Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18996]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )

PART 3. AID AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE [11000 - 15766]

  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )

CHAPTER 11. Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act [15600 - 15675]

  ( Heading of Chapter 11 amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 774, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 3. Mandatory and Nonmandatory Reports of Abuse [15630 - 15632]
  ( Heading of Article 3 renumbered from Article 4 by Stats. 1994, Ch. 594, Sec. 5. )

15630.
  

(a) Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not he or she receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency, is a mandated reporter.

(b) (1) Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior, including an act or omission, constituting physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects that abuse, shall report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone or through a confidential Internet reporting tool, as authorized by Section 15658, immediately or as soon as practicably possible. If reported by telephone, a written report shall be sent, or an Internet report shall be made through the confidential Internet reporting tool established in Section 15658, within two working days.

(A) If the suspected or alleged abuse is physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, and the abuse occurred in a long-term care facility, except a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the following shall occur:

(i) If the suspected abuse results in serious bodily injury, a telephone report shall be made to the local law enforcement agency immediately, but also no later than within two hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting the physical abuse, and a written report shall be made to the local ombudsman, the corresponding licensing agency, and the local law enforcement agency within two hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting the physical abuse.

(ii) If the suspected abuse does not result in serious bodily injury, a telephone report shall be made to the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting the physical abuse, and a written report shall be made to the local ombudsman, the corresponding licensing agency, and the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting the physical abuse.

(iii) When the suspected abuse is allegedly caused by a resident with a physician’s diagnosis of dementia, and there is no serious bodily injury, as reasonably determined by the mandated reporter, drawing upon his or her training or experience, the reporter shall report to the local ombudsman or law enforcement agency by telephone, immediately or as soon as practicably possible, and by written report, within 24 hours.

(iv) When applicable, reports made pursuant to clauses (i) and (ii) shall be deemed to satisfy the reporting requirements of the federal Elder Justice Act of 2009, as set out in Subtitle H of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), Section 1418.91 of the Health and Safety Code, and Section 72541 of Title 22 of California Code of Regulations. When a local law enforcement agency receives an initial report of suspected abuse in a long-term care facility pursuant to this subparagraph, the local law enforcement agency may coordinate efforts with the local ombudsman to provide the most immediate and appropriate response warranted to investigate the mandated report. The local ombudsman and local law enforcement agencies may collaborate to develop protocols to implement this subparagraph.

(B) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, or any other law, the department may implement subparagraph (A), in whole or in part, by means of all-county letters, provider bulletins, or other similar instructions without taking regulatory action.

(C) If the suspected or alleged abuse is abuse other than physical abuse, and the abuse occurred in a long-term care facility, except a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, a telephone report and a written report shall be made to the local ombudsman or the local law enforcement agency.

(D) With regard to abuse reported pursuant to subparagraph (C), the local ombudsman and the local law enforcement agency shall, as soon as practicable, except in the case of an emergency or pursuant to a report required to be made pursuant to clause (v), in which case these actions shall be taken immediately, do all of the following:

(i) Report to the State Department of Public Health any case of known or suspected abuse occurring in a long-term health care facility, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1418 of the Health and Safety Code.

(ii) Report to the State Department of Social Services any case of known or suspected abuse occurring in a residential care facility for the elderly, as defined in Section 1569.2 of the Health and Safety Code, or in an adult day program, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1502 of the Health and Safety Code.

(iii) Report to the State Department of Public Health and the California Department of Aging any case of known or suspected abuse occurring in an adult day health care center, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1570.7 of the Health and Safety Code.

(iv) Report to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse any case of known or suspected criminal activity.

(v) Report all cases of known or suspected physical abuse and financial abuse to the local district attorney’s office in the county where the abuse occurred.

(E) (i) If the suspected or alleged abuse or neglect occurred in a state mental hospital or a state developmental center, and the suspected or alleged abuse or neglect resulted in any of the following incidents, a report shall be made immediately, but no later than within two hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting abuse, to designated investigators of the State Department of State Hospitals or the State Department of Developmental Services, and also to the local law enforcement agency:

(I) A death.

(II) A sexual assault, as defined in Section 15610.63.

(III) An assault with a deadly weapon, as described in Section 245 of the Penal Code, by a nonresident of the state mental hospital or state developmental center.

(IV) An assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, as described in Section 245 of the Penal Code.

(V) An injury to the genitals when the cause of the injury is undetermined.

(VI) A broken bone when the cause of the break is undetermined.

(ii) All other reports of suspected or alleged abuse or neglect that occurred in a state mental hospital or a state developmental center shall be made immediately, but no later than within two hours of the mandated reporter observing, obtaining knowledge of, or suspecting abuse, to designated investigators of the State Department of State Hospitals or the State Department of Developmental Services, or to the local law enforcement agency.

(iii) When a local law enforcement agency receives an initial report of suspected or alleged abuse or neglect in a state mental hospital or a state developmental center pursuant to clause (i), the local law enforcement agency shall coordinate efforts with the designated investigators of the State Department of State Hospitals or the State Department of Developmental Services to provide the most immediate and appropriate response warranted to investigate the mandated report. The designated investigators of the State Department of State Hospitals or the State Department of Developmental Services and local law enforcement agencies may collaborate to develop protocols to implement this clause.

(iv) Except in an emergency, the local law enforcement agency shall, as soon as practicable, report any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

(v) Notwithstanding any other law, a mandated reporter who is required to report pursuant to Section 4427.5 shall not be required to report under clause (i).

(F) If the abuse has occurred in any place other than a long-term care facility, a state mental hospital, or a state developmental center, the report shall be made to the adult protective services agency or the local law enforcement agency.

(2) (A) A mandated reporter who is a clergy member who acquires knowledge or reasonable suspicion of elder or dependent adult abuse during a penitential communication is not subject to paragraph (1). For purposes of this subdivision, “penitential communication” means a communication that is intended to be in confidence, including, but not limited to, a sacramental confession made to a clergy member who, in the course of the discipline or practice of his or her church, denomination, or organization is authorized or accustomed to hear those communications and under the discipline tenets, customs, or practices of his or her church, denomination, or organization, has a duty to keep those communications secret.

(B) This subdivision shall not be construed to modify or limit a clergy member’s duty to report known or suspected elder and dependent adult abuse if he or she is acting in the capacity of a care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of an adult protective services agency.

(C) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a clergy member who is not regularly employed on either a full-time or part-time basis in a long-term care facility or does not have care or custody of an elder or dependent adult shall not be responsible for reporting abuse or neglect that is not reasonably observable or discernible to a reasonably prudent person having no specialized training or experience in elder or dependent care.

(3) (A) A mandated reporter who is a physician and surgeon, a registered nurse, or a psychotherapist, as defined in Section 1010 of the Evidence Code, shall not be required to report, pursuant to paragraph (1), an incident if all of the following conditions exist:

(i) The mandated reporter has been told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect.

(ii) The mandated reporter is not aware of any independent evidence that corroborates the statement that the abuse has occurred.

(iii) The elder or dependent adult has been diagnosed with a mental illness or dementia, or is the subject of a court-ordered conservatorship because of a mental illness or dementia.

(iv) In the exercise of clinical judgment, the physician and surgeon, the registered nurse, or the psychotherapist, as defined in Section 1010 of the Evidence Code, reasonably believes that the abuse did not occur.

(B) This paragraph shall not be construed to impose upon mandated reporters a duty to investigate a known or suspected incident of abuse and shall not be construed to lessen or restrict any existing duty of mandated reporters.

(4) (A) In a long-term care facility, a mandated reporter shall not be required to report as a suspected incident of abuse, as defined in Section 15610.07, an incident if all of the following conditions exist:

(i) The mandated reporter is aware that there is a proper plan of care.

(ii) The mandated reporter is aware that the plan of care was properly provided or executed.

(iii) A physical, mental, or medical injury occurred as a result of care provided pursuant to clause (i) or (ii).

(iv) The mandated reporter reasonably believes that the injury was not the result of abuse.

(B) This paragraph shall not be construed to require a mandated reporter to seek, nor to preclude a mandated reporter from seeking, information regarding a known or suspected incident of abuse prior to reporting. This paragraph shall apply only to those categories of mandated reporters that the State Department of Public Health determines, upon approval by the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse and the state long-term care ombudsman, have access to plans of care and have the training and experience necessary to determine whether the conditions specified in this section have been met.

(c) (1) Any mandated reporter who has knowledge, or reasonably suspects, that types of elder or dependent adult abuse for which reports are not mandated have been inflicted upon an elder or dependent adult, or that his or her emotional well-being is endangered in any other way, may report the known or suspected instance of abuse.

(2) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a long-term care facility other than a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report may be made to the long-term care ombudsman program. Except in an emergency, the local ombudsman shall report any case of known or suspected abuse to the State Department of Public Health and any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, as soon as is practicable.

(3) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a state mental health hospital or a state developmental center, the report may be made to the designated investigator of the State Department of State Hospitals or the State Department of Developmental Services or to a local law enforcement agency. Except in an emergency, the local law enforcement agency shall report any case of known or suspected criminal activity to the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, as soon as is practicable.

(4) If the suspected or alleged abuse occurred in a place other than a place described in paragraph (2) or (3), the report may be made to the county adult protective services agency.

(5) If the conduct involves criminal activity not covered in subdivision (b), it may be immediately reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

(d) If two or more mandated reporters are present and jointly have knowledge or reasonably suspect that types of abuse of an elder or a dependent adult for which a report is or is not mandated have occurred, and there is agreement among them, the telephone report or Internet report, as authorized by Section 15658, may be made by a member of the team selected by mutual agreement, and a single report may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make the report.

(e) A telephone report or Internet report, as authorized by Section 15658, of a known or suspected instance of elder or dependent adult abuse shall include, if known, the name of the person making the report, the name and age of the elder or dependent adult, the present location of the elder or dependent adult, the names and addresses of family members or any other adult responsible for the elder’s or dependent adult’s care, the nature and extent of the elder’s or dependent adult’s condition, the date of the incident, and any other information, including information that led that person to suspect elder or dependent adult abuse, as requested by the agency receiving the report.

(f) The reporting duties under this section are individual, and no supervisor or administrator shall impede or inhibit the reporting duties, and no person making the report shall be subject to any sanction for making the report. However, internal procedures to facilitate reporting, ensure confidentiality, and apprise supervisors and administrators of reports may be established, provided they are not inconsistent with this chapter.

(g) (1) Whenever this section requires a county adult protective services agency to report to a law enforcement agency, the law enforcement agency shall, immediately upon request, provide a copy of its investigative report concerning the reported matter to that county adult protective services agency.

(2) Whenever this section requires a law enforcement agency to report to a county adult protective services agency, the county adult protective services agency shall, immediately upon request, provide to that law enforcement agency a copy of its investigative report concerning the reported matter.

(3) The requirement to disclose investigative reports pursuant to this subdivision shall not include the disclosure of social services records or case files that are confidential, nor shall this subdivision be construed to allow disclosure of any reports or records if the disclosure would be prohibited by any other provision of state or federal law.

(h) Failure to report, or impeding or inhibiting a report of, physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder or dependent adult, in violation of this section, is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than six months in the county jail, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. Any mandated reporter who willfully fails to report, or impedes or inhibits a report of, physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder or dependent adult, in violation of this section, if that abuse results in death or great bodily injury, shall be punished by not more than one year in a county jail, by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. If a mandated reporter intentionally conceals his or her failure to report an incident known by the mandated reporter to be abuse or severe neglect under this section, the failure to report is a continuing offense until a law enforcement agency specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 15630 discovers the offense.

(i) For purposes of this section, “dependent adult” shall have the same meaning as in Section 15610.23.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 673, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2014.)

15630.1.
  

(a) As used in this section, “mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult” means all officers and employees of financial institutions.

(b) As used in this section, the term “financial institution” means any of the following:

(1) A depository institution, as defined in Section 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1813(c)).

(2) An institution-affiliated party, as defined in Section 3(u) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1813(u)).

(3) A federal credit union or state credit union, as defined in Section 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1752), including, but not limited to, an institution-affiliated party of a credit union, as defined in Section 206(r) of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. Sec. 1786(r)).

(c) As used in this section, “financial abuse” has the same meaning as in Section 15610.30.

(d) (1) Any mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult who has direct contact with the elder or dependent adult or who reviews or approves the elder or dependent adult’s financial documents, records, or transactions, in connection with providing financial services with respect to an elder or dependent adult, and who, within the scope of his or her employment or professional practice, has observed or has knowledge of an incident, that is directly related to the transaction or matter that is within that scope of employment or professional practice, that reasonably appears to be financial abuse, or who reasonably suspects that abuse, based solely on the information before him or her at the time of reviewing or approving the document, record, or transaction in the case of mandated reporters who do not have direct contact with the elder or dependent adult, shall report the known or suspected instance of financial abuse by telephone or through a confidential Internet reporting tool, as authorized pursuant to Section 15658, immediately, or as soon as practicably possible. If reported by telephone, a written report shall be sent, or an Internet report shall be made through the confidential Internet reporting tool established in Section 15658, within two working days to the local adult protective services agency or the local law enforcement agency.

(2) When two or more mandated reporters jointly have knowledge or reasonably suspect that financial abuse of an elder or a dependent adult for which the report is mandated has occurred, and when there is an agreement among them, the telephone report or Internet report, as authorized by Section 15658, may be made by a member of the reporting team who is selected by mutual agreement. A single report may be made and signed by the selected member of the reporting team. Any member of the team who has knowledge that the member designated to report has failed to do so shall thereafter make that report.

(3) If the mandated reporter knows that the elder or dependent adult resides in a long-term care facility, as defined in Section 15610.47, the report shall be made to the local ombudsman or local law enforcement agency.

(e) An allegation by the elder or dependent adult, or any other person, that financial abuse has occurred is not sufficient to trigger the reporting requirement under this section if both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult is aware of no other corroborating or independent evidence of the alleged financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult. The mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult is not required to investigate any accusations.

(2) In the exercise of his or her professional judgment, the mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult reasonably believes that financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult did not occur.

(f) Failure to report financial abuse under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or if the failure to report is willful, a civil penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), which shall be paid by the financial institution that is the employer of the mandated reporter to the party bringing the action. Subdivision (h) of Section 15630 shall not apply to violations of this section.

(g) (1) The civil penalty provided for in subdivision (f) shall be recovered only in a civil action brought against the financial institution by the Attorney General, district attorney, or county counsel. No action shall be brought under this section by any person other than the Attorney General, district attorney, or county counsel. Multiple actions for the civil penalty may not be brought for the same violation.

(2) Nothing in the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act of 2005 shall be construed to limit, expand, or otherwise modify any civil liability or remedy that may exist under this or any other law.

(h) As used in this section, “suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult” occurs when a person who is required to report under subdivision (a) observes or has knowledge of behavior or unusual circumstances or transactions, or a pattern of behavior or unusual circumstances or transactions, that would lead an individual with like training or experience, based on the same facts, to form a reasonable belief that an elder or dependent adult is the victim of financial abuse as defined in Section 15610.30.

(i) Reports of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult made by an employee or officer of a financial institution pursuant to this section are covered under subdivision (b) of Section 47 of the Civil Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 373, Sec. 2.5. Effective January 1, 2012.)

15631.
  

(a) Any person who is not a mandated reporter under Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse may report that abuse to a long-term care ombudsman program or local law enforcement agency, or both the long-term care ombudsman program and local law enforcement agency when the abuse is alleged to have occurred in a long-term care facility.

(b) Any person who is not a mandated reporter under Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse in any place other than a long-term care facility may report the abuse to the county adult protective services agency or local law enforcement agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 659, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2013.)

15632.
  

(a) In any court proceeding or administrative hearing, neither the physician-patient privilege nor the psychotherapist-patient privilege applies to the specific information reported pursuant to this chapter.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring an attorney to violate his or her oath and duties pursuant to Section 6067 or subdivision (e) of Section 6068 of the Business and Professions Code, and Article 3 (commencing with Section 950) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 594, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 1995.)

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