122C-63. Assurance for continuity of care for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

(a) Any individual with an intellectual disability admitted for residential care or treatment for other than respite or emergency care to any residential facility operated under the authority of this Chapter and supported all or in part by State-appropriated funds has the right to residential placement in an alternative facility if the client is in need of placement and if the original facility can no longer provide the necessary care or treatment.

(b) The operator of a residential facility providing residential care or treatment, for other than respite or emergency care, for individuals with intellectual disabilities shall notify the area authority serving the client's county of residence of the operator's intent to close a facility or to discharge a client who may be in need of continuing care at least 60 days prior to the closing or discharge.

The operator's notification to the area authority of intent to close a facility or to discharge a client who may be in need of continuing care constitutes the operator's acknowledgement of the obligation to continue to serve the client until whichever of the following occurs first:

(1) The area authority determines that the client is not in need of continuing care.

(2) The client is moved to an alternative residential placement.

(3) Sixty days have elapsed.

In cases in which the safety of the client who may be in need of continuing care, of other clients, of the staff of the residential facility, or of the general public, is concerned, this 60-day notification period may be waived by securing an emergency placement in a more secure and safe facility. The operator of the residential facility shall notify the area authority that an emergency placement has been arranged within 24 hours of the placement. The area authority and the Secretary shall retain their respective responsibilities upon receipt of this notice.

(c) An individual who may be in need of continuing care may be discharged from a residential facility without further claim for continuing care against the area authority or the State if any of the following is true:

(1) After the parent or guardian, if the client is a minor or an adjudicated incompetent adult, or the client, if an adult not adjudicated incompetent, has entered into a contract with the operator upon the client's admission to the original residential facility, the parent, guardian, or client who entered into the contract refuses to carry out the contract.

(2) After an alternative placement for a client in need of continuing care is located, the parent or guardian who admitted the client to the residential facility, if the client is a minor or an adjudicated incompetent adult, or the client, if the client is an adult not adjudicated incompetent, refuses the alternative placement.

(d) Decisions made by the area authority regarding the need for continued placement or regarding the availability of an alternative placement of a client may be appealed pursuant to the appeals process of the area authority and subsequently to the Secretary or the Commission under their rules. If the appeal process extends beyond the operator's 60-day obligation to continue to serve the client, the Secretary shall arrange a temporary placement in a State developmental center pending the outcome of the appeal.

(e) The area authority that serves the county of residence of the client is responsible for assessing the need for continuity of care and for the coordination of the placement among available public and private facilities whenever the authority is notified that a client may be in need of continuing care. If an alternative placement is not available beyond the operator's 60-day obligation to continue to serve the client, the Secretary shall arrange for a temporary placement in a State developmental center. The area authority shall retain responsibility for coordination of placement during a temporary placement in a State developmental center.

(f) The Secretary is responsible for coordinative and financial assistance to the area authority in the performing of its duties to coordinate placement so as to assure continuity of care and for assuring a continuity of care placement beyond the operator's 60-day obligation period.

(g) The area authority's financial responsibility, through local and allocated State resources, is limited to the following:

(1) Costs relating to the identification and coordination of alternative placements.

(2) If the original facility is an area facility, maintenance of the client in the original facility for up to 60 days.

(3) Release of allocated categorical State funds used to support the care or treatment of the specific client at the time of alternative placement if the Secretary requires the release.

(h) In accordance with G.S. 143B-147(a)(1) the Commission shall develop programmatic rules to implement this section, and, in accordance with G.S. 122C-112(a)(6), the Secretary shall adopt budgetary rules to implement this section. (1981, c. 1012; 1985, c. 589, s. 2; 2019-76, s. 3.)