An elder adult at risk may refuse to accept services unless a guardian authorizes the services. The elder-adult-at-risk agency or other provider agency shall notify the elder adult at risk of this right to refuse before providing services.
“Departmental report form" includes documentation of an elder-adult-at-risk agency's response to or investigation of a report made under sub. (5)
and is the information required to be submitted to the department.
“Record" includes any document relating to the response, investigation, assessment, and disposition of a report made under this section.
The elder-adult-at-risk agency shall prepare a departmental report form of its response under sub. (5)
to a report of suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect. If the elder-adult-at-risk agency refers the report to an investigative agency, the investigative agency shall advise the elder-adult-at-risk agency in writing of its response to the report. The elder-adult-at-risk agency shall maintain records of suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
Departmental report forms are confidential and may not be released by the elder-adult-at-risk agency or other investigative agency, except under the following circumstances:
To the elder adult at risk, any person named in a departmental report form who is suspected of abusing, neglecting, or financially exploiting an elder adult at risk, and the suspect's attorney. These persons may inspect the departmental report form, except that information identifying the person who initially reported the suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, or any other person whose safety might be endangered through disclosure, may not be released.
To the agency or other entity from which assistance is requested under sub. (5) (f)
. Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential.
To an individual, organization, or agency designated by the department or as required by law for the purposes of management audits or program monitoring and evaluation. Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential and may not be used in any way that discloses the names of or other identifying information about the individuals involved.
For purposes of research, if the research project has been approved by the department or the elder-adult-at-risk agency and the researcher has provided assurances that the information will be used only for the purposes for which it was provided to the researcher, the information will not be released to a person not connected with the study under consideration, and the final product of the research will not reveal information that may serve to identify the individuals involved. The information shall remain confidential. In approving the use of information under this subdivision, the department shall impose any additional safeguards needed to prevent unwarranted disclosure of information.
To any agency or individual that provides direct services under sub. (5m)
, including an attending physician for purposes of diagnosis and treatment, and within the department to coordinate treatment for mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, or drug abuse of individuals committed to or under the supervision of the department. Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential.
To the guardian of the elder adult at risk or the guardian of any person named in a report who is suspected of abusing, neglecting, or financially exploiting an elder adult at risk. These persons may inspect the departmental report form, except that information identifying the person who initially reported the suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, or any other person whose safety might be endangered through disclosure, may not be released.
To law enforcement officials in accordance with the policy developed under sub. (3) (a)
To a federal agency, state governmental agency, agency of any other state, or local governmental unit in this state or any other state that has a need for a departmental report form in order to carry out its responsibility to protect elder adults at risk from abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
To the reporter who made a report in his or her professional capacity, regarding action to be taken to protect or provide services to the alleged victim of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
If a person requesting a departmental report form is not one of the persons or entities specified in par. (b)
, the elder-adult-at-risk agency may release information indicating only whether or not a report was received and whether or not statutory responsibility was fulfilled.
Notwithstanding par. (b) 1.
, an elder-adult-at-risk agency or an investigative agency may not release departmental report forms under this section if any of the following applies:
The elder-adult-at-risk agency determines that the release would be contrary to the best interests of the elder adult at risk who is the subject of the departmental report form or of another person residing with the subject of the departmental report form, or the release is likely to cause mental, emotional, or physical harm to the subject of the departmental report form or to any other individual.
The district attorney determines that disclosure of the information would jeopardize any ongoing or future criminal investigation or prosecution or would jeopardize a defendant's right to a fair trial.
The elder-adult-at-risk agency determines that disclosure would jeopardize ongoing or future civil investigations or proceedings or would jeopardize the fairness of such a legal proceeding.
Subject to pars. (b)
, and (bw)
, records under this subsection are confidential and may not be released by the elder-adult-at-risk agency or other investigative agency, except under the following circumstances, upon request:
To the elder adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record.
To the legal guardian, conservator, or other legal representative of the elder adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record, if the legal guardian, conservator, or other legal representative of the alleged victim is not the alleged perpetrator of the abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.
To law enforcement officials and agencies in accordance with the policy developed under sub. (3) (a)
or with investigations conducted under sub. (5)
, or a district attorney, for purposes of investigation or prosecution.
To an employee of a county department under s. 51.42
that is providing services either to the elder adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record or to the alleged perpetrator of abuse, to determine whether the alleged victim should be transferred to a less restrictive or more appropriate treatment modality or facility.
To a court, tribal court, or state governmental agency for a proceeding relating to the licensure or regulation of an individual or entity regulated or licensed by the state governmental agency, that was an alleged perpetrator of abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.
To the department, for management, audit, program monitoring, evaluation, billing, or collection purposes.
To the attorney or guardian ad litem for the elder adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record, to assist in preparing for any proceeding under ch. 48
, or 975
pertaining to the alleged victim.
To a coroner, medical examiner, pathologist, or other physician investigating the cause of death of an elder adult at risk that is unexplained or unusual or is associated with unexplained or suspicious circumstances.
To staff members of the protection and advocacy agency designated under s. 51.62
and the board on aging and long-term care under s. 16.009
To an agency, including a probation or parole agency, that is legally responsible for the supervision of an alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an elder adult at risk.
To a grand jury, if it determines that access to specified records is necessary for the conduct of its official business.
The identity of a person making a report of alleged abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation shall be deleted from any record prior to its release under par. (bt)
or from any departmental report form prior to its release under par. (b)
. The identity of any reporter may only be released with the written consent of the reporter or under a lawful order of a court of record.
A person to whom a departmental report form or a record is disclosed under this subsection may not further disclose it, except to the persons and for the purposes specified in this subsection.
A custodian of records or departmental report forms incurs no civil or criminal liability under this subsection and may not be found guilty of unprofessional conduct for the release or nonrelease of records or departmental report forms in accordance with this subsection while acting in good faith and within the scope of his or her authority.
Any person who requests or obtains confidential information under this subsection under false pretenses may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than one year in the county jail or both.
Any employee who violates this subsection may be subject to discharge or suspension without pay.
Nothing in this section may be construed to mean that a person is abused, financially exploited, neglected or in need of direct or protective services solely because he or she consistently relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer for healing in lieu of medical care in accordance with his or her religious tradition.
The department shall develop a plan to assist elder-adult-at-risk agencies in determining appropriate responses to reports of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
The department shall prepare and distribute sample departmental report forms for use by elder-adult-at-risk agencies.
The department shall collect statistical information from each county pertaining to each reported case of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect. The department may require elder-adult-at-risk agency workers or investigators to submit departmental report forms to the department that summarize the information being reported. These departmental report forms may not name or otherwise identify individuals. The department shall use this information to review the effectiveness of this section, to plan program changes, and to formulate reports.
The department shall develop and disseminate information on elder-adult-at-risk abuse and the elder abuse reporting system under this section. The department shall also develop informational materials to be used by elder-adult-at-risk agencies regarding abuse of elder adults at risk and regarding the elder abuse reporting system. The department shall solicit contributions of labor, materials, and expertise from private sources to assist in developing the informational materials.
Any person, including the state or any political subdivision of the state, violating sub. (6)
is liable to any person damaged as a result of the violation for such damages as may be proved, together with exemplary damages of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each violation and the costs and reasonable actual attorney fees that are incurred by the person damaged.
In any action brought under par. (a)
in which the court determines that the violator acted in a manner that was knowing and willful, the violator shall be liable for such damages as may be proved together with exemplary damages of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each violation, together with costs and reasonable actual attorney fees as may be incurred. It is not a prerequisite to an action under par. (a)
that the plaintiff suffer or be threatened with actual damages.
An individual may bring an action to enjoin any violation of sub. (6)
or to compel compliance with sub. (6)
, and may in the same action seek damages as provided in this subsection. The individual may recover costs and reasonable actual attorney fees incurred in the action, if he or she prevails.
Any person who violates sub. (4) (b) 1.
may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months or both.
Whoever intentionally violates sub. (4) (ad)
by failure to report as required may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.
Failure of a defamation plaintiff to assert any facts to support a finding of bad faith on the part of a person who reported possible material abuse resulted in a concession that the reporter was acting in good faith at the time he made the elder abuse report and thus his statements were entitled to protection or privilege under sub. (4) (c). A ruling finding good faith did not resolve a counterclaim under sub. (4) (b) 2. c. that the lawsuit was retaliatory. Attorney fees are not recoverable as damages resulting from the statutory tort of retaliation. Schaul v. Kordell, 2009 WI App 135
, 321 Wis. 2d 105
, 773 N.W.2d 454
Abuse and Neglect in Long-term Care Facilities: The Civil Justice System's Response. Studinski. Wis. Law. Aug. 2004.
Preventing Abuse and Neglect in Health Care Settings: The Regulatory Agency's Responsibility. Dawson. Wis. Law. Aug. 2004.
Seeking Justice in Death's Waiting Room: Barriers to Effectively Prosecuting Crime in Long-term Care Facilities. Hanrahan. Wis. Law. Aug. 2004.
A Response: Issues Affecting Long-term Care. Purtell. Wis. Law. Oct. 2004.
Adult Protective Services: On the Front Line Against Elder Abuse. Page. Wis. Law. June 2020.
Referral system for community-based services.
From the appropriation under s. 20.435 (1) (fe)
, the department shall provide grants to a nonprofit organization to operate a statewide Internet site and telephone-based system to provide information on and referrals to community-based services, advocacy in accessing services, connection to crisis intervention, and follow-up contact. As a condition of receiving a grant under this section, the nonprofit organization shall agree to allocate moneys for promoting and marketing the system to make the public aware of its existence and purposes.
History: 2017 a. 250
Independent living center grants; independent living services. 46.96(1)(ah)
“Independent living center" means a community-based, nonresidential private nonprofit agency that vests power and authority in individuals with disabilities, that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities and that provides an array of independent living services, including independent living core services, on a cross-disability basis.
“Severely disabled individual" means any individual with a severe physical or mental impairment whose ability to function independently in his or her family or community or whose ability to obtain, maintain or advance in employment is substantially limited and for whom the delivery of independent living services will improve either his or her ability to function independently in his or her family or community or his or her ability to engage in employment.
The department shall make grants from the appropriations under s. 20.435 (1) (cx)
and (7) (na)
to independent living centers for nonresidential services to severely disabled individuals.
The department shall make grants from the appropriations under s. 20.435 (1) (cx)
and (7) (na)
for the purposes for which the federal moneys are received, including for independent living services.
By July 1, 1994, an independent living center that receives funds under sub. (2)
shall comply with all of the following requirements:
The independent living center shall have a board of directors that is the principal governing body of the independent living center.
Severely disabled individuals shall be substantially involved in policy direction and management of the independent living center and shall be employed by the independent living center.
The independent living center shall offer severely disabled individuals a combination of independent living services that includes, as appropriate, those services that assist severely disabled individuals to increase personal self-determination and to minimize unnecessary dependence upon others.
Any independent living center that first receives funding under this section after June 21, 1996, shall comply with requirements that are specified under 29 USC 796f-4
Any independent living center that is receiving funding under this section on June 21, 1996, shall comply with requirements under 29 USC 796f-4
by July 1, 1998.
The department shall periodically review independent living centers and identify instances of noncompliance with the requirements of par. (a)
, if any. If the department identifies an instance of noncompliance, the department shall direct the noncomplying independent living center to comply within a reasonable period of time, which may not be less than 60 days after the date of the directive.
Primary health for homeless individuals. 46.972(1)(1)
In this subsection, “primary health services" has the meaning given in 42 USC 254c
From the appropriation account under s. 20.435 (1) (ce)
, the department shall award up to $125,000 in each fiscal year as grants to applying public or nonprofit private entities for the costs of providing primary health services and any other services that may be funded by the program under 42 USC 256
to homeless individuals. Entities that receive funds awarded by the department under this paragraph shall provide the primary health services as required under 42 USC 256
(f). The department may award to an applying entity up to 100 percent of the amount of matching funds required under 42 USC 256
Drug dependence program.