|State||2018 Statute Number||2018 Statute Language|
|Rhode Island||R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-1. Definitions.||As used in this chapter:|
(1) "Business relationship" means a relationship between two (2) or more individuals or entities where there exists an oral or written contract or agreement for goods or services.
(2) "Caregiver" means a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care or the property of an elder person. Caregiver includes, but is not limited to, relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of elder care facilities.
(3) "Deception" means misrepresenting or concealing a material fact relating to:
(i) Services rendered, disposition of property, or use of property, when such services or property are intended to benefit an elder person; or
(ii) Terms of a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or
(iii) An existing or preexisting condition of any property involved in a contract or agreement entered into with an elder person; or
(iv) Using any misrepresentation, false pretense, or false promise in order to induce, encourage or solicit an elder person to enter into a contract or agreement.
(4) "Elder person" means a person sixty-five (65) years of age or older.
(5) "Intimidation" means the communication by word or act to an elder person that the elder person will be deprived of food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, medical services, money, or financial support or will suffer physical violence.
(6) "Lacks capacity to consent" means an impairment by reason of mental illness, developmental disability, organic brain disorder, physical illness or disability, short-term memory loss, or other cause, that causes an elder person to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions concerning the elder person's person or property.
(7) "Position of trust and confidence" with respect to an elder person means the position of a person who:
(i) Is a spouse, adult child, or other relative by blood or marriage of the elder person;
(ii) Is a joint tenant or tenant in common with the elder person;
(iii) Has a legal or fiduciary relationship with the elder person including, but not limited to, a court-appointed or voluntary guardian, trustee, attorney, or conservator;
(iv) Is the caregiver of the elder person; or
(v) Is any other person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the use or management of the elder person's funds, assets, or property.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-2. Exploitation of an elder.||(a) A person is guilty of exploitation of an elder person if that person:|
(1) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, an elder person's funds, assets or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person by a person who:
(i) Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elder person; or
(ii) Has a business relationship with the elder person; or
(2) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, endeavors to obtain or use, or conspires with another to obtain or use an elder person's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elder person of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elder person, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elder person lacks the capacity to consent.
(b) Any person who shall exploit an elder person as defined in this chapter shall be guilty of a felony.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-68-3. Penalties for violations.||(a) Any person convicted of exploiting an elder person as provided under this chapter shall be punished as follows:|
(1) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at less than five hundred dollars ($500), the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than five (5) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or both.
(2) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at five hundred dollars ($500) or more, but less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than fifteen (15) years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or both.
(3) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elder person are valued at one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more, the person shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) years or by a fine of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or both.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-1. Declaration of purpose.||The legislature finds and declares:|
(1) That the state has an obligation to provide for the health, safety and welfare of its elderly citizens;
(2) That to develop and implement innovative programs to insure the dignity and independence of our elderly citizens is essential to insure and protect their rights;
(3) That upgrading and maintenance of services and programs pertaining to our elderly citizens deserves priority consideration as a means of preventing ineffective responses to their health, safety and welfare needs;
(4) That the establishment of a department of state government to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of elderly citizens is the most effective way to insure that they are better prepared and equipped to lead productive and meaningful lives; and
(5) The abuse of elderly persons is a social and moral problem in our state and nationally and the state has a responsibility to provide protection to vulnerable elderly persons who are abused and/or neglected. The legislature recognizes that reports of elder abuse have grown significantly and are reaching alarming proportions and that there is an immediate need to clarify and strengthen the state's role and responsibilities in the prevention and alleviation of elder abuse.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-2. Establishment of department – Director.||There is established within the executive branch of state government a department of elderly affairs. The head of the department shall be the director of elderly affairs, who shall be a person qualified by training and experience to perform the duties of the office. The director shall be in the unclassified service, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and until the appointment and qualification of the director's successor. The director shall receive a salary as provided by law.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-3. Transfer of functions from the department of community affairs.||There are transferred to the director of the department of elderly affairs:|
(1) Those duties with respect to elderly citizens as enacted by former §§ 42-44-9 and 42-44-10;
(2) So much of other functions or parts of functions of the director of the department of community affairs; provided, however, that those duties with respect to housing facilities, projects, and programs for the elderly shall be within the jurisdiction of the governor's office of intergovernmental relations; and
(3) Whenever in the general laws or in any public law the words "administration of division of aging," "division on aging" and "director and/or department of community affairs" shall appear in relation to elderly affairs, the reference shall be deemed to mean and include the director and the department of elderly affairs, as the case may be.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-4. Duties of the division.||(a) The division shall be the principal agency of the state to mobilize the human, physical, and financial resources available to plan, develop, and implement innovative programs to ensure the dignity and independence of elderly persons, including the planning, development, and implementation of a home and long-term-care program for the elderly in the communities of the state.|
(b)(1) The division shall serve as an advocate for the needs of the adult with a disability as these needs and services overlap the needs and services of elderly persons.
(2) The division shall serve as the state's central agency for the administration and coordination of a long-term-care entry system, using community-based access points, that will provide the following services related to long-term care: information and referral; initial screening for service and benefits eligibility; and a uniform assessment program for state-supported long-term care.
(3) The division shall investigate reports of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect and shall provide and/or coordinate protective services.
(c) To accomplish these objectives, the director is authorized:
(1) To provide assistance to communities in solving local problems with regard to elderly persons including, but not limited to, problems in identifying and coordinating local resources to serve the needs of elderly persons;
(2) To facilitate communications and the free flow of information between communities and the offices, agencies, and employees of the state;
(3) To encourage and assist communities, agencies, and state departments to plan, develop, and implement home- and long-term care programs;
(4) To provide and act as a clearinghouse for information, data, and other materials relative to elderly persons;
(5) To initiate and carry out studies and analyses that will aid in solving local, regional, and statewide problems concerning elderly persons;
(6) To coordinate those programs of other state agencies designed to assist in the solution of local, regional, and statewide problems concerning elderly persons;
(7) To advise and inform the governor on the affairs and problems of elderly persons in the state;
(8) To exercise the powers and discharge the duties assigned to the director in the fields of health care, nutrition, homemaker services, geriatric day care, economic opportunity, local and regional planning, transportation, and education and pre-retirement programs;
(9) To further the cooperation of local, state, federal, and private agencies and institutions providing for services or having responsibility for elderly persons;
(10) To represent and act on behalf of the state in connection with federal grant programs applicable to programs for elderly persons in the functional areas described in this chapter;
(11) To seek, accept, and otherwise take advantage of all federal aid available to the division, and to assist other agencies of the state, local agencies, and community groups in taking advantage of all federal grants and subventions available for elderly persons and to accept other sources of funds with the approval of the director of administration that shall be deposited as general revenues;
(12) To render advice and assistance to communities and other groups in the preparation and submission of grant applications to state and federal agencies relative to programs for elderly persons;
(13) To review and coordinate those activities of agencies of the state and of any political subdivision of the state at the request of the subdivision, that affect the full and fair utilization of community resources for programs for elderly persons, and initiate programs that will help ensure such utilization;
(14) To encourage the formation of councils on aging and to assist local communities in the development of the councils;
(15) To promote and coordinate day-care facilities for the frail elderly who are in need of supportive care and supervision during the daytime;
(16) To provide and coordinate the delivery of in-home services to the elderly, as defined under the rules and regulations adopted by the division of elderly affairs;
(17) To advise and inform the public of the risks of accidental hypothermia;
(18) To establish a clearinghouse for information and education of the elderly citizens of the state, including, but not limited to, and subject to available funding, a web-based caregiver support information center;
(19) To establish and operate, in collaboration with community and aging service agencies, a statewide family-caregiver resource network to provide and coordinate family-caregiver training and support services to include counseling and elder caregiver respite services, which shall be subject to available funding, and include home health/homemaker care, adult day services, assisted living, and nursing facility care;
(20) To supervise the citizens' commission for the safety and care of the elderly created pursuant to the provisions of chapter 1.4 of title 12.
(d) In order to assist in the discharge of the duties of the division, the director may request from any agency of the state information pertinent to the affairs and problems of elderly persons.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-4.1. Definitions.||As used in this chapter:|
(1) "Abuse" means physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abuse of an elderly person by a caregiver as defined in subsection (5).
(a) "Physical Abuse" means the willful infliction of physical pain or injury (e.g. slapping, bruising or restraining) upon an elderly person.
(b) "Sexual Abuse" means the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind upon an elderly person. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, sexual misuse or exploitation of an elder, as well as threats of sexual abuse where the perpetrator has the intent and the capacity to carry out the threatened abuse.
(c) "Emotional Abuse" means a pattern of willful infliction of mental or emotional harm upon an elder by threat, intimidation, isolation or other abusive conduct.
(2) "Exploitation" means the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized or improper act or process of an individual, including, but not limited to, a caregiver or fiduciary, that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, gain, or that results in depriving an elder of rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets by use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretenses.
(3) "Neglect" means the willful failure by a caregiver or other person with a duty of care to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental harm or mental illness to an elderly person, including, but not limited to, "abandonment" (withdrawal of necessary assistance) and denial of food or health related services.
(4) "Willful" means intentional, conscious and directed toward achieving a purpose.
(5) "Caregiver" means a person who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the elderly person voluntarily, by contract or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or who is otherwise legally responsible for the care of the elderly person.
(6) "Self-Neglect" means a pattern of behavior in an elderly person that directly, imminently and significantly threatens his/her own health and/or, safety. Self-neglect includes, but is not limited to, an inability or an incapacity to provide self with food, water, shelter, or safety to the point of establishing imminent risk of any of the harm(s) described in the immediately preceding sentence.
(7) "Protective services" means services and/or action intended to prevent and/or alleviate the abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect of elderly persons. Protective services may include supervision, counseling, and assistance in securing health and supportive services, safe living accommodations and legal intervention.
(8) "Elderly person" or "elder" means any person sixty (60) years of age or older.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-5. Divisions of department.||There shall be within the department of elderly affairs a division of program planning, development and operations and a division of community services.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-6. Administrative units.||The director may from time to time, subject to appropriation, establish within the department those administrative units that may be necessary for its efficient and economical administration and, when necessary for that purpose, the director may abolish or merge any two (2) or more administrative units. The director shall prepare and keep current a statement of the organization of the department, of the assignment of functions to its various divisions, units, and employees, and of the places at which and the methods by which the public may receive information or make requests.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-7. Advisory commission on aging.||(a) Within the department of elderly affairs there shall be an advisory commission on aging consisting of twenty-five (25) members, four (4) of whom shall be from the general assembly as hereinafter provided, and twenty-one (21) of whom shall be appointed by the governor, thirteen (13) of whom shall be elderly consumers representative of that segment of the population. In the case of members of the commission appointed by the governor, they shall be chosen and shall hold office for three (3) years, except that in the original appointments, seven (7) members shall be designated to serve for one year, seven (7) members shall be designated to serve for two (2) years and seven (7) members shall be designated to serve for three (3) years, respectively, and until their respective successors are appointed and qualified. In the month of February in each year the governor shall appoint successors to the members of the commission whose terms shall expire in such year to hold office until the first day of March in the third year after their appointment and until their respective successors are appointed and qualified.|
(b) The four (4) members from the general assembly shall be appointed, two (2) from the house of representatives by the speaker, one from each of the two (2) major political parties, and two (2) from the senate by the president of the senate, one each from the two (2) major political parties, each to serve until the thirty-first day of December in the second year of the term to which the member has been elected. Any vacancy, which may occur in the commission, shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment, for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(c) The members of the commission at the first meeting shall elect a chairperson and such other officers as they may deem necessary. The commission shall meet at the call of the governor or the chairperson and shall make suggestions to and advise the governor or the director concerning the policies and problems confronting the aged and aging of the state. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be compensated for their necessary and actual traveling expenses in the performance of their official duties.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-8. Abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect of elderly persons – Duty to report.||Any person who has reasonable cause to believe that any person sixty (60) years of age or older has been abused, neglected, or exploited, or is self-neglecting, shall make an immediate report to the director of the department of elderly affairs, or his or her designee, or appropriate law enforcement personnel. In cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, any person who fails to make the report shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). Nothing in this section shall require an elder who is a victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation or who is self-neglecting, to make a report regarding such abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect to the director or his or her designee or appropriate law enforcement personnel.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-8.1. Abuse of elderly persons – Telephone line.||The director shall provide, for the use of the general public, a statewide toll free, twenty-four (24) hour a day, seven (7) days a week telephone line, to report abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect of the elderly.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-8.2. Abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect of elderly persons – Investigation of reports.||(a) The director of the department shall cause the report to be investigated immediately to determine the circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect and its cause. The investigation shall include personal contact with the elder victim named in the report. Any person required to investigate reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-neglect may question the subjects of those reports with or without the consent of the caretaker, guardian, conservator, person possessing a power of attorney given by the subject or other person responsible for the elderly person's welfare.|
(b) In cases of reported abuse, neglect and exploitation, when deemed by the investigator or other person responsible for the investigation of the report to be in the best interests of the alleged victim, the interview of the alleged victim(s) shall take place in the absence of the caretaker, guardian, conservator, person possessing a power of attorney given by the subject or other person responsible for the elderly person's welfare, or any other person allegedly responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(c) In the event that any person required to investigate those reports is denied reasonable access to an elderly subject of the report by the caretaker, guardian, conservator, person possessing a power of attorney given by the subject or other person responsible for the elderly person's welfare and the investigator determines that the best interests of the elder require, the investigator with the approval of the director may request the intervention of the local law enforcement agency to secure reasonable access to the elderly subject of the report.
(d) In the event that after investigation, the department has reasonable cause to know or suspect that a person sixty (60) years of age or older has been a victim of: (1) an "assault" as defined in chapter 5 of title 11; or, (2) an "assault" as defined in chapter 37 of title 11; or, (3) an offense under chapter 10 of title 11, or has been a victim of "exploitation" as defined in this chapter, the investigator, with the approval of the director, shall immediately forward that information to the local law enforcement agency.
(e) When it is determined after investigation that protective services are necessary, the department shall develop a protective services care plan and coordinate, in conjunction with existing public and private agencies and departments, available and existing services as are needed by the person abused, neglected, exploited or self-neglecting. In developing the protective services care plan, the elderly person's rights to self-determination and lifestyle preferences commensurate with his or her needs shall be of prime consideration. If the elderly person withdraws consent or refuses to accept protective services, the services shall not be provided.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-9. Obstruction of provision of services.||(a) No person shall obstruct the provision of available and existing services to a person sixty (60) years of age or older who has been abused, neglected, exploited or who is self-neglecting. For the purposes of this section, "obstruction" shall mean threats, intimidation, assaults and/or abuse, whether physical or emotional, made with the intent to prevent or dissuade the recipient or proposed recipient from accepting, requesting, and/or receiving services available under § 42-66-8. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500).|
(b) However, nothing in this chapter is construed to mean a person is abused, neglected, exploited or is self-neglecting for the sole reason that person is being furnished or relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a church or religious denomination recognized by the laws of this state.
(c) No person shall deny access to a person sixty (60) years of age or older who is alleged to be a victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation or who is self-neglecting, while the staff person is investigating a report made under this chapter.
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-10. Confidentiality of records.||Any records of the department or other agency pertaining to a person reported to be abused, neglected, exploited or self-neglecting shall be confidential. The records shall not be deemed public and shall be considered records under § 38-2-2(4)(i). The director may, however, disclose to the attorney general, any local state; or federal police officials, appropriate courts, state departments, public or private agencies, or medical personnel, pertinent information that is necessary to investigate reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect, the coordination of needed services, the protection of the elderly victim or criminal prosecution.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-11. Immunity from liability.||Any person participating in good faith in making a report pursuant to § 42-66-8, excluding any perpetrator or conspirator of those acts, has immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.|
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-12. Transfer of powers and functions from department of elderly affairs.||There are transferred to the department of administration:|
(1) Those functions of the department of elderly affairs which were administered through or with respect to departmental programs in the performance of strategic planning as defined in § 42-11-10(c);
(2) All officers, employees, agencies, advisory councils, committees, commissions and task forces of the department of elderly affairs who were performing strategic planning functions as defined in § 42-11-10(c); and
(3) So much of other functions or parts of functions and employees and resources, physical and funded, related to these of the director of elderly affairs as are incidental to and necessary for the performance of the functions transferred by subdivisions (1) and (2).
|R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-66-17. Disclosure of financial interest.||(a) Any licensed or certified adult day care program which refers clients to any health care facility licensed pursuant to chapter 17 of title 23 or to a residential care/assisted living facility licensed pursuant to chapter 17.4 of title 23 or to a licensed/certified adult day care program which the referring entity has a financial interest shall, at the time a referral is made, disclose the following information to the client: (1) that the referring entity has a financial interest in the facility or provider to which the referral is being made; (2) that the client has the option of seeking care from a different facility or provider which is also licensed and/or certified by the state to provide similar services to the client.|
The referring entity shall also offer the client a written list prepared by the department of all such alternative licensed and/or certified facilities or providers.
(b) Non-compliance with this section shall constitute grounds to revoke, suspend or otherwise discipline the licensee or to deny an application for licensure by the director, or may result in imposition of an administrative penalty in accordance with chapter 17.10 of title 23.