(a) An assisted living facility staff who has cause to believe that the physical or mental health or welfare of a resident has been or may be adversely affected by abuse, neglect, or exploitation or that the resident has died due to abuse or neglect, must report the abuse, neglect, or exploitation to:
(1) DADS Consumer Rights and Services section at 1-800-458-9858 or via the DADS website; and
(2) one of the following law enforcement agencies:
(A) a municipal law enforcement agency, if the facility is located within the territorial boundaries of a municipality; or
(B) the sheriff's department of the county in which the facility is located if the facility is not located within the territorial boundaries of a municipality.
(b) An assisted living facility must follow its internal policies regarding the prevention, detection, and reporting of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(c) The following information must be reported to DADS:
(1) name, age, and address of the resident;
(2) name and address of the person responsible for the care of the resident, if available;
(3) nature and extent of the elderly or disabled person's condition;
(4) basis of the reporter's knowledge; and
(5) any other relevant information.
(d) An assisted living facility must immediately make an oral report to DADS of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation and must investigate the allegation and send a written report of the investigation to DADS state office no later than the fifth calendar day after the oral report.
(e) An assisted living facility may not retaliate against a person for filing a complaint, presenting a grievance, or providing in good faith information relating to personal care services provided by the facility.
(f) An assisted living facility must require facility staff, as a condition of employment with the facility, to sign a statement indicating that the employee may be criminally liable for the failure to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(a) A complaint is any allegation received by the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) regarding abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident, or a violation of state standards.
(b) DHS must give the facility notification of the complaint received and a summary of the complaint, without identifying the source of the complaint.
(a) In accordance with the memorandum of understanding (relating to Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Protective Services for the Elderly), between the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, DHS receives and investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elderly and disabled persons or other residents living in facilities licensed under this chapter.
(b) DHS only investigates complaints of abuse, neglect, or exploitation when the act occurs in the facility, when the licensed facility is responsible for the supervision of the resident at the time the act occurs, or when the alleged perpetrator is affiliated with the facility. Other complaints of abuse, neglect, or exploitation not meeting this criteria must be referred to the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.
(c) Complaint investigations must include a visit to the resident's facility and consultation with persons thought to have knowledge of the circumstances. If the facility fails to admit DHS staff for a complaint investigation, DHS will seek a probate or county court order for admission. Investigators may request of the court that a peace officer accompany them.
(d) In cases concluded to be physical abuse, the written report of the investigation by DHS must be submitted to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
(e) In cases concluded to be abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident with a guardian, the written report of the investigation by DHS must be submitted to the probate or county court which oversees the guardianship.
(a) Confidentiality. All reports, records, and working papers used or developed by the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) in an investigation are confidential and may be released only as provided in this subsection.
(1) Completed written investigation reports on cases concluded to be abuse or neglect must be furnished to the district attorney and appropriate law enforcement agency. DHS also may release these reports to any other public agency DHS deems appropriate to the investigation.
(2) Completed written investigation reports are open to the public, provided the report is deidentified. The process of deidentification means removing all names and other personally identifiable data, including any information from witnesses and others furnished to the department as part of the investigation.
(3) The reporter and the facility will be notified of the results of the department's investigation of a reported case of abuse or neglect, whether the department concluded that abuse or neglect occurred or did not occur.
(b) Immunity. A person who reports suspected instances of abuse or neglect, in the absence of bad faith or malicious conduct, will be immune from civil or criminal liability which might have otherwise resulted from making the report. Such immunity extends to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report.
(c) Privileged communications. In a proceeding regarding a report or investigation conducted under this subchapter, evidence must not be excluded on a claim of privileged communication except in the case of a communication between an attorney and a client.
(d) Central registry. DHS maintains a central registry of reported cases of abuse and neglect at the central office in Austin.