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Title: Section 485.13 - Certified long-term care ombudsmen.

Effective Date


485.13 Certified long-term care ombudsmen.

(a) (1) An operator must not restrict or prohibit the access to the residents of the facility nor interfere with the performance of the official duties of a duly authorized ombudsman certified by the State Office for the Aging.

(2) Such access shall be permitted at any time during a facility's regular business hours or regular visiting hours.

(3) In addition to the access permitted under paragraph (2) of this subdivision, an operator shall not restrict access at other times if the ombudsman is seeking to investigate a complaint or is responding to a specific request of a resident.

(4) The operator shall not interfere with the privacy and confidentiality of the visits between the resident and the ombudsman.

(5) An operator may not retaliate nor take reprisals against any resident, employee or other person for having filed a complaint with or having provided information to a duly authorized ombudsman.

(b) (1) The operator shall not restrict or prohibit access by ombudsmen to resident records maintained by the operator, provided that:

(i) the resident or resident representative has given informed consent in writing or through the use of auxiliary aids and services;

(ii) the resident or resident representative has given informed consent orally, visually, or through the use of auxiliary aids and services, and such consent is documented contemporaneously by an ombudsman; or

(iii) access is necessary in order to investigate a complaint, the resident representative refuses to consent to the access, an ombudsman has reasonable cause to believe that the resident representative is not acting in the best interests of the resident, and the ombudsman obtains the approval of the state long-term care ombudsman.

(2) Access to records shall be permitted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

(3) The operator shall designate a member or members of staff who shall be responsible for providing access to such records and, where necessary, interpretation of such records.

(4) Ombudsmen shall have the right to photocopy onsite such records; however, records shall not be removed from the facility by the ombudsman.

(5) The operator may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed $1 per page, for photocopying.

(6) Disclosure to a duly designated ombudsman, pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subdivision (b), shall not, based solely on such disclosure, give rise to any claim as to a breach of confidentiality by the operator.

(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit access to a physician's records, clergy records, or to other community service agency records, which are not maintained by the operator as part of the resident's records.

(c) The operator shall require anyone seeking access to the facility or to resident records as an authorized ombudsman to show identification and to sign a visitor's register or like record.



VOLUME B-1 (Title 18)