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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 492
Vulnerable persons' central register
Social Services (SOS) CHAPTER 55, ARTICLE 11
§ 492. Vulnerable persons' central register. 1. There shall be
established in the justice center a statewide vulnerable persons'
central register. The register shall: (a) receive reports of allegations
of reportable incidents involving persons receiving services in
facilities or provider agencies subject to the requirements of this
article; (b) as warranted, refer reports alleging crimes to appropriate
law enforcement authorities; (c) notify appropriate persons and
officials of received and accepted reports; and (d) maintain an
electronic database of each report and the finding associated with each
report. In accordance with this section, the executive director shall
establish standards and procedures for the operation of the vulnerable
persons' central register.

2. (a) The vulnerable persons' central register shall be staffed by
persons with at least a baccalaureate or equivalent college degree in a
relevant field of study or at least two years of experience in the
direct provision of services, adult or child protective services, and
any other qualifications identified by the executive director. Direct
service provision shall include the care, investigation, assessment,
treatment, or case planning for persons in facilities or programs
covered by this article or equivalent facilities or programs. Vulnerable
persons' central register staff also shall have access to appropriate
law enforcement officers or others with law enforcement experience who
shall assist in screening reports that appear to allege criminal
offenses and help refer reports, as warranted, to appropriate law
enforcement authorities.

(b) The vulnerable persons' central register shall receive reports of
allegations of reportable incidents twenty-four hours per day, seven
days a week. Mandated reporters shall make such reports in accordance
with section four hundred ninety-one of this article; provided, however,
any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a person receiving
services has been subjected to a reportable incident may make such a
report. In no event shall a report by a mandated reporter to the
vulnerable persons' central register eliminate the obligation of a
mandated reporter to report incidents in accordance with the applicable
laws, regulations and policy of the applicable state oversight agency.

(c) Reports of allegations of reportable incidents shall be submitted,
by a statewide, toll-free telephone number (a "hotline") or by
electronic transmission, in a manner and on forms prescribed by the
executive director. The information required on the reporting form shall
include but is not limited to: the name and contact information of the
person or persons making the report, if available, and, if the report is
made by a custodian, any other staff who have the same information; the
name and address of the facility or provider agency; the date, time,
specific location and description of the incident; the name and contact
information of the subject of the reportable incident, if known; the
name of the vulnerable person alleged to have been subjected to a
reportable incident; the names of personal representatives for the
vulnerable person who is alleged to have been subjected to a reportable
incident, if known; and any other information or documentation that the
executive director believes may be helpful. The inability of a person
making a report to identify a subject shall, in no circumstance,
constitute cause to reject such allegation for investigation or to fail
to refer such allegation for corrective action. The hotline shall accept
anonymous calls.

3. (a) When any allegation that could reasonably constitute a
reportable incident is received by the register, the register shall
accept and immediately transmit notice of the report orally or
electronically to the appropriate state oversight agency and, as
appropriate, to the director or operator of that facility or provider
agency.

(b) Whenever a telephone call or electronic transmission to the
vulnerable persons' central register alleges an act or circumstances
that may constitute a criminal offense or an immediate threat to a
vulnerable person's health, safety or welfare, the register shall
convey, by the most expedient means available, the information contained
in such call or transmission to the appropriate law enforcement agency
or district attorney and, to the extent necessary, the appropriate
emergency responder, and the state oversight agency.

(c) The justice center is responsible for commencing an investigation
of all allegations of reportable incidents that are accepted by the
vulnerable persons' central register. With respect to such an
investigation, the justice center shall:

(i) upon acceptance of a report of a reportable incident by the
vulnerable persons' central register, promptly commence an appropriate
investigation;

(ii) take all appropriate measures to protect the life and health of
the person who is the alleged victim of a reportable incident, which may
include working with the state oversight agency to take immediate steps
to remove the vulnerable person from his or her current facility or
program or to remove or suspend a subject from a facility or program,
subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreement, if the
justice center has reasonable cause to believe that the circumstances or
condition of the vulnerable person are such that continuing the
vulnerable person in his or her place of residence or program, or that
continuing such subject in his or her current facility or program,
presents an imminent danger to the vulnerable person's life or health;

(iii) determine whether the subject of the report is currently the
subject of an open or substantiated report in the vulnerable persons'
central register;

(iv) contact the statewide central register of child abuse and
maltreatment to determine whether the subject of the report has been or
is currently the subject of an indicated child abuse and maltreatment
report on file with the statewide central register of child abuse and
maltreatment;

(v) if it is discovered that the subject of a report has one or more
substantiated reports of abuse or neglect or indicated reports of child
abuse or maltreatment in the statewide central register of child abuse
and maltreatment and an investigation was or investigations were
conducted by a different state agency, or a local child protective
service, contact all known agencies or services who investigated such
previous report or reports to obtain information on such reports in
accordance with section four hundred ninety-six of this article;

(vi) notify the personal representative of the person alleged to have
been abused or neglected and, except in the case of a criminal
investigation, or if the executive director or his or her designee
determines that doing so would interfere with any ongoing investigation,
notify the subject or subjects of the report and any other persons named
in the report in writing of the existence of the report; provided,
however, that such notification may be limited in accordance with
subdivision (c) of section 33.16 of the mental hygiene law;

(vii) if a report of a reportable incident to the vulnerable persons'
central register involves the death of a person, the justice center
shall give telephone notice and immediately send a copy of the report to
the appropriate district attorney and to the medical examiner or
coroner. The medical examiner or coroner shall conduct a prompt
investigation and shall forward a preliminary written report of his or
her findings within sixty days of the date of death, absent
extraordinary circumstances, and his or her final written report
promptly, absent extraordinary circumstances, to the appropriate
district attorney, the appropriate law enforcement official, the state
agency responsible for overseeing the investigation, the justice center
medical review board and, if the death occurred in a hospital, the
hospital;

(viii) submit reportable incident findings to the vulnerable persons'
central register in accordance with section four hundred ninety-three of
this article;

(ix) notify the applicable state oversight agency and the director or
operator, where appropriate, to develop a plan of prevention or
remediation that the facility or program must implement in response to
the report's findings which must be approved and its implementation
monitored by the justice center or the state oversight agency, as
appropriate; and

(x) refer suspected cases of falsely reporting abuse or neglect in
violation of subdivision four of section 240.50 of the penal law to the
appropriate law enforcement agency or district attorney for
investigation and prosecution.

(d) Whenever a telephone call or electronic transmission to the
vulnerable persons' central register cannot be accepted as a report, but
the information provided alleges other potential wrongdoing at a
facility or provider agency, the register shall forward the report to
the applicable state oversight agency for investigation and protective
actions, as needed, pursuant to section four hundred ninety-one of this
article.

4. The justice center shall maintain and keep up-to-date records of
all incidents reported, together with any additional information
obtained during an investigation of such a report and a record of the
final disposition of the report.

5. The vulnerable persons' central register shall maintain an
electronic database of all accepted reports of reportable incidents.
State oversight agencies shall have access to information in the
database, limited to cases involving facilities or provider agencies
under their jurisdiction.

(a) A unique identifier shall be assigned to each report by the
vulnerable persons' central register.

(b) The register shall include the following information for each
report: a record of the final disposition of the report; the names and
identifying data; dates and circumstances of any person requesting or
receiving information from the register; whether the person making the
report authorized the disclosure of his or her name and personally
identifiable information; and any other information that the executive
director, in consultation with the commissioners of the state oversight
agencies covered by this article, identifies as furthering the purposes
of this article and complying with state and federal regulations
regarding the security and confidentiality of individually identifying
health information.

6. The justice center shall review such electronic database to
identify incident patterns and trends, and implement preventive and
corrective actions, and to identify patterns and trends in the reporting
and response to allegations of reportable incidents and develop plans of
improvement based on such reviews.

7. (a) General information about the existence and purposes of the
vulnerable persons' central register and how to make a report to the
register shall be made available on the website of the justice center,
with links to such information provided on the websites of each of the
state oversight agencies covered by this article.

(b) The justice center, in collaboration with the state oversight
agencies covered by this article, shall develop and widely distribute
written information explaining the reporting requirements and processes
consistent with this article. In addition, upon a vulnerable person's
commencement of the receipt of services by a facility or a provider
agency, personal representatives shall be provided with such
information, and such information shall be made available upon request
to any person.

(c) The justice center, in collaboration with the state agencies
operating, licensing or certifying facilities or the provider agencies
covered by this article, shall provide mandated reporters with written
information explaining the reporting requirements in accordance with
this article.

(d) The justice center shall develop and implement programs to
publicly recognize and value the contributions of reporters of
allegations of reportable incidents whose actions prompt corrections and
improvements in the service system; provided, however, that the name and
other personally identifiable information of such reporter shall not be
shared unless such person authorizes disclosure.

8. In a case where a subject of a report of alleged abuse or neglect
resigns from his or her position or is terminated while under
investigation, the state operating agency or the applicable facility or
provider agency shall promptly report such resignation or termination to
the justice center. The investigation of the report shall continue
despite the resignation or termination of such subject.