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

A. A physician, registered nurse practitioner, hospital intern or resident, surgeon, dentist, psychologist, social worker, peace officer or other person who has responsibility for the care of a vulnerable adult and who has a reasonable basis to believe that abuse or neglect of the adult has occurred or that exploitation of the adult's property has occurred shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis to a peace officer or to a protective services worker.  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. All of the above reports shall be made immediately in person or by telephone and shall be followed by a written report mailed or delivered within forty-eight hours or on the next working day if the forty-eight hours expire on a weekend or holiday.

B. 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 exploitation of the adult's property has occurred or that abuse or neglect of the adult has occurred shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis to a peace officer, to a protective services worker or to the public fiduciary of the county in which the vulnerable adult resides. If the public fiduciary is unable to investigate the contents of a report, the public fiduciary shall immediately forward the report to a protective services worker. If a public fiduciary investigates a report and determines that the matter is outside the scope of action of a public fiduciary, then the report shall be immediately forwarded to a protective services worker. All of the above reports shall be made immediately in person or by telephone and shall be followed by a written report mailed or delivered within forty-eight hours or on the next working day if the forty-eight hours expire on a weekend or holiday.

C. Reports pursuant to subsections A and B 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 adult's injuries or physical neglect or of the exploitation of the adult's property.

4. Any other information that the person reporting believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the adult's injuries or physical neglect or of the exploitation of the adult's property.

D. Any person other than one required to report or cause reports to be made in subsection A who has a reasonable basis to believe that abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred may report the information to a peace officer or to a protective services worker.

E. 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 such records, or a copy of such records, available to a peace officer or adult protective services worker investigating the vulnerable adult's neglect, exploitation or abuse 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.

F. If reports pursuant to this section are received by a peace officer, the peace officer shall notify the adult protective services of the department of economic security as soon as possible and make such information available to them.

G. A person required to receive reports pursuant to subsection A, B or D 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 such 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.

H. If psychiatric records are requested pursuant to subsection E, 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.

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

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

K. A person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.