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Go back to: Alaska statutes
Go back to: Title 47. Welfare, Social Services, and Institutions.
Go back to: Chapter 24. Protection of Vulnerable Adults.

Sec. 47.24.015. Action on reports.
 (a) Upon the department’s receipt of a report under AS 47.24.010, the department, or its designee, shall promptly initiate an investigation to determine whether the vulnerable adult who is the subject of the report suffers from undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, neglect, or self-neglect. The department, or its designee, shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the vulnerable adult unless that person is unconscious or the department, or its designee, has determined that a face-to- face interview could further endanger the vulnerable adult. In this subsection, “face-to-face interview” means an in-person interview or an interview conducted through the use of technology that allows participants who are physically separated from each other to interact visually and orally.

 (b) After the department conducts an investigation under (a) of this section, the department shall prepare a written report of the investigation, including findings, recommendations, and a determination of whether and what kind of supportive or protective services are needed by and are to be offered to the vulnerable adult. After the department’s designee conducts an investigation under (a) of this section, the designee shall prepare a written report of the investigation, including findings, recommendations, and a proposed determination of whether and what kind of supportive or protective services are to be offered to the vulnerable adult. The department shall prepare, and attach to the designee’s report, a final determination regarding services to be offered to the vulnerable adult.

 (c) The department or its designee shall immediately terminate an investigation under this section upon the request of the vulnerable adult who is the subject of the report made under AS 47.24.010. However, the department or its designee may not terminate the investigation if the investigation to that point has resulted in probable cause to believe that the vulnerable adult is in need of protective services and the request is made personally by the vulnerable adult and the vulnerable adult is not competent to make the request on the adult’s own behalf, or the request is made by the vulnerable adult’s guardian, attorney-in-fact, or surrogate decision maker and that person is the alleged perpetrator of the undue influence, abandonment, exploitation, abuse, or neglect of the vulnerable adult and is being investigated under this chapter. If the department has probable cause to believe that the vulnerable adult is in need of protective services,
     (1) the department may petition the court as set out in AS 47.24.019;

     (2) the department or its designee may refer the report made to the department under AS 47.24.010 to a police officer for criminal investigation; or

     (3) in cases involving fraud, the department or its designee may refer the report made to the department under AS 47.24.010 to the office of public advocacy for investigation; in this paragraph, “fraud” has the meaning given in AS 13.26.595.

 (d) Upon request, a person who made a report to the department under AS 47.24.010 regarding a vulnerable adult shall be notified of the status of the investigation conducted under (a) of this section regarding that vulnerable adult.

 (e) A person may not bring an action for damages based on a decision under this section to offer or not to offer protective services to a vulnerable adult.

 (f) A person may not bring an action for damages based on the provision of protective services under this section unless the action is based on gross negligence or intentional misconduct. The damages awarded in an action under this section may include only direct economic compensatory damages for personal injury.

 (g) If an investigation under this section shows reasonable cause to believe that a certified nurse aide has committed abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property, the department shall report the matter to the Board of Nursing.

 (h) In conducting an investigation under this section, the department may issue subpoenas, conduct interviews, and examine any health care or financial records related to a vulnerable adult. The department may seek a court order to enforce a subpoena.

 (i) A person may not interfere with the department in the performance of its investigation under this section, including interfering with the department’s access to the vulnerable adult.

 (j) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the office of the department that handles adult protective services shall have access to any information compiled or retained by other divisions in the department, regardless of the nature of the information or whether the information is considered confidential, to assist in administering the provisions of this chapter.

 (k) The department may audiotape or videotape an interview of a vulnerable adult if the adult has the capacity to consent and gives that consent. The department shall document the consent in its investigative file. The department may not audiotape or videotape an interview of a vulnerable adult who lacks the capacity to consent.

 (l) The department shall provide for the training of investigators who investigate reports of harm under this section. Training must include instruction in federal, state, and local laws and policies of the department related to vulnerable adults, and in investigative techniques. The department may require other appropriate training.

 (m) In this section, “financial records” includes financial records related to the vulnerable adult that are maintained by any person.

Other Sections in this Chapter: