Current StatusView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
Bill Number: 931 Ratification Number: 531 Act Number 447 Introducing Body: Senate Subject: Definitions used in the Client-Patient Protection Act
(A447, R531, S931)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-30-20, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS USED IN THE CLIENT-PATIENT PROTECTION ACT, SO AS TO DEFINE THE NEGLECT OF A CLIENT-PATIENT'S HEALTH OR WELFARE AND EXPLOITATION AND TO CHANGE THE REFERENCE TO PATIENT TO CLIENT-PATIENT; SECTION 43-30-30, RELATING TO THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT, SO AS TO INCLUDE IN THE PURPOSE PROVISIONS FOR CHILDREN TO BE SAVED FROM NEGLECT AND EXPLOITATION; SECTION 43-30-40, RELATING TO REPORTS OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT TO THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION, OMBUDSMAN, OR SOLICITOR, SO AS TO INCLUDE REPORTS OF EXPLOITATION; SECTION 43-30-50, RELATING TO REPORTS OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT RESULTING IN DEATH, SO AS TO CONFORM A REFERENCE TO INCLUDE NEGLECT AS WELL AS ABUSE; AND SECTION 43-30-100, RELATING TO PENALTIES UNDER THE ACT, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE OFFENSES OF NEGLECTING AND EXPLOITING A CLIENT OR PATIENT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 43-30-20 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 43-30-20. When used in this chapter, unless the content indicates otherwise:
(A) 'Client-patient' means a person admitted or committed to, a patient of or in the care, custody, or control of a public or private agency, department, hospital, institution, or facility, not including persons sentenced to the South Carolina Department of Corrections or children committed to the South Carolina Department of Youth Services.
(B) 'Abused or neglected client-patient' means a person whose physical or mental health or welfare is abused or threatened with abuse, as defined in this section, by the act of an employee or other person responsible for his welfare.
(C) 'Abuse' to a client-patient's health or welfare may occur when the person responsible for his welfare inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the client-patient physical or mental injury, except physical control administered by a person in direct and primary contact with the client-patient for the sole purpose of restraining or correcting him for the protection of the person so acting out of fear of bodily harm for his own or the client-patient's safety or the safety of others. The physical control must be reasonable in manner, moderate in degree, and administered in a manner so as not to produce permanent or lasting physical or mental injury to the client-patient.
(D) 'Threatened abuse' means an intentional offer of abuse as defined in item (C) to a client-patient by force or force unlawfully directed toward a client-patient under circumstances creating a well-founded fear of imminent peril coupled with apparent present ability to execute the attempt if not prevented.
(E) 'Physical injury' means an intentional physical assault upon a client-patient or provocation of another to assault whether the assault causes actual physical injury or not. Unacceptable actions include, but are not limited to: throwing objects, choking, using weapons, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, provoking a client-patient to assault an employee, provoking a client-patient to assault another client-patient, and provoking an employee to assault a client-patient. This does not include nonexcessive physical control administered for the safety of the client-patient or others.
(F) 'Mental injury' means a substantial impairment of the intellectual, psychological, or emotional capacity of a client-patient as evidenced by inhumane or unconscionable acts and conduct of a person against a client-patient but nothing in this section prohibits a person responsible for a client-patient's welfare from imposing reasonable restrictions considered necessary by the person for the intellectual, psychological, or emotional well-being of the client-patient by any of the following:
(1) restrictions relating to attendance at amusements, theaters, concerts, social events, or activities;
(2) restrictions on the amount of exposure to secular activities such as television, extracurricular activities, or community recreational activities.
(G) 'Reason to believe' means facts and circumstances based upon accurate and reliable information that would justify a reasonable person to believe that a client-patient subject to a report under this act is abused or neglected.
(H) 'Ombudsman' means the office provided for pursuant to Sections 43-38-10 through 43-38-50.
(I) 'Solicitor' means the circuit solicitor of the circuit where the alleged offense was committed.
(J) 'Neglect' of a client-patient's health or welfare may occur when the person responsible for his welfare fails to provide the goods or services which are necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness or the responsible person allows the failure to occur. Examples of neglect include, but are not limited to, failure to provide adequate food, shelter, health care, safety, or clothing or failure to notice the client-patient's conditions and take appropriate action.
(K) 'Exploitation' means an illegal, improper, or unjust act or process of a facility administrator or staff member using the resources of a client-patient for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain."
SECTION 2. Section 43-30-30 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 43-30-30. Recognizing that client-patients need protection, it is the purpose of this chapter to save them from injury, abuse, neglect, and exploitation by establishing:
(1) an effective reporting system and encouraging the reporting of client-patients in need of protection;
(2) fair and equitable procedures compatible with due process of law with due regard to the safety and welfare of all persons;
(3) an effective system of protection of client-patients from injury, abuse, neglect, and exploitation while living in public and private residential agencies and institutions."
Reports of exploitation
SECTION 3. Section 43-30-40 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 43-30-40. (A) A physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, medical examiner, coroner, or any other medical, mental health or allied health professional, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, school teacher, counselor, psychologist, mental health or mental retardation specialist, social or public assistance worker, or law enforcement officer having reason to believe that a client-patient's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be affected adversely by abuse, neglect, or exploitation or that the person has suffered abuse, threatened abuse, or physical or mental injury shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with this chapter.
(B) Any other person who has reason to believe that a client-patient's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be affected adversely by abuse, neglect, or exploitation or that the person has suffered abuse, threatened abuse, or physical or mental injury may report the incident in accordance with this chapter.
(C) Reports of client-patient abuse, neglect, or exploitation made pursuant to this section must be made within twenty-four hours of the abuse or neglect or within twenty-four hours from the time a person has reason to believe client-patient abuse, neglect, or exploitation has taken place. The reports may be made orally, in writing, by telephone, or otherwise to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the ombudsman of the office of the Governor, or the solicitor. Written records must be made of all the reports, a copy of which must be forwarded to the ombudsman who shall maintain a permanent file of all the records."
Reports of death
SECTION 4. Section 43-30-50 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 43-30-50. A person required by this chapter to report cases of suspected client-patient abuse or neglect who has reason to believe that a client-patient has died as a result of abuse or neglect shall report that fact to the coroner. Any other person who has reason to believe that a client-patient has died as a result of abuse or neglect may report that fact to the coroner. The coroner receiving the report shall accept it for investigation and, unless he files a written statement in his records that the report of client-patient abuse or neglect is unfounded with his reasons for the finding, cause an autopsy to be performed and report his findings to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the ombudsman, and the solicitor."
SECTION 5. Section 43-30-100 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 43-30-100. (1) It is unlawful for a person to neglect, exploit, abuse, threaten to abuse, or cause physical or mental injury to a client-patient, as defined in Section 43-30-20.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not less than ninety days nor more than five years."
SECTION 6. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 3rd day of May, 1990.