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Georgia State Code
Title      37
Chapter       2  
Section Navigation     1 ... 6         6.1 ... 11.2  
      12 ... 38         39 ... 44      
Section<<< 12 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 >>>  
Title 37, Chapter 2, Section 35 (37-2-35)

(a) The state ombudsman or a community ombudsman, on his or her initiative or in response to complaints made by or on behalf of service recipients, may conduct investigations in matters within his or her powers and duties as provided by this article.

(b) The state ombudsman or a community ombudsman shall have the authority to enter any facility, premises, or property where disability services are provided and shall use his or her best efforts to enter such facility, premises, or property during normal business hours. Upon entering such facility, premises, or property, the ombudsman shall notify the administrator or, in the absence of the administrator, the person in charge of such facility, premises, or property before speaking to any service recipient. After notifying the administrator or the person in charge of such facility, premises, or property, the ombudsman may communicate privately and confidentially with service recipients in such facility, premises, or property, individually or in groups. The ombudsman shall have access to the medical, social, and disability records of any service recipient if:

(1) The ombudsman has the permission of the service recipient or the legal representative or guardian of the service recipient;

(2) The service recipient is unable to consent to the review and has no legal representative or guardian; or

(3) There is a guardian of the person of the service recipient and that guardian refuses to permit access to the records necessary to investigate a complaint, and:

(A) There is reasonable cause to believe that the guardian is not acting in the best interest of the service recipient; and

(B) A community ombudsman obtains the approval of the state ombudsman.

As used in this Code section, the term "legal representative" means an agent under a valid power of attorney, provided that the agent is acting within the scope of his or her agency; an agent under a durable power of attorney for health care; or an executor, executrix, administrator, or administratrix of the estate of a deceased service recipient. The ombudsman shall have the authority to inspect the physical plant and have access to the administrative records, policies, and documents of the facility, premises, or property to which the service recipients have or the general public has access. Entry and investigation as provided by this Code section shall be conducted in a manner which will not significantly disrupt the provision of disability services to service recipients.

(c) The state ombudsman or community ombudsman shall identify himself or herself as such to the service recipient, and the service recipient shall have the right to communicate or refuse to communicate with the ombudsman.

(d) The service recipient or the service recipient's legal representative shall have the right to participate in planning any course of action to be taken on the service recipient's behalf by the state ombudsman or community ombudsman, and the service recipient or such representative shall have the right to approve or disapprove any proposed action to be taken on the service recipient's behalf by such ombudsman.

(e) The state ombudsman or community ombudsman shall have the authority to obtain from any governmental agency or services provider which receives state funds for disability services, and such agency or provider shall provide cooperation and assistance, services, data, and access to, such files and records as will enable the ombudsman properly to perform his or her duties and exercise his or her powers, provided that such information is not privileged under any law.

(f) Where the subject of the investigation involves suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a service recipient by his or her guardian, the state ombudsman or community ombudsman shall have the authority to communicate with the service recipient in a private and confidential setting notwithstanding any objection by the guardian to such meeting and communication.

(g) The state ombudsman shall advise the service recipient of the need for adequate legal counsel as well as consultation needed to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the service recipient.

Monday May 25 00:46 EDT


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