§ 5510 - W&I Code

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Patients' Rights Office

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE

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Article 2 PATIENTS’ RIGHTS OFFICE
§ 5510. Legislative findings and declarations; legislative intent

(a) The Legislature finds and declares as follows:

(1) The State of California accepts its responsibility to ensure and uphold the right of persons with mental disabilities and an obligation, to be executed by the State Department of Mental Health, to ensure that mental health laws, regulations and policies on the rights of recipients of mental health services are observed and protected in state hospitals and in licensed health and community care facilities.

(2) Persons with mental disabilities are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and unreasonable and unlawful deprivations of their rights.

(3) Patients’ rights advocacy and investigative services concerning patient abuse and neglect currently provided by the State Department of Mental Health, including the department’s Office of Human Rights and investigator, and state hospital patients’ rights advocates and state hospital investigators may have conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

(4) The services provided to patients and their families is of such a special and unique nature that they must be contracted out pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 19130 of the Government Code.

(b) Therefore, to avoid the potential for a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, it is the intent of the Legislature that the patients’ rights advocacy and investigative services described in this article be provided by a single contractor specified in Section 5370.2 that meets both of the following criteria:

(1) The contractor can demonstrate the capability to provide statewide advocacy services for persons with mental disabilities.

(2) The contractor has no direct or indirect responsibility for providing services to persons with mental disabilities, except advocacy services.

(c) For the purposes of this article, the Legislature further finds and declares, because of a potential conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, that the goals and purposes of the state patients’ rights advocacy and investigative services cannot be accomplished through the utilization of persons selected pursuant to the regular state civil service system. Accordingly, the contracts into which the department enters pursuant to this section are permitted and authorized by paragraphs (3) and (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 19130 of the Government Code. The State Department of Mental Health shall contract with a single nonprofit entity to provide for the protection and advocacy services to persons with mental disabilities. The entity shall be responsible for ensuring that mental health laws, regulations, and policies on the rights of recipients of mental health services are observed in state hospitals and in licensed health and community care facilities.

(d) The findings and declarations of potential conflict of interest provided in this section shall not apply to advocacy services provided under Article 3 (commencing with Section 5520).