§16-5L-14. Cooperation among government departments or agencies.

(a) The state or regional long-term care ombudsman shall have access to publicly disclosable records of any state government department, agency, or office reasonably necessary to any investigation carried out pursuant to section ten of this article. The regional long-term care ombudsman shall be notified of and be allowed to observe any survey conducted by a government agency affecting the health, safety, welfare or rights of residents of a long-term facility.

(b) The state long-term care ombudsman shall develop referral procedures to refer any complaint to any appropriate state government department, agency or office. The department or agency shall acknowledge receipt and disposition within thirty calendar days on any complaint referred to it by a state or regional long-term care ombudsman.

(c) When abuse, neglect or exploitation of a resident of a long-term care facility is suspected, the state or regional long-term care ombudsman shall make a referral to the office of adult protective services of the department of health and human resources and to the office of health facility licensure and certification of the department of health and human resources. The state or regional long-term care ombudsman shall coordinate with the office of adult protective services and the office of health facility licensure and certification on any investigation of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation undertaken by those offices under the provisions of this subsection.

(d) Any state government department, agency, or office which responds to a complaint referred to it by a state or regional long-term care ombudsman shall forward to the long-term care ombudsman copies of publicly disclosable inspection reports and plans of correction, and notices of any citations and sanctions levied against the long-term care facility identified in the complaint.

(e) The state or regional long-term care ombudsman shall seek to establish coordination with programs which provide legal services for the elderly, including, but not limited to, programs funded by the federal legal services corporation or under the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.