Section 38-9-8

Reports by physicians, etc., of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, or exploitation - Required; contents; investigation.

(a) All physicians and other practitioners of the healing arts or any caregiver having reasonable cause to believe that any protected person has been subjected to physical abuse, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse shall report or cause a report to be made as follows:

(1) An oral report, by telephone or otherwise, shall be made immediately, followed by a written report, to the county department of human resources or to the chief of police of the city or city and county, or to the sheriff of the county if the observation is made in an unincorporated territory, except that reports of a nursing home employee who abuses, neglects, or misappropriates the property of a nursing home resident shall be made to the Department of Public Health. The requirements to report suspicion of suspected abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property of a nursing home resident by an employee of a nursing home shall be deemed satisfied if the report is made in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Health.

(2) Within seven days following an oral report, an investigation of any alleged abuse, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse shall be made by the county department of human resources or the law enforcement official, whichever receives the report, and a written report prepared which includes the following:

a. Name, age, and address of the person.

b. Nature and extent of injury suffered by the person.

c. Any other facts or circumstances known to the reporter which may aid in the determination of appropriate action.

(b) All reports prepared by a law enforcement official shall be forwarded to the county department of human resources within 24 hours.

(c) The county department of human resources shall not be required to investigate any report of abuse, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse that occurs in any facility owned and operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections or the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Department of Public Health shall investigate all reports that a nursing home employee has abused or neglected a nursing home resident, or misappropriated the property of a nursing home resident, in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Health and the federal regulations and guidelines of the Medicaid and Medicare programs. The Department of Public Health shall investigate the complaints in accordance with the procedures and time frames established by the agency. A county department of human resources shall not be required to investigate the complaints.

(Acts 1977, No. 780, p. 1340, §6; Acts 1994, No. 94-615, p. 1134, §1; Act 2000-455, p. 839, §1.)