult in a criminal or civil action, the court may order the person to make restitution as the court deems appropriate.

I. If psychiatric records are requested pursuant to subsection F of this section, the custodian of the records shall notify the attending psychiatrist, who may excise from the records, before they are made available:

1. Personal information about individuals other than the patient.

2. Information regarding specific diagnosis or treatment of a psychiatric condition, if the attending psychiatrist certifies in writing that release of the information would be detrimental to the patient's health or treatment.

J. If any portion of a psychiatric record is excised pursuant to subsection I of this section, a court, on application of a peace officer or adult protective services worker, may order that the entire record or any portion of the record containing information relevant to the reported abuse, neglect or exploitation be made available to the peace officer or adult protective services worker investigating the abuse, neglect or exploitation.

K. A licensing agency shall not find that a reported incidence of abuse at a care facility by itself is sufficient grounds to allow the agency to close the facility or to find that all residents are in imminent danger.

L. Retaliation against a person who in good faith reports abuse, neglect or exploitation is prohibited.  Retaliation against a vulnerable adult who is the subject of a report is prohibited.  Any adverse action taken against a person who reports abuse, neglect or exploitation or a vulnerable adult who is the subject of the report within ninety days after the report is filed is presumed to be retaliation.

M. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.