(a) The commissioner, upon receiving a report that an elderly person allegedly is being, or has been, abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned, or is in need of protective services, shall investigate the report to determine the condition of the elderly person and what action and services, if any, are required. The investigation shall include (1) an in-person visit to the named elderly person, (2) consultation with those individuals having knowledge of the facts of the particular case, and (3) an interview with the elderly person alone unless (A) the elderly person refuses to consent to such interview, or (B) the commissioner determines that such interview is not in the best interests of the elderly person. If the commissioner determines that a caregiver is interfering with the commissioner's ability to conduct an interview alone with the elderly person, the commissioner may bring an action in the Superior Court or Probate Court seeking an order enjoining such caregiver from interfering with the commissioner's ability to conduct an interview alone with the elderly person. In investigating a report under this subsection, the commissioner may subpoena witnesses, take testimony under oath and compel the production of any necessary and relevant documents necessary to investigate the allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. The commissioner may request the Attorney General to petition the Superior Court for such order as may be appropriate to enforce the provisions of this section. Upon completion of the investigation, the commissioner shall prepare written findings that shall include recommended action and a determination of whether protective services are needed. Not later than forty-five days after completion of the investigation, the commissioner shall disclose, in general terms, the result of the investigation to the person or persons who reported the suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment, provided: (i) The person who made such report is legally mandated to make such report, (ii) the information is not otherwise privileged or confidential under state or federal law, (iii) the names of the witnesses or other persons interviewed are kept confidential, and (iv) the names of the person or persons suspected to be responsible for the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment are not disclosed unless such person or persons have been arrested as a result of the investigation.
(b) The Department of Social Services shall maintain a state-wide registry of the number of reports received, the allegations and the outcomes.
(c) The elderly person's file, including, but not limited to, the original report and the investigation report shall not be deemed a public record nor be subject to the provisions of section 1-210 . The commissioner may disclose the elderly person's file, in whole or in part, to an individual, agency, corporation or organization only with the written authorization of the elderly person, the elderly person's legal representative or as provided by this section.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, if the commissioner determines it to be necessary to assure the health, safety and welfare of an elderly person, the commissioner may disclose the elderly person's records, whether or not created by the department, and not otherwise privileged or confidential communications under state or federal law, without the authorization of the elderly person or the elderly person's legal representative (1) to multidisciplinary teams that may be formed to assist the department in investigation, evaluation or treatment of elderly abuse and neglect cases; (2) to law enforcement officials; and (3) in proceedings authorized under this chapter or in any action the commissioner deems necessary to assure the health, safety and welfare of any elderly person.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of this section, the commissioner shall not disclose the name of a person who reported suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of an elderly person except with that person's written permission or to a law enforcement official pursuant to a court order that specifically requires such disclosure.
(f) The elderly person or his or her legal representative or attorney shall have the right of access to records made, maintained or kept on file by the department, in accordance with all applicable state and federal law, when those records pertain to or contain information or material concerning the elderly person, including, but not limited to, records concerning investigations, reports or medical, psychological or psychiatric examinations of the elderly person except: (1) If protected health information were obtained by the department from someone other than a health care provider under the promise of confidentiality and the access requested would be reasonably likely to reveal the source of the information; (2) that information identifying the individual who reported the abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of the elderly person shall not be released unless, upon application to the Superior Court by the elderly person and served on the Commissioner of Social Services, a judge determines, after in camera inspection of relevant records and a hearing, that there is reasonable cause to believe the reporter knowingly made a false report or that other interests of justice require such release; (3) if it is determined by a licensed health care professional that the access requested is reasonably likely to endanger the life or physical safety of the elderly person or another person; (4) if the protected health information makes reference to another person, other than a health care provider, and a licensed health care professional has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the access requested is reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to such other person; or (5) the request for access is made by the elderly person's legal representative, and a licensed health care professional has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the provision of access to such legal representative is reasonably likely to cause harm to the elderly person or another person.
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