§27-8-1. Maintenance of patients; patient assets; reimbursement procedures.

The cost of the maintenance of patients admitted to the state hospitals shall be paid out of funds appropriated for the department, but the state hospitals, through the director of health, shall have a right of reimbursement, for all or any part of such maintenance from each patient or from the committee or guardian of the estate of the patient, or the estate of the patient if deceased, or if that be insufficient, then from the patient's husband or wife, or if the patient be an unemancipated child, the father and mother, or any of them. If such a relative so liable does not reside in this state and has no estate or debts due him within the state by means of which the liability can be enforced against him, the other relatives shall be liable as provided by this section. In exercising this right of reimbursement, the director of health may, whenever it is deemed just and expedient to do so, exonerate any person chargeable with such maintenance from the payment thereof in whole or in part, if the director finds that such person is unable to pay or that payment would work an undue hardship on him or on those dependent upon him.

There shall be no discrimination on the part of the state hospitals as to food, care, protection, treatment or rehabilitation, between patients who pay for their maintenance and those who are unable to do so.

It shall be the responsibility of the director of health as provided by rules promulgated by the board of health to determine the ability of the patient or of his relative to pay for hismaintenance: Provided, That any such determination shall be in writing and shall be considered an "order" under the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: Provided, however, That any such determination shall be subject to review upon application of any such patient, relative or personal representative in the manner provided in chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.