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Chapter 74.34 RCW

ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

RCW Sections

74.34.005Findings.
74.34.020Definitions.
74.34.025Limitation on recovery for protective services and benefits.
74.34.035Reports -- Mandated and permissive -- Contents -- Confidentiality.
74.34.040Reports -- Contents -- Identity confidential.
74.34.050Immunity from liability.
74.34.053Failure to report -- False reports -- Penalties.
74.34.063Response to reports -- Timing -- Reports to law enforcement agencies -- Notification to licensing authority.
74.34.067Investigations -- Interviews -- Ongoing case planning -- Agreements with tribes -- Conclusion of investigation.
74.34.068Investigation results -- Report -- Rules.
74.34.070Cooperative agreements for services.
74.34.080Injunctions.
74.34.090Data collection system -- Confidentiality.
74.34.095Confidential information--Disclosure.
74.34.110Protection of vulnerable adults -- Petition for protective order.
74.34.115Protection of vulnerable adults -- Administrative office of the courts -- Standard petition -- Order for protection -- Standard notice -- Court staff handbook.
74.34.120Protection of vulnerable adults -- Hearing.
74.34.130Protection of vulnerable adults -- Judicial relief.
74.34.135Protection of vulnerable adults -- Filings by others--Dismissal of petition or order -- Testimony or evidence -- Additional evidentiary hearings -- Temporary order.
74.34.140Protection of vulnerable adults -- Execution of protective order.
74.34.145Protection of vulnerable adults -- Notice of criminal penalties for violation -- Enforcement under RCW 26.50.110.
74.34.150Protection of vulnerable adults -- Department may seek relief.
74.34.160Protection of vulnerable adults -- Proceedings are supplemental.
74.34.163Application to modify or vacate order.
74.34.165Rules.
74.34.170Services of department discretionary -- Funding.
74.34.180Retaliation against whistleblowers and residents -- Remedies -- Rules.
74.34.200Abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult -- Cause of action for damages -- Legislative intent.
74.34.205Abandonment, abuse, or neglect -- Exceptions.
74.34.210Order for protection or action for damages -- Standing -- Jurisdiction.
74.34.215Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
74.34.220Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults -- Training -- Reporting.
74.34.300Vulnerable adult fatality reviews.
74.34.305Statement to vulnerable adults.
74.34.310Service of process or filing fees prohibited -- Certified copies.
74.34.900Severability -- 1984 c 97.
74.34.901Severability -- 1986 c 187.
74.34.902Construction -- Chapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships -- 2009 c 521.

Notes:

Domestic violence prevention, authority of department of social and health services to seek relief on behalf of vulnerable adults: RCW 26.50.021.

Patients in nursing homes and hospitals, abuse: Chapter 70.124 RCW.



74.34.005
Findings.

The legislature finds and declares that:

     (1) Some adults are vulnerable and may be subjected to abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or abandonment by a family member, care provider, or other person who has a relationship with the vulnerable adult;

     (2) A vulnerable adult may be home bound or otherwise unable to represent himself or herself in court or to retain legal counsel in order to obtain the relief available under this chapter or other protections offered through the courts;

     (3) A vulnerable adult may lack the ability to perform or obtain those services necessary to maintain his or her well-being because he or she lacks the capacity for consent;

     (4) A vulnerable adult may have health problems that place him or her in a dependent position;

     (5) The department and appropriate agencies must be prepared to receive reports of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of vulnerable adults;

     (6) The department must provide protective services in the least restrictive environment appropriate and available to the vulnerable adult.

[1999 c 176 § 2.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose--1999 c 176: "The legislature finds that the provisions for the protection of vulnerable adults found in chapters 26.44, 70.124, and 74.34 RCW contain different definitions for abandonment, abuse, exploitation, and neglect. The legislature finds that combining the sections of these chapters that pertain to the protection of vulnerable adults would better serve this state's population of vulnerable adults. The purpose of chapter 74.34 RCW is to provide the department and law enforcement agencies with the authority to investigate complaints of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of vulnerable adults and to provide protective services and legal remedies to protect these vulnerable adults." [1999 c 176 § 1.]

     Severability -- 1999 c 176: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1999 c 176 § 36.]

     Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: "If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and this finding does not affect the operation of the remainder of this act in its application to the agencies concerned. Rules adopted under this act must meet federal requirements that are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state." [1999 c 176 § 37.]




74.34.020
Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

     (1) "Abandonment" means action or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care for a vulnerable adult that leaves the vulnerable person without the means or ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or health care.

     (2) "Abuse" means the willful action or inaction that inflicts injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment on a vulnerable adult. In instances of abuse of a vulnerable adult who is unable to express or demonstrate physical harm, pain, or mental anguish, the abuse is presumed to cause physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. Abuse includes sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, which have the following meanings:

     (a) "Sexual abuse" means any form of nonconsensual sexual contact, including but not limited to unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sodomy, sexual coercion, sexually explicit photographing, and sexual harassment. Sexual abuse includes any sexual contact between a staff person, who is not also a resident or client, of a facility or a staff person of a program authorized under chapter
71A.12 RCW, and a vulnerable adult living in that facility or receiving service from a program authorized under chapter 71A.12 RCW, whether or not it is consensual.

     (b) "Physical abuse" means the willful action of inflicting bodily injury or physical mistreatment. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, striking with or without an object, slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, prodding, or the use of chemical restraints or physical restraints unless the restraints are consistent with licensing requirements, and includes restraints that are otherwise being used inappropriately.

     (c) "Mental abuse" means any willful action or inaction of mental or verbal abuse. Mental abuse includes, but is not limited to, coercion, harassment, inappropriately isolating a vulnerable adult from family, friends, or regular activity, and verbal assault that includes ridiculing, intimidating, yelling, or swearing.

     (d) "Exploitation" means an act of forcing, compelling, or exerting undue influence over a vulnerable adult causing the vulnerable adult to act in a way that is inconsistent with relevant past behavior, or causing the vulnerable adult to perform services for the benefit of another.

     (3) "Consent" means express written consent granted after the vulnerable adult or his or her legal representative has been fully informed of the nature of the services to be offered and that the receipt of services is voluntary.

     (4) "Department" means the department of social and health services.

     (5) "Facility" means a residence licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 18.20 RCW, assisted living facilities; chapter 18.51 RCW, nursing homes; chapter 70.128 RCW, adult family homes; chapter 72.36 RCW, soldiers' homes; or chapter 71A.20 RCW, residential habilitation centers; or any other facility licensed or certified by the department.

     (6) "Financial exploitation" means the illegal or improper use, control over, or withholding of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult by any person or entity for any person's or entity's profit or advantage other than for the vulnerable adult's profit or advantage. "Financial exploitation" includes, but is not limited to:

     (a) The use of deception, intimidation, or undue influence by a person or entity in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult to obtain or use the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult;

     (b) The breach of a fiduciary duty, including, but not limited to, the misuse of a power of attorney, trust, or a guardianship appointment, that results in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the property, income, resources, or trust funds of the vulnerable adult for the benefit of a person or entity other than the vulnerable adult; or

     (c) Obtaining or using a vulnerable adult's property, income, resources, or trust funds without lawful authority, by a person or entity who knows or clearly should know that the vulnerable adult lacks the capacity to consent to the release or use of his or her property, income, resources, or trust funds.

     (7) "Financial institution" has the same meaning as in *RCW 30.22.040 and 30.22.041. For purposes of this chapter only, "financial institution" also means a "broker-dealer" or "investment adviser" as defined in RCW 21.20.005.

     (8) "Incapacitated person" means a person who is at a significant risk of personal or financial harm under RCW 11.88.010(1) (a), (b), (c), or (d).

     (9) "Individual provider" means a person under contract with the department to provide services in the home under chapter 74.09 or 74.39A RCW.

     (10) "Interested person" means a person who demonstrates to the court's satisfaction that the person is interested in the welfare of the vulnerable adult, that the person has a good faith belief that the court's intervention is necessary, and that the vulnerable adult is unable, due to incapacity, undue influence, or duress at the time the petition is filed, to protect his or her own interests.

     (11) "Mandated reporter" is an employee of the department; law enforcement officer; social worker; professional school personnel; individual provider; an employee of a facility; an operator of a facility; an employee of a social service, welfare, mental health, adult day health, adult day care, home health, home care, or hospice agency; county coroner or medical examiner; Christian Science practitioner; or health care provider subject to chapter 18.130 RCW.

     (12) "Neglect" means (a) a pattern of conduct or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care that fails to provide the goods and services that maintain physical or mental health of a vulnerable adult, or that fails to avoid or prevent physical or mental harm or pain to a vulnerable adult; or (b) an act or omission by a person or entity with a duty of care that demonstrates a serious disregard of consequences of such a magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to the vulnerable adult's health, welfare, or safety, including but not limited to conduct prohibited under RCW 9A.42.100.

     (13) "Permissive reporter" means any person, including, but not limited to, an employee of a financial institution, attorney, or volunteer in a facility or program providing services for vulnerable adults.

     (14) "Protective services" means any services provided by the department to a vulnerable adult with the consent of the vulnerable adult, or the legal representative of the vulnerable adult, who has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited, neglected, or in a state of self-neglect. These services may include, but are not limited to case management, social casework, home care, placement, arranging for medical evaluations, psychological evaluations, day care, or referral for legal assistance.

     (15) "Self-neglect" means the failure of a vulnerable adult, not living in a facility, to provide for himself or herself the goods and services necessary for the vulnerable adult's physical or mental health, and the absence of which impairs or threatens the vulnerable adult's well-being. This definition may include a vulnerable adult who is receiving services through home health, hospice, or a home care agency, or an individual provider when the neglect is not a result of inaction by that agency or individual provider.

     (16) "Social worker" means:

     (a) A social worker as defined in RCW 18.320.010(2); or

     (b) Anyone engaged in a professional capacity during the regular course of employment in encouraging or promoting the health, welfare, support, or education of vulnerable adults, or providing social services to vulnerable adults, whether in an individual capacity or as an employee or agent of any public or private organization or institution.

     (17) "Vulnerable adult" includes a person:

     (a) Sixty years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for himself or herself; or

     (b) Found incapacitated under chapter 11.88 RCW; or

     (c) Who has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020; or

     (d) Admitted to any facility; or

     (e) Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW; or

     (f) Receiving services from an individual provider; or

     (g) Who self-directs his or her own care and receives services from a personal aide under chapter 74.39 RCW.

[2013 c 263 § 1; 2012 c 10 § 62. Prior: 2011 c 170 § 1; 2011 c 89 § 18; 2010 c 133 § 2; 2007 c 312 § 1; 2006 c 339 § 109; 2003 c 230 § 1; 1999 c 176 § 3; 1997 c 392 § 523; 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 84; 1984 c 97 § 8.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: RCW 30.22.040 and 30.22.041 were recodified as RCW 30A.22.040 and 30A.22.041, respectively, pursuant to 2014 c 37 § 4, effective January 5, 2015.

     Application -- 2012 c 10: See note following RCW 18.20.010.

     Effective date -- 2011 c 89: See note following RCW 18.320.005.

     Findings -- 2011 c 89: See RCW 18.320.005.

     Intent -- Part headings not law -- 2006 c 339: See notes following RCW 70.96A.325.

     Effective date -- 2003 c 230: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 12, 2003]." [2003 c 230 § 3.]

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Short title -- Findings -- Construction -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings and captions not law -- 1997 c 392: See notes following RCW 74.39A.009.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.




74.34.025
Limitation on recovery for protective services and benefits.

The cost of benefits and services provided to a vulnerable adult under this chapter with state funds only does not constitute an obligation or lien and is not recoverable from the recipient of the services or from the recipient's estate, whether by lien, adjustment, or any other means of recovery.

[1999 c 176 § 4; 1997 c 392 § 304.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Short title -- Findings -- Construction -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings and captions not law -- 1997 c 392: See notes following RCW 74.39A.009.




74.34.035
Reports — Mandated and permissive — Contents — Confidentiality.

(1) When there is reasonable cause to believe that abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred, mandated reporters shall immediately report to the department.

     (2) When there is reason to suspect that sexual assault has occurred, mandated reporters shall immediately report to the appropriate law enforcement agency and to the department.

     (3) When there is reason to suspect that physical assault has occurred or there is reasonable cause to believe that an act has caused fear of imminent harm:

     (a) Mandated reporters shall immediately report to the department; and

     (b) Mandated reporters shall immediately report to the appropriate law enforcement agency, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section.

     (4) A mandated reporter is not required to report to a law enforcement agency, unless requested by the injured vulnerable adult or his or her legal representative or family member, an incident of physical assault between vulnerable adults that causes minor bodily injury and does not require more than basic first aid, unless:

     (a) The injury appears on the back, face, head, neck, chest, breasts, groin, inner thigh, buttock, genital, or anal area;

     (b) There is a fracture;

     (c) There is a pattern of physical assault between the same vulnerable adults or involving the same vulnerable adults; or

     (d) There is an attempt to choke a vulnerable adult.

     (5) When there is reason to suspect that the death of a vulnerable adult was caused by abuse, neglect, or abandonment by another person, mandated reporters shall, pursuant to RCW
68.50.020, report the death to the medical examiner or coroner having jurisdiction, as well as the department and local law enforcement, in the most expeditious manner possible. A mandated reporter is not relieved from the reporting requirement provisions of this subsection by the existence of a previously signed death certificate. If abuse, neglect, or abandonment caused or contributed to the death of a vulnerable adult, the death is a death caused by unnatural or unlawful means, and the body shall be the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner pursuant to RCW 68.50.010.

     (6) Permissive reporters may report to the department or a law enforcement agency when there is reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is being or has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited, or neglected.

     (7) No facility, as defined by this chapter, agency licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, or facility or agency under contract with the department to provide care for vulnerable adults may develop policies or procedures that interfere with the reporting requirements of this chapter.

     (8) Each report, oral or written, must contain as much as possible of the following information:

     (a) The name and address of the person making the report;

     (b) The name and address of the vulnerable adult and the name of the facility or agency providing care for the vulnerable adult;

     (c) The name and address of the legal guardian or alternate decision maker;

     (d) The nature and extent of the abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect;

     (e) Any history of previous abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect;

     (f) The identity of the alleged perpetrator, if known; and

     (g) Other information that may be helpful in establishing the extent of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or the cause of death of the deceased vulnerable adult.

     (9) Unless there is a judicial proceeding or the person consents, the identity of the person making the report under this section is confidential.

     (10) In conducting an investigation of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, self-neglect, or neglect, the department or law enforcement, upon request, must have access to all relevant records related to the vulnerable adult that are in the possession of mandated reporters and their employees, unless otherwise prohibited by law. Records maintained under RCW 4.24.250, 18.20.390, 43.70.510, 70.41.200, 70.230.080, and 74.42.640 shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection. Providing access to records relevant to an investigation by the department or law enforcement under this provision may not be deemed a violation of any confidential communication privilege. Access to any records that would violate attorney-client privilege shall not be provided without a court order unless otherwise required by court rule or caselaw.

[2013 c 263 § 2; 2010 c 133 § 4; 2003 c 230 § 2; 1999 c 176 § 5.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2003 c 230: See note following RCW 74.34.020.

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.040
Reports — Contents — Identity confidential.

The reports made under *RCW 74.34.030 shall contain the following information if known:

     (1) Identification of the vulnerable adult;

     (2) The nature and extent of the suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment;

     (3) Evidence of previous abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment;

     (4) The name and address of the person making the report; and

     (5) Any other helpful information.

     Unless there is a judicial proceeding or the person consents, the identity of the person making the report is confidential.

[1986 c 187 § 2; 1984 c 97 § 10.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: RCW 74.34.030 was repealed by 1999 c 176 § 35.




74.34.050
Immunity from liability.

(1) A person participating in good faith in making a report under this chapter or testifying about alleged abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, or self-neglect of a vulnerable adult in a judicial or administrative proceeding under this chapter is immune from liability resulting from the report or testimony. The making of permissive reports as allowed in this chapter does not create any duty to report and no civil liability shall attach for any failure to make a permissive report as allowed under this chapter.

     (2) Conduct conforming with the reporting and testifying provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed a violation of any confidential communication privilege. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as superseding or abridging remedies provided in chapter
4.92 RCW.

[1999 c 176 § 6; 1997 c 386 § 34; 1986 c 187 § 3; 1984 c 97 § 11.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Application -- Effective date -- 1997 c 386: See notes following RCW 13.50.010.




74.34.053
Failure to report — False reports — Penalties.

(1) A person who is required to make a report under this chapter and who knowingly fails to make the report is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

     (2) A person who intentionally, maliciously, or in bad faith makes a false report of alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult is guilty of a misdemeanor.

[1999 c 176 § 7.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.063
Response to reports — Timing — Reports to law enforcement agencies — Notification to licensing authority.

(1) The department shall initiate a response to a report, no later than twenty-four hours after knowledge of the report, of suspected abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect of a vulnerable adult.

     (2) When the initial report or investigation by the department indicates that the alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect may be criminal, the department shall make an immediate report to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The department and law enforcement will coordinate in investigating reports made under this chapter. The department may provide protective services and other remedies as specified in this chapter.

     (3) The law enforcement agency or the department shall report the incident in writing to the proper county prosecutor or city attorney for appropriate action whenever the investigation reveals that a crime may have been committed.

     (4) The department and law enforcement may share information contained in reports and findings of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect of vulnerable adults, consistent with RCW
74.04.060, chapter 42.56 RCW, and other applicable confidentiality laws.

     (5) The department shall notify the proper licensing authority concerning any report received under this chapter that alleges that a person who is professionally licensed, certified, or registered under Title 18 RCW has abandoned, abused, financially exploited, or neglected a vulnerable adult.

[2005 c 274 § 354; 1999 c 176 § 8.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Effective date -- 2005 c 274: See RCW 42.56.901 and 42.56.902.

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.067
Investigations — Interviews — Ongoing case planning — Agreements with tribes — Conclusion of investigation.

(1) Where appropriate, an investigation by the department may include a private interview with the vulnerable adult regarding the alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.

     (2) In conducting the investigation, the department shall interview the complainant, unless anonymous, and shall use its best efforts to interview the vulnerable adult or adults harmed, and, consistent with the protection of the vulnerable adult shall interview facility staff, any available independent sources of relevant information, including if appropriate the family members of the vulnerable adult.

     (3) The department may conduct ongoing case planning and consultation with: (a) Those persons or agencies required to report under this chapter or submit a report under this chapter; (b) consultants designated by the department; and (c) designated representatives of Washington Indian tribes if client information exchanged is pertinent to cases under investigation or the provision of protective services. Information considered privileged by statute and not directly related to reports required by this chapter must not be divulged without a valid written waiver of the privilege.

     (4) The department shall prepare and keep on file a report of each investigation conducted by the department for a period of time in accordance with policies established by the department.

     (5) If the department has reason to believe that the vulnerable adult has suffered from abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, and lacks the ability or capacity to consent, and needs the protection of a guardian, the department may bring a guardianship action under chapter
11.88 RCW.

     (6) For purposes consistent with this chapter, the department, the certified professional guardian board, and the office of public guardianship may share information contained in reports and investigations of the abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. This information may be used solely for (a) recruiting or appointing appropriate guardians and (b) monitoring, or when appropriate, disciplining certified professional or public guardians. Reports of abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation are confidential under RCW 74.34.095 and other laws, and secondary disclosure of information shared under this section is prohibited.

     (7) When the investigation is completed and the department determines that an incident of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect has occurred, the department shall inform the vulnerable adult of their right to refuse protective services, and ensure that, if necessary, appropriate protective services are provided to the vulnerable adult, with the consent of the vulnerable adult. The vulnerable adult has the right to withdraw or refuse protective services.

     (8) The department's adult protective services division may enter into agreements with federally recognized tribes to investigate reports of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults on property over which a federally recognized tribe has exclusive jurisdiction. If the department has information that abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect is criminal or is placing a vulnerable adult on tribal property at potential risk of personal or financial harm, the department may notify tribal law enforcement or another tribal representative specified by the tribe. Upon receipt of the notification, the tribe may assume jurisdiction of the matter. Neither the department nor its employees may participate in the investigation after the tribe assumes jurisdiction. The department, its officers, and its employees are not liable for any action or inaction of the tribe or for any harm to the alleged victim, the person against whom the allegations were made, or other parties that occurs after the tribe assumes jurisdiction. Nothing in this section limits the department's jurisdiction and authority over facilities or entities that the department licenses or certifies under federal or state law.

     (9) The department may photograph a vulnerable adult or their environment for the purpose of providing documentary evidence of the physical condition of the vulnerable adult or his or her environment. When photographing the vulnerable adult, the department shall obtain permission from the vulnerable adult or his or her legal representative unless immediate photographing is necessary to preserve evidence. However, if the legal representative is alleged to have abused, neglected, abandoned, or exploited the vulnerable adult, consent from the legal representative is not necessary. No such consent is necessary when photographing the physical environment.

     (10) When the investigation is complete and the department determines that the incident of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect has occurred, the department shall inform the facility in which the incident occurred, consistent with confidentiality requirements concerning the vulnerable adult, witnesses, and complainants.

[2013 c 263 § 3; 2011 c 170 § 2; 2007 c 312 § 2; 1999 c 176 § 9.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.068
Investigation results — Report — Rules. (Effective until April 1, 2016.)

(1) After the investigation is complete, the department may provide a written report of the outcome of the investigation to an agency or program described in this subsection when the department determines from its investigation that an incident of abuse, abandonment, financial exploitation, or neglect occurred. Agencies or programs that may be provided this report are home health, hospice, or home care agencies, or after January 1, 2002, any in-home services agency licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, a program authorized under chapter 71A.12 RCW, an adult day care or day health program, regional support networks authorized under chapter 71.24 RCW, or other agencies. The report may contain the name of the vulnerable adult and the alleged perpetrator. The report shall not disclose the identity of the person who made the report or any witness without the written permission of the reporter or witness. The department shall notify the alleged perpetrator regarding the outcome of the investigation. The name of the vulnerable adult must not be disclosed during this notification.

     (2) The department may also refer a report or outcome of an investigation to appropriate state or local governmental authorities responsible for licensing or certification of the agencies or programs listed in subsection (1) of this section.

     (3) The department shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

[2001 c 233 § 2.]

Notes:

     Finding -- 2001 c 233: "The legislature recognizes that vulnerable adults, while living in their own homes, may be abused, neglected, financially exploited, or abandoned by individuals entrusted to provide care for them. The individuals who abuse, neglect, financially exploit, or abandon vulnerable adults may be employed by, under contract with, or volunteering for an agency or program providing care for vulnerable adults. The legislature has given the department of social and health services the responsibility to investigate complaints of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of vulnerable adults and to provide protective services and other legal remedies to protect these vulnerable adults. The legislature finds that in order to continue to protect vulnerable adults, the department of social and health services be given the authority to release report information and to release the results of an investigation to the agency or program with which the individual investigated is employed, contracted, or engaged as a volunteer." [2001 c 233 § 1.]

     

74.34.068
Investigation results — Report — Rules. (Effective April 1, 2016.)

(1) After the investigation is complete, the department may provide a written report of the outcome of the investigation to an agency or program described in this subsection when the department determines from its investigation that an incident of abuse, abandonment, financial exploitation, or neglect occurred. Agencies or programs that may be provided this report are home health, hospice, or home care agencies, or after January 1, 2002, any in-home services agency licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, a program authorized under chapter 71A.12 RCW, an adult day care or day health program, behavioral health organizations authorized under chapter 71.24 RCW, or other agencies. The report may contain the name of the vulnerable adult and the alleged perpetrator. The report shall not disclose the identity of the person who made the report or any witness without the written permission of the reporter or witness. The department shall notify the alleged perpetrator regarding the outcome of the investigation. The name of the vulnerable adult must not be disclosed during this notification.

     (2) The department may also refer a report or outcome of an investigation to appropriate state or local governmental authorities responsible for licensing or certification of the agencies or programs listed in subsection (1) of this section.

     (3) The department shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

[2014 c 225 § 103; 2001 c 233 § 2.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2014 c 225: See note following RCW 71.24.016.

     Finding -- 2001 c 233: "The legislature recognizes that vulnerable adults, while living in their own homes, may be abused, neglected, financially exploited, or abandoned by individuals entrusted to provide care for them. The individuals who abuse, neglect, financially exploit, or abandon vulnerable adults may be employed by, under contract with, or volunteering for an agency or program providing care for vulnerable adults. The legislature has given the department of social and health services the responsibility to investigate complaints of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of vulnerable adults and to provide protective services and other legal remedies to protect these vulnerable adults. The legislature finds that in order to continue to protect vulnerable adults, the department of social and health services be given the authority to release report information and to release the results of an investigation to the agency or program with which the individual investigated is employed, contracted, or engaged as a volunteer." [2001 c 233 § 1.]




74.34.070
Cooperative agreements for services.

The department may develop cooperative agreements with community-based agencies providing services for vulnerable adults. The agreements shall cover: (1) The appropriate roles and responsibilities of the department and community-based agencies in identifying and responding to reports of alleged abuse; (2) the provision of case-management services; (3) standardized data collection procedures; and (4) related coordination activities.

[1999 c 176 § 10; 1997 c 386 § 35; 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 87; 1984 c 97 § 13.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.




74.34.080
Injunctions.

If access is denied to an employee of the department seeking to investigate an allegation of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult by an individual, the department may seek an injunction to prevent interference with the investigation. The court shall issue the injunction if the department shows that:

     (1) There is reasonable cause to believe that the person is a vulnerable adult and is or has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited, or neglected; and

     (2) The employee of the department seeking to investigate the report has been denied access.

[1999 c 176 § 11; 1984 c 97 § 14.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.090
Data collection system — Confidentiality.

The department shall maintain a system for statistical data collection, accessible for bona fide research only as the department by rule prescribes. The identity of any person is strictly confidential.

[1984 c 97 § 15.]




74.34.095
Confidential information — Disclosure.

(1) The following information is confidential and not subject to disclosure, except as provided in this section:

     (a) A report of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect made under this chapter;

     (b) The identity of the person making the report; and

     (c) All files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in the investigation or provision of protective services.

     (2) Information considered confidential may be disclosed only for a purpose consistent with this chapter or as authorized by chapter
18.20, 18.51, or 74.39A RCW, or as authorized by the long-term care ombuds programs under federal law or state law, chapter 43.190 RCW.

     (3) A court or presiding officer in an administrative proceeding may order disclosure of confidential information only if the court, or presiding officer in an administrative proceeding, determines that disclosure is essential to the administration of justice and will not endanger the life or safety of the vulnerable adult or individual who made the report. The court or presiding officer in an administrative hearing may place restrictions on such disclosure as the court or presiding officer deems proper.

[2013 c 23 § 218; 2000 c 87 § 4; 1999 c 176 § 17.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.110
Protection of vulnerable adults — Petition for protective order.

An action known as a petition for an order for protection of a vulnerable adult in cases of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect is created.

     (1) A vulnerable adult, or interested person on behalf of the vulnerable adult, may seek relief from abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect, or the threat thereof, by filing a petition for an order for protection in superior court.

     (2) A petition shall allege that the petitioner, or person on whose behalf the petition is brought, is a vulnerable adult and that the petitioner, or person on whose behalf the petition is brought, has been abandoned, abused, financially exploited, or neglected, or is threatened with abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect by respondent.

     (3) A petition shall be accompanied by affidavit made under oath, or a declaration signed under penalty of perjury, stating the specific facts and circumstances which demonstrate the need for the relief sought. If the petition is filed by an interested person, the affidavit or declaration must also include a statement of why the petitioner qualifies as an interested person.

     (4) A petition for an order may be made whether or not there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other action pending that relates to the issues presented in the petition for an order for protection.

     (5) Within ninety days of receipt of the master copy from the administrative office of the courts, all court clerk's offices shall make available the standardized forms and instructions required by RCW
74.34.115.

     (6) Any assistance or information provided by any person, including, but not limited to, court clerks, employees of the department, and other court facilitators, to another to complete the forms provided by the court in subsection (5) of this section does not constitute the practice of law.

     (7) A petitioner is not required to post bond to obtain relief in any proceeding under this section.

     (8) An action under this section shall be filed in the county where the vulnerable adult resides; except that if the vulnerable adult has left or been removed from the residence as a result of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect, or in order to avoid abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect, the petitioner may bring an action in the county of either the vulnerable adult's previous or new residence.

     (9) No filing fee may be charged to the petitioner for proceedings under this section. Standard forms and written instructions shall be provided free of charge.

[2007 c 312 § 3; 1999 c 176 § 12; 1986 c 187 § 5.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.115
Protection of vulnerable adults — Administrative office of the courts — Standard petition — Order for protection — Standard notice — Court staff handbook.

(1) The administrative office of the courts shall develop and prepare standard petition, temporary order for protection, and permanent order for protection forms, a standard notice form to provide notice to the vulnerable adult if the vulnerable adult is not the petitioner, instructions, and a court staff handbook on the protection order process. The standard petition and order for protection forms must be used after October 1, 2007, for all petitions filed and orders issued under this chapter. The administrative office of the courts, in preparing the instructions, forms, notice, and handbook, may consult with attorneys from the elder law section of the Washington state bar association, judges, the department, the Washington protection and advocacy system, and law enforcement personnel.

     (a) The instructions shall be designed to assist petitioners in completing the petition, and shall include a sample of the standard petition and order for protection forms.

     (b) The order for protection form shall include, in a conspicuous location, notice of criminal penalties resulting from violation of the order.

     (c) The standard notice form shall be designed to explain to the vulnerable adult in clear, plain language the purpose and nature of the petition and that the vulnerable adult has the right to participate in the hearing and to either support or object to the petition.

     (2) The administrative office of the courts shall distribute a master copy of the standard forms, instructions, and court staff handbook to all court clerks and shall distribute a master copy of the standard forms to all superior, district, and municipal courts.

     (3) The administrative office of the courts shall determine the significant non-English-speaking or limited-English-speaking populations in the state. The administrator shall then arrange for translation of the instructions required by this section, which shall contain a sample of the standard forms, into the languages spoken by those significant non-English-speaking populations, and shall distribute a master copy of the translated instructions to all court clerks by December 31, 2007.

     (4) The administrative office of the courts shall update the instructions, standard forms, and court staff handbook when changes in the law make an update necessary. The updates may be made in consultation with the persons and entities specified in subsection (1) of this section.

     (5) For purposes of this section, "court clerks" means court administrators in courts of limited jurisdiction and elected court clerks.

[2007 c 312 § 4.]




74.34.120
Protection of vulnerable adults — Hearing.

(1) The court shall order a hearing on a petition under RCW 74.34.110 not later than fourteen days from the date of filing the petition.

     (2) Personal service shall be made upon the respondent not less than six court days before the hearing. When good faith attempts to personally serve the respondent have been unsuccessful, the court shall permit service by mail or by publication.

     (3) When a petition under RCW 74.34.110 is filed by someone other than the vulnerable adult, notice of the petition and hearing must be personally served upon the vulnerable adult not less than six court days before the hearing. In addition to copies of all pleadings filed by the petitioner, the petitioner shall provide a written notice to the vulnerable adult using the standard notice form developed under RCW 74.34.115. When good faith attempts to personally serve the vulnerable adult have been unsuccessful, the court shall permit service by mail, or by publication if the court determines that personal service and service by mail cannot be obtained.

     (4) If timely service under subsections (2) and (3) of this section cannot be made, the court shall continue the hearing date until the substitute service approved by the court has been satisfied.

     (5)(a) A petitioner may move for temporary relief under chapter 7.40 RCW. The court may continue any temporary order for protection granted under chapter 7.40 RCW until the hearing on a petition under RCW 74.34.110 is held.

     (b) Written notice of the request for temporary relief must be provided to the respondent, and to the vulnerable adult if someone other than the vulnerable adult filed the petition. A temporary protection order may be granted without written notice to the respondent and vulnerable adult if it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or declaration that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage would result to the vulnerable adult before the respondent and vulnerable adult can be served and heard, or that show the respondent and vulnerable adult cannot be served with notice, the efforts made to serve them, and the reasons why prior notice should not be required.

[2007 c 312 § 5; 1986 c 187 § 6.]




74.34.130
Protection of vulnerable adults — Judicial relief.

The court may order relief as it deems necessary for the protection of the vulnerable adult, including, but not limited to the following:

     (1) Restraining respondent from committing acts of abandonment, abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation against the vulnerable adult;

     (2) Excluding the respondent from the vulnerable adult's residence for a specified period or until further order of the court;

     (3) Prohibiting contact with the vulnerable adult by respondent for a specified period or until further order of the court;

     (4) Prohibiting the respondent from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance from a specified location;

     (5) Requiring an accounting by respondent of the disposition of the vulnerable adult's income or other resources;

     (6) Restraining the transfer of the respondent's and/or vulnerable adult's property for a specified period not exceeding ninety days; and

     (7) Requiring the respondent to pay a filing fee and court costs, including service fees, and to reimburse the petitioner for costs incurred in bringing the action, including a reasonable attorney's fee.

     Any relief granted by an order for protection, other than a judgment for costs, shall be for a fixed period not to exceed five years. The clerk of the court shall enter any order for protection issued under this section into the judicial information system.

[2007 c 312 § 6. Prior: 2000 c 119 § 27; 2000 c 51 § 2; 1999 c 176 § 13; 1986 c 187 § 7.]

Notes:

     Application -- 2000 c 119: See note following RCW 26.50.021.

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.135
Protection of vulnerable adults — Filings by others — Dismissal of petition or order — Testimony or evidence — Additional evidentiary hearings — Temporary order.

(1) When a petition for protection under RCW 74.34.110 is filed by someone other than the vulnerable adult or the vulnerable adult's full guardian over either the person or the estate, or both, and the vulnerable adult for whom protection is sought advises the court at the hearing that he or she does not want all or part of the protection sought in the petition, then the court may dismiss the petition or the provisions that the vulnerable adult objects to and any protection order issued under RCW 74.34.120 or 74.34.130, or the court may take additional testimony or evidence, or order additional evidentiary hearings to determine whether the vulnerable adult is unable, due to incapacity, undue influence, or duress, to protect his or her person or estate in connection with the issues raised in the petition or order. If an additional evidentiary hearing is ordered and the court determines that there is reason to believe that there is a genuine issue about whether the vulnerable adult is unable to protect his or her person or estate in connection with the issues raised in the petition or order, the court may issue a temporary order for protection of the vulnerable adult pending a decision after the evidentiary hearing.

     (2) An evidentiary hearing on the issue of whether the vulnerable adult is unable, due to incapacity, undue influence, or duress, to protect his or her person or estate in connection with the issues raised in the petition or order, shall be held within fourteen days of entry of the temporary order for protection under subsection (1) of this section. If the court did not enter a temporary order for protection, the evidentiary hearing shall be held within fourteen days of the prior hearing on the petition. Notice of the time and place of the evidentiary hearing shall be personally served upon the vulnerable adult and the respondent not less than six court days before the hearing. When good faith attempts to personally serve the vulnerable adult and the respondent have been unsuccessful, the court shall permit service by mail, or by publication if the court determines that personal service and service by mail cannot be obtained. If timely service cannot be made, the court may set a new hearing date. A hearing under this subsection is not necessary if the vulnerable adult has been determined to be fully incapacitated over either the person or the estate, or both, under the guardianship laws, chapter 11.88 RCW. If a hearing is scheduled under this subsection, the protection order shall remain in effect pending the court's decision at the subsequent hearing.

     (3) At the hearing scheduled by the court, the court shall give the vulnerable adult, the respondent, the petitioner, and in the court's discretion other interested persons, the opportunity to testify and submit relevant evidence.

     (4) If the court determines that the vulnerable adult is capable of protecting his or her person or estate in connection with the issues raised in the petition, and the individual continues to object to the protection order, the court shall dismiss the order or may modify the order if agreed to by the vulnerable adult. If the court determines that the vulnerable adult is not capable of protecting his or her person or estate in connection with the issues raised in the petition or order, and that the individual continues to need protection, the court shall order relief consistent with RCW 74.34.130 as it deems necessary for the protection of the vulnerable adult. In the entry of any order that is inconsistent with the expressed wishes of the vulnerable adult, the court's order shall be governed by the legislative findings contained in RCW 74.34.005.

[2007 c 312 § 9.]




74.34.140
Protection of vulnerable adults — Execution of protective order.

When an order for protection under RCW 74.34.130 is issued upon request of the petitioner, the court may order a peace officer to assist in the execution of the order of protection. A public agency may not charge a fee for service of process to petitioners seeking relief under this chapter. Petitioners must be provided the necessary number of certified copies at no cost.

[2012 c 156 § 2; 1986 c 187 § 8.]




74.34.145
Protection of vulnerable adults — Notice of criminal penalties for violation — Enforcement under RCW 26.50.110.

(1) An order for protection of a vulnerable adult issued under this chapter which restrains the respondent or another person from committing acts of abuse, prohibits contact with the vulnerable adult, excludes the person from any specified location, or prohibits the person from coming within a specified distance from a location, shall prominently bear on the front page of the order the legend: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER WITH ACTUAL NOTICE OF ITS TERMS IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE UNDER CHAPTER 26.50 RCW AND WILL SUBJECT A VIOLATOR TO ARREST.

     (2) Whenever an order for protection of a vulnerable adult is issued under this chapter, and the respondent or person to be restrained knows of the order, a violation of a provision restraining the person from committing acts of abuse, prohibiting contact with the vulnerable adult, excluding the person from any specified location, or prohibiting the person from coming within a specified distance of a location, shall be punishable under RCW 26.50.110, regardless of whether the person is a family or household member as defined in RCW 26.50.010.

[2007 c 312 § 7; 2000 c 119 § 2.]

Notes:

     Application -- 2000 c 119: See note following RCW 26.50.021.




74.34.150
Protection of vulnerable adults — Department may seek relief.

The department of social and health services, in its discretion, may seek relief under RCW 74.34.110 through 74.34.140 on behalf of and with the consent of any vulnerable adult. When the department has reason to believe a vulnerable adult lacks the ability or capacity to consent, the department, in its discretion, may seek relief under RCW 74.34.110 through 74.34.140 on behalf of the vulnerable adult. Neither the department of social and health services nor the state of Washington shall be liable for seeking or failing to seek relief on behalf of any persons under this section.

[2007 c 312 § 8; 1986 c 187 § 9.]




74.34.160
Protection of vulnerable adults — Proceedings are supplemental.

Any proceeding under RCW 74.34.110 through 74.34.150 is in addition to any other civil or criminal remedies.

[1986 c 187 § 11.]




74.34.163
Application to modify or vacate order.

Any vulnerable adult who has not been adjudicated fully incapacitated under chapter 11.88 RCW, or the vulnerable adult's guardian, at any time subsequent to entry of a permanent protection order under this chapter, may apply to the court for an order to modify or vacate the order. In a hearing on an application to dismiss or modify the protection order, the court shall grant such relief consistent with RCW 74.34.110 as it deems necessary for the protection of the vulnerable adult, including dismissal or modification of the protection order.

[2007 c 312 § 10.]




74.34.165
Rules.

The department may adopt rules relating to the reporting, investigation, and provision of protective services in in-home settings, consistent with the objectives of this chapter.

[1999 c 176 § 18.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.170
Services of department discretionary — Funding.

The provision of services under RCW *74.34.030, 74.34.040,74.34.050 , and **74.34.100 through 74.34.160 are discretionary and the department shall not be required to expend additional funds beyond those appropriated.

[1986 c 187 § 10.]

Notes:

     Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 74.34.030 was repealed by 1999 c 176 § 35.

     **(2) RCW 74.34.100 was recodified as RCW 74.34.015 pursuant to 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 89, effective July 1, 1995. RCW 74.34.015 was subsequently repealed by 1999 c 176 § 35.




74.34.180
Retaliation against whistleblowers and residents — Remedies — Rules.

(1) An employee or contractor who is a whistleblower and who as a result of being a whistleblower has been subjected to workplace reprisal or retaliatory action, has the remedies provided under chapter 49.60 RCW. RCW 4.24.500 through 4.24.520, providing certain protection to persons who communicate to government agencies, apply to complaints made under this section. The identity of a whistleblower who complains, in good faith, to the department or the department of health about suspected abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect by any person in a facility, licensed or required to be licensed, or care provided in a facility or in a home setting, by any person associated with a hospice, home care, or home health agency licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW or other in-home provider, may remain confidential if requested. The identity of the whistleblower shall subsequently remain confidential unless the department determines that the complaint was not made in good faith.

     (2)(a) An attempt to expel a resident from a facility, or any type of discriminatory treatment of a resident who is a consumer of hospice, home health, home care services, or other in-home services by whom, or upon whose behalf, a complaint substantiated by the department or the department of health has been submitted to the department or the department of health or any proceeding instituted under or related to this chapter within one year of the filing of the complaint or the institution of the action, raises a rebuttable presumption that the action was in retaliation for the filing of the complaint.

     (b) The presumption is rebutted by credible evidence establishing the alleged retaliatory action was initiated prior to the complaint.

     (c) The presumption is rebutted by a review conducted by the department that shows that the resident or consumer's needs cannot be met by the reasonable accommodations of the facility due to the increased needs of the resident.

     (3) For the purposes of this section:

     (a) "Whistleblower" means a resident or a person with a mandatory duty to report under this chapter, or any person licensed under Title 18 RCW, who in good faith reports alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect to the department, or the department of health, or to a law enforcement agency;

     (b) "Workplace reprisal or retaliatory action" means, but is not limited to: Denial of adequate staff to perform duties; frequent staff changes; frequent and undesirable office changes; refusal to assign meaningful work; unwarranted and unsubstantiated report of misconduct under Title 18 RCW; letters of reprimand or unsatisfactory performance evaluations; demotion; denial of employment; or a supervisor or superior encouraging coworkers to behave in a hostile manner toward the whistleblower. The protections provided to whistleblowers under this chapter shall not prevent a facility or an agency licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW from: (i) Terminating, suspending, or disciplining a whistleblower for other lawful purposes; or (ii) for facilities licensed under chapter 70.128 RCW, reducing the hours of employment or terminating employment as a result of the demonstrated inability to meet payroll requirements. The department shall determine if the facility cannot meet payroll in cases in which a whistleblower has been terminated or had hours of employment reduced because of the inability of a facility to meet payroll; and

     (c) "Reasonable accommodation" by a facility to the needs of a prospective or current resident has the meaning given to this term under the federal Americans with disabilities act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. and other applicable federal or state antidiscrimination laws and regulations.

     (4) This section does not prohibit a facility or an agency licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW from exercising its authority to terminate, suspend, or discipline any employee who engages in workplace reprisal or retaliatory action against a whistleblower.

     (5) The department shall adopt rules to implement procedures for filing, investigation, and resolution of whistleblower complaints that are integrated with complaint procedures under this chapter.

     (6)(a) Any vulnerable adult who relies upon and is being provided spiritual treatment in lieu of medical treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well-recognized religious denomination may not for that reason alone be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected.

     (b) Any vulnerable adult may not be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected under this chapter by any health care provider, facility, facility employee, agency, agency employee, or individual provider who participates in good faith in the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment from a vulnerable adult under chapter 70.122 RCW, or who acts in accordance with chapter 7.70 RCW or other state laws to withhold or withdraw treatment, goods, or services.

     (7) The department, and the department of health for facilities, agencies, or individuals it regulates, shall adopt rules designed to discourage whistleblower complaints made in bad faith or for retaliatory purposes.

[1999 c 176 § 14; 1997 c 392 § 202.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Short title -- Findings -- Construction -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings and captions not law -- 1997 c 392: See notes following RCW 74.39A.009.




74.34.200
Abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult — Cause of action for damages — Legislative intent.

(1) In addition to other remedies available under the law, a vulnerable adult who has been subjected to abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect either while residing in a facility or in the case of a person residing at home who receives care from a home health, hospice, or home care agency, or an individual provider, shall have a cause of action for damages on account of his or her injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of property sustained thereby. This action shall be available where the defendant is or was a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, partnership, administrator, employee, agent, officer, partner, or director of a facility, or of a home health, hospice, or home care agency licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, as now or subsequently designated, or an individual provider.

     (2) It is the intent of the legislature, however, that where there is a dispute about the care or treatment of a vulnerable adult, the parties should use the least formal means available to try to resolve the dispute. Where feasible, parties are encouraged but not mandated to employ direct discussion with the health care provider, use of the long-term care ombuds or other intermediaries, and, when necessary, recourse through licensing or other regulatory authorities.

     (3) In an action brought under this section, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded his or her actual damages, together with the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorneys' fee. The term "costs" includes, but is not limited to, the reasonable fees for a guardian, guardian ad litem, and experts, if any, that may be necessary to the litigation of a claim brought under this section.

[2013 c 23 § 219; 1999 c 176 § 15; 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 85.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.




74.34.205
Abandonment, abuse, or neglect — Exceptions.

(1) Any vulnerable adult who relies upon and is being provided spiritual treatment in lieu of medical treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well-recognized religious denomination may not for that reason alone be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected.

     (2) Any vulnerable adult may not be considered abandoned, abused, or neglected under this chapter by any health care provider, facility, facility employee, agency, agency employee, or individual provider who participates in good faith in the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment from a vulnerable adult under chapter
70.122 RCW, or who acts in accordance with chapter 7.70 RCW or other state laws to withhold or withdraw treatment, goods, or services.

[1999 c 176 § 16.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Purpose -- Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.




74.34.210
Order for protection or action for damages — Standing — Jurisdiction.

A petition for an order for protection may be brought by the vulnerable adult, the vulnerable adult's guardian or legal fiduciary, the department, or any interested person as defined in RCW 74.34.020. An action for damages under this chapter may be brought by the vulnerable adult, or where necessary, by his or her family members and/or guardian or legal fiduciary. The death of the vulnerable adult shall not deprive the court of jurisdiction over a petition or claim brought under this chapter. Upon petition, after the death of the vulnerable adult, the right to initiate or maintain the action shall be transferred to the executor or administrator of the deceased, for recovery of all damages for the benefit of the deceased person's beneficiaries set forth in chapter 4.20 RCW or if there are no beneficiaries, then for recovery of all economic losses sustained by the deceased person's estate.

[2007 c 312 § 11; 1995 1st sp.s. c 18 § 86.]

Notes:

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.




74.34.215
Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

(1) Pending an investigation by the financial institution, the department, or law enforcement, if a financial institution reasonably believes that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted, the financial institution may, but is not required to, refuse a transaction requiring disbursal of funds contained in the account:     

     (a) Of the vulnerable adult;

     (b) On which the vulnerable adult is a beneficiary, including a trust or guardianship account; or

     (c) Of a person suspected of perpetrating financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

     (2) A financial institution may also refuse to disburse funds under this section if the department, law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney's office provides information to the financial institution demonstrating that it is reasonable to believe that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted.

     (3) A financial institution is not required to refuse to disburse funds when provided with information alleging that financial exploitation may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted, but may use its discretion to determine whether or not to refuse to disburse funds based on the information available to the financial institution.    

     (4) A financial institution that refuses to disburse funds based on a reasonable belief that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted shall:

     (a) Make a reasonable effort to notify all parties authorized to transact business on the account orally or in writing; and

     (b) Report the incident to the adult protective services division of the department and local law enforcement.

     (5) Any refusal to disburse funds as authorized by this section based on the reasonable belief of a financial institution that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted will expire upon the sooner of:

     (a) Ten business days after the date on which the financial institution first refused to disburse the funds if the transaction involved the sale of a security or offer to sell a security, as defined in RCW
21.20.005, unless sooner terminated by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction;

     (b) Five business days after the date on which the financial institution first refused to disburse the funds if the transaction did not involve the sale of a security or offer to sell a security, as defined in RCW 21.20.005, unless sooner terminated by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

     (c) The time when the financial institution is satisfied that the disbursement will not result in financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

     (6) A court of competent jurisdiction may enter an order extending the refusal by the financial institution to disburse funds based on a reasonable belief that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted. A court of competent jurisdiction may also order other protective relief as authorized by RCW 7.40.010 and 74.34.130.

     (7) A financial institution or an employee of a financial institution is immune from criminal, civil, and administrative liability for refusing to disburse funds or disbursing funds under this section and for actions taken in furtherance of that determination if the determination of whether or not to disburse funds was made in good faith.

[2010 c 133 § 3.]




74.34.220
Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults — Training — Reporting.

(1) A financial institution shall provide training concerning the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults to the employees specified in subsection (2) of this section within one year of June 10, 2010, and shall thereafter provide such training to the new employees specified in subsection (2) of this section within the first three months of their employment.

     (2) A financial institution that is a broker-dealer or investment adviser as defined in RCW
21.20.005 shall provide training concerning the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults to employees who are required to be registered in the state of Washington as salespersons or investment adviser representatives under RCW 21.20.040 and who have contact with customers and access to account information on a regular basis and as part of their job. All other financial institutions shall provide training concerning the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults to employees who have contact with customers and access to account information on a regular basis and as part of their job.

     (3) The training must include recognition of indicators of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, the manner in which employees may report suspected financial exploitation to the department and law enforcement as permissive reporters, and steps employees may take to prevent suspected financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult as authorized by law or agreements between the financial institution and customers of the financial institution. The office of the attorney general and the department shall develop a standardized training that financial institutions may offer, or the financial institution may develop its own training.

     (4) A financial institution may provide access to or copies of records that are relevant to suspected financial exploitation or attempted financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult to the department, law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney's office, either as part of a referral to the department, law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney's office, or upon request of the department, law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney's office pursuant to an investigation. The records may include historical records as well as records relating to the most recent transaction or transactions that may comprise financial exploitation.

     (5) A financial institution or employee of a financial institution participating in good faith in making a report or providing documentation or access to information to the department, law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney's office under this chapter shall be immune from criminal, civil, or administrative liability.

[2010 c 133 § 5.]




74.34.300
Vulnerable adult fatality reviews.

(1) The department may conduct a vulnerable adult fatality review in the event of a death of a vulnerable adult when the department has reason to believe that the death of the vulnerable adult may be related to the abuse, abandonment, exploitation, or neglect of the vulnerable adult, or may be related to the vulnerable adult's self-neglect, and the vulnerable adult was:

     (a) Receiving home and community-based services in his or her own home, described under chapters
74.39 and 74.39A RCW, within sixty days preceding his or her death; or

     (b) Living in his or her own home and was the subject of a report under this chapter received by the department within twelve months preceding his or her death.

     (2) When conducting a vulnerable adult fatality review of a person who had been receiving hospice care services before the person's death, the review shall provide particular consideration to the similarities between the signs and symptoms of abuse and those of many patients receiving hospice care services.

     (3) All files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed for purposes of a fatality review are confidential and not subject to disclosure pursuant to RCW 74.34.095.

     (4) The department may adopt rules to implement this section.

[2008 c 146 § 10.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Intent -- Severability -- 2008 c 146: See notes following RCW 74.41.040.




74.34.305
Statement to vulnerable adults.

(1) When the department opens an investigation of a report of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult, the department shall, at the time of the interview of the vulnerable adult who is an alleged victim, provide a written statement of the rights afforded under this chapter and other applicable law to alleged victims or legal guardians. This statement must include the department's name, address, and telephone number and may include other appropriate referrals. The statement must be substantially in the following form:


     "You are entitled to be free from abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. If there is a reason to believe that you have experienced abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect, you have the right to:

     (a) Make a report to the department of social and health services and law enforcement and share any information you believe could be relevant to the investigation, and identify any persons you believe could have relevant information.

     (b) Be free from retaliation for reporting or causing a report of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.

     (c) Be treated with dignity and addressed with respectful language.

     (d) Reasonable accommodation for your disability when reporting, and during investigations and administrative proceedings.

     (e) Request an order that prohibits anyone who has abandoned, abused, financially exploited, or neglected you from remaining in your home, having contact with you, or accessing your money or property.

     (f) Receive from the department of social and health services information and appropriate referrals to other agencies that can advocate, investigate, or take action.

     (g) Be informed of the status of investigations, proceedings, court actions, and outcomes by the agency that is handling any case in which you are a victim.

     (h) Request referrals for advocacy or legal assistance to help with safety planning, investigations, and hearings.

     (i) Complain to the department of social and health services, formally or informally, about investigations or proceedings, and receive a prompt response."


     (2) This section shall not be construed to create any new cause of action or limit any existing remedy.

[2011 c 170 § 3.]




74.34.310
Service of process or filing fees prohibited — Certified copies.

A public agency may not charge a fee for filing or service of process to petitioners seeking relief under this chapter. Petitioners must be provided the necessary number of certified copies at no cost.

[2012 c 156 § 1.]




74.34.900
Severability — 1984 c 97.

If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

[1984 c 97 § 18.]




74.34.901
Severability — 1986 c 187.

If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

[1986 c 187 § 12.]




74.34.902
Construction — Chapter applicable to state registered domestic partnerships — 2009 c 521.

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement chapter 521, Laws of 2009, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships.

[2009 c 521 § 181.]