44:7-93 Services provided to eligible residents by county welfare board.
35. a. As used in this section, “eligible resident” means a resident of a residential health care facility, rooming house, or boarding house who is: eligible to receive services under the latest New Jersey Comprehensive Annual Services Program Plan for the use of funds appropriated under Title XX of the Federal Social Security Act; an “eligible person” under the act to which this act is a supplement; an otherwise aged, blind, or disabled person; or a resident designated to be eligible by the Commissioner of Human ServiceS.
b. County welfare boards shall provide services to eligible residents of residential health care facilities, rooming houses, and boarding houses which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Investigation and evaluation of reports of abuse or exploitation, as defined in section 36 hereunder, or of threats of such abuse or exploitation of eligible residents, at the direction of the Commissioner of Human Services;
(2) Visits to all such facilities having eligible residents, at regularly scheduled intervals to assess the needs of such residents, determine whether they are receiving needed services and appropriate levels of care, and to provide such services where appropriate;
(3) Provision of information to eligible residents concerning social service, welfare, mental health, home health, and medical assistance programs available to them; referral of eligible residents to State, county, and local agencies and organizations for any services which county welfare boards cannot provide; and follow up to such referrals to determine whether such services are being provided;
(4) Reporting of any suspected violations of the provisions of this act and of any complaints received concerning services and conditions in such facilities to the commissioner and to appropriate State and local agencies for remedial action; and
(5) Provision of information to eligible residents whose continued residence in such facilities may be injurious or dangerous to their health concerning alternative housing and living arrangements available to them.
County welfare boards shall coordinate all services provided under this subsection with services provided to eligible residents by the State Divisions of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services and Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families, charitable institutions, and other State and local agencies and service providerS.
C. In order to fulfill their responsibilities under subsection b. above, county welfare boards shall be entitled to receive full and free access to residential health care facilities, rooming houses, and boarding houses by the owners and operators of the facilities, and to receive cooperation and assistance from State and local law enforcement officials as needed.
d. The Commissioner of Human Services shall:
(1) Promulgate all necessary regulations to implement the provisions of this section;
(2) Maintain a central file of all complaints received concerning suspected violations of the provisions of this act and concerning services and conditions at residential health care facilities, rooming houses, and boarding houses and shall maintain a record of the State and local agencies to which complaints have been referred by county welfare boards; refer any complaints received by the commissioner to State and local agencies for remedial action as necessary; and follow up all complaints to determine whether remedial action has been taken;
(3) Provide such training and educational programs to the operators of such facilities as will enable them to appropriately respond to the needs of their residents;
(4) Designate agencies to:
(a) Identify those residential health care facilities, rooming houses, and boarding houses in which substantial numbers of persons reside who are in need of mental health or developmental disabilities services;
(b) Receive referrals and be responsible for the provision of mental health or developmental disability services, or both;
(c) Report any apparent violation of this act to the appropriate State and local officials and authorities;
(d) Coordinate their efforts with county welfare boards, charitable institutions, the State Divisions of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services, and Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families, and other State and local entities and service providers;
(5) Periodically monitor and evaluate services provided to eligible residents by county welfare boards and community agencies serving persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities;
(6) Issue a report to the Legislature’s Standing Reference Committees on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens concerning the implementation of this section, one year following the effective date of this act.
e. Any person who submits or reports a complaint concerning a suspected violation of the provisions of this act or concerning services and conditions in residential health care facilities, rooming houses, and boarding houses, or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from a complaint, shall have immunity from any civil or criminal liability on account of such complaint, unless such person has acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.
L.1979, C. 496, S.35; amended 2010, C. 50, S.75; 2012, C. 16, S.132.
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