HB2013 - STATE OMBUDSMAN - Foley, James Michael
HB2013 Creates the Office of State Ombudsman for Mental Health Facility Residents in the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
Sponsor: Foley, James Michael (81) Effective Date:00/00/0000
CoSponsor: Graham, Chuck (24) LR Number: 4377L.01I
Last Action: COMMITTEE: PUBLIC HEALTH
03/28/2000 - Public Hearing Held (H)
HB2013
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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Available Bill Summaries for HB2013 Copyright(c)
* Introduced

Available Bill Text for HB2013
* Introduced *

BILL SUMMARIES

INTRODUCED

HB 2013 -- State Ombudsman for Residents of Mental Health
Facilities

Co-Sponsors:  Foley, Graham (24)

This bill establishes the Office of State Ombudsman for Mental
Health Facility Residents within the Office of the Lieutenant
Governor.  The purpose of the Ombudsman is to help assure the
adequacy of care received by residents of mental health
facilities and to improve their quality of life.

In its main provisions, the bill:

(1)  Requires the office to establish and implement procedures
for receiving and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of
residents of mental health facilities;

(2)  Specifies the authority of the Ombudsman or a
representative of the office;

(3)  Requires the office to acknowledge complaints, report
findings, make recommendations, and publicize its existence;

(4)  Requires the office to analyze and monitor the development
and implementation of federal, state, and local laws which
affect mental health facilities and to recommend to the
Department of Mental Health any changes of such laws;

(5)  Requires the office to promote community contact and
involvement; establish standards for qualifications and training
for regional ombudsman coordinators and volunteers; and to
develop and propose programs for use, training, and coordination
of volunteers and regional ombudsman coordinators;

(6)  Requires the office to distribute an informational notice
to each facility and certified outpatient treatment programs
providing mental health services concerning the functions of the
Ombudsman and the complaint filing process;

(7)  Requires administrators of mental health facilities to
ensure that the informational notice is given to every resident
or the resident's guardian and to post the notice in a
conspicuous place;

(8)  Requires the office to inform residents, guardians, and
families of their rights and entitlements as contained in
federal and state laws by distributing educational materials and
conducting group meetings;

(9)  Allows the office to maintain authority over the disclosure
of any files.  The identity of a complainant or resident cannot
be disclosed unless consent is given or by court order;

(10)  Prohibits representatives of the office from knowingly or
willfully disclosing information obtained from a complaint to
non-authorized persons.  Persons who violate this provision are
guilty of a class A misdemeanor;

(11)  Specifies statements or communications provided in good
faith which are privileged;

(12)  Specifies conditions when the office must testify in a
court proceeding;

(13)  Specifies the classification of employees of the office;
and

(14)  Prohibits reprisals and retaliatory actions against
residents and employees of mental health facilities who
communicate or who provide information to the office.  Persons
who knowingly or willfully violate this provision are guilty of
a class A misdemeanor.


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