131D-26. Enforcement and investigation.

(a) The Department of Health and Human Services shall be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this Article. Specifically, the department of social services in the county in which the facility is located and the Department of Health and Human Services, shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the declaration of the residents' rights. The director of the county department of social services shall monitor the implementation of the declaration of the residents' rights and shall also investigate any complaints or grievances pertaining to violations of the declaration of rights.

(a1) When the department of social services in the county in which a facility is located receives a complaint alleging a violation of the provisions of this Article pertaining to patient care or patient safety, the department of social services shall initiate an investigation as follows:

(1) Immediately upon receipt of the complaint if the complaint alleges a life-threatening situation.

(2) Within 24 hours if the complaint alleges abuse of a resident as defined by G.S. 131D-20(1).

(3) Within 48 hours if the complaint alleges neglect of a resident as defined by G.S. 131D-20(8).

(4) Within two weeks in all other situations.

The investigation shall be completed within 60 days. The requirements of this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any investigatory requirements for adult protective services pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes.

(b) If upon investigation, it is found that any of the provisions of the declaration of rights has been violated, the director of the county department of social services or a designee must orally inform the administrator immediately of the specific violations, what must be done to correct them, and set a date by which the violations must be corrected. This same information must be confirmed in writing to the administrator by the county director or a designee within 10 working days following the investigation. A copy of the letter shall be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services.

(c) Upon receiving requests for assistance in resolving complaints from the county department of social services, the Department of Health and Human Services shall ensure compliance with the provisions of this Article.

(d) The county director of social services shall annually make a report to the Department of Health and Human Services about the number of substantiated violations of G.S. 131D-21, the nature of the violations, and the number of violations referred to the Department of Health and Human Services for resolution. (1981, c. 923, s. 1; 1983, c. 824, ss. 15, 16; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1999-334, s. 1.8; 2007-444, s. 5(b).)