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SB-1448 Deceased residents of state hospitals and developmental centers.(2001-2002)

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Senate Bill No. 1448
CHAPTER 440

An act to add Section 4015 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to state hospitals and developmental centers.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 09, 2002. Approved by Governor  September 07, 2002. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1448, Chesbro. Deceased residents of state hospitals and developmental centers.
Existing law provides for various types of cemeteries, including public cemeteries, private cemeteries, and cemetery authorities. Existing law establishes recordkeeping requirements as to each type of cemetery.
Existing law provides for state hospitals under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Health and developmental centers under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Developmental Services.
This bill would require the State Department of Mental Health, in coordination with other state entities and a task force composed as prescribed, to conduct and complete an inventory of all materials and records necessary to create the most complete record of persons who have died while residing at state hospitals and developmental centers and, within existing resources, to identify the locations of gravesites, as specified, and the names of patients whose remains were donated for medical research. This bill would also require these entities to assist the California Memorial Project in conducting research regarding the records of deaths and burials at state hospitals and developmental centers, in developing a plan for the restoration of gravesites and cemeteries at state hospitals and developmental centers and gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents, and to develop a protocol for the future interment of any patient who dies while residing at a state hospital or developmental center and whose remains are unclaimed by a family member.
This bill would require the department to submit a status update, as prescribed, as to the implementation of this bill to the Legislature no later than January 31, 2004.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all the following:
(1) The state has provided services to persons with disabilities in state hospitals and developmental centers since the mid-1850s.
(2) Over 20,000 patients died while in residency at a state hospital or developmental center from the mid-1850s until 1960.
(3) Information about the patients who have died while in residency at a state hospital or developmental center is incomplete.
(4) Cemeteries at state hospitals and developmental centers have not been used for interments since the 1960s, have fallen into disrepair, and are in need of restoration. Most of the existing gravesites are unmarked and, in most cases, these cemeteries are untended. Many of these cemeteries are, in effect, massive gravesites, and many records identifying where bodies are buried have been misplaced or destroyed.
(5) The state has an obligation to provide appropriate interment for patients who die while residing at a state hospital or developmental center and whose remains are not claimed by a family member.
(6) The state has an obligation to ensure maintenance of gravesites on state hospital and developmental center lands, and gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents, in a manner that is respectful, and includes individual acknowledgment, of the persons buried there.
(7) The state has an obligation to maintain appropriate records about persons who resided in state hospitals and developmental centers, including, but not limited to, their names, date of admittance, date of death, and cause of death.
(8) Persons with disabilities should play a leadership role in restoring the integrity of gravesites at state hospitals and developmental center lands and gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require the state to support persons with disabilities in their efforts to restore dignity to persons whose remains are buried in gravesites on state hospital and developmental center lands, and in gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4015 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

4015.
 (a) The State Department of Mental Health shall, in coordination with the task force described in subdivision (b) and with other state entities, including, but not limited to, the Department of General Services, the State Department of Developmental Services, the Secretary of State, and the California State Library, do all of the following:
(1) Conduct and complete inventories of all of the following:
(A) All materials and records necessary to create the most complete record of persons who died while residing at any state hospital as defined in Section 7200, or any developmental center as defined in Section 4440.
(B) Within existing resources, identify the location of all gravesites at existing state hospitals and developmental center lands and of gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents. This shall include the location of remains that may have been moved from their original burial site and the location of grave markers that may have been moved from gravesites.
(C) Within existing resources, identify the names of patients whose remains were donated for medical research, the entity to which the remains were donated, and the final disposition of those remains.
(2) Assist and cooperate with the California Memorial Project in conducting research regarding the records of deaths and burials of persons at state hospitals and developmental centers and cemeteries based on the grounds of these facilities. This assistance shall, subject to paragraph (3), include the granting of access to those state records as necessary to perform the inventories described in this section.
(3) Notwithstanding Sections 4514 and 5328 or any other provision of law regarding confidentiality of patient records, the information described in this section shall be limited to the name, date of birth, date of death, and photographic images of any person who died while in residency at any state hospital or developmental center and shall be made available for the purposes of the implementation of this section. The exportation and use of these records or photographic images from state facilities shall be limited to the information delineated within, and the purposes of, this section.
(4) Assist the California Memorial Project in developing a plan for the restoration of gravesites and cemeteries at state hospitals and developmental centers and gravesites not located on state lands but designated by the state for burial of state hospital or developmental center residents.
(5) Develop a protocol for the future interment of patients who die while residing at a state hospital or developmental center and are unclaimed by a family member.
(b) The department may develop a protocol to coordinate the efforts of the state entities described in subdivision (a).
(c) (1) The department shall establish a task force to provide leadership and direction in carrying out the activities described in this section. The task force shall consist of representatives selected by each of the following entities:
(A) The Peer Self-Advocacy Unit of Protection and Advocacy, Inc.
(B) California Network of Mental Health Clients.
(C) Capitol People First.
(2) To the extent that funding is available, task force members shall be reimbursed for necessary travel expenses associated with serving on the task force. When requested by a task force member with a disability, the state shall pay the cost of a facilitator chosen by the task force member.
(d) In implementing this section, the state shall make no structural changes to existing gravesites on state hospital or developmental center lands prior to the submission of, and which do not conform with, the restoration plan described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a).
(e) The department shall submit a status update on the implementation of this section, including a description of barriers, if any, to conducting the activities described in this section, to the Legislature by January 31, 2004.