§ 4902 - W&I Code

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Division 4.7 PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY AGENCY
Powers and Duties

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE

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§ 4902. Powers and duties
 

(a) The protection and advocacy agency, in protecting and advocating for the rights of * * * people with disabilities * * *, pursuant to the federal mandate, may do all of the following:

(1) Investigate any incident of abuse or neglect of * * * any person with a disability if the incident is reported to the protection and advocacy agency or if the protection and advocacy agency determines there is probable cause to believe the * * * abuse or neglect occurred. This authority shall include reasonable access to a facility or program and authority to examine all relevant records and interview any facility or program service recipient, employee, or other person who might have knowledge of the alleged abuse or neglect.

(2) Pursue administrative, legal, and other appropriate remedies or approaches to ensure the protection of the rights of people with * * * disabilities. * * *

(3) Provide information and training on, and referral to, programs and services addressing the needs of people with * * * disabilities * * *, including information and training regarding individual rights and the services available from the protection and advocacy agency.

(b) The protection and advocacy agency shall, in addition, have reasonable access to facilities or programs in the state that provide care and treatment to * * * people with disabilities * * *, and access to those persons.

(1) The protection and advocacy agency shall have reasonable unaccompanied access to public or private facilities, programs, and services, and to recipients of services therein, at all times as are necessary to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect in accord with paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) * * *. Access shall be afforded, upon request, to the agency when any of the following has occurred:

(A) An incident is reported or a complaint is made to the agency.

(B) The agency determines there is probable cause to believe that an incident has or may have occurred.

(C) The agency determines that there is or may be imminent danger of serious abuse or neglect of an individual with a disability.

(2) The protection and advocacy agency shall have reasonable unaccompanied access to public and private facilities, programs, and services, and recipients of services therein during normal working hours and visiting hours for other advocacy services. In the case of information and training services, access shall be at times mutually agreeable to the protection and advocacy agency and facility management. This access shall be for the purpose of any of the following:

(A) Providing information and training on, and referral to programs addressing the needs of, individuals with disabilities, and information and training on individual rights and the protection and advocacy services available from the agency, including, but not limited to, the name, address, and telephone number of the protection and advocacy agency.

(B) Monitoring compliance with respect to the rights and safety of residents or service recipients.

(C) Inspecting, viewing, and photographing all areas of the facility or program that are used by residents or service recipients, or that are accessible to them.

(c) If the protection and advocacy agency’s access to facilities, programs, service recipients, residents, or records covered by this division is delayed or denied by a facility, program, or service, the facility, program, or service shall promptly provide the agency with a written statement of reasons. In the case of denial of access for alleged lack of authorization, the facility, program, or service shall promptly provide to the agency the name, address, and telephone number of the legal guardian, conservator, or other legal representative of the individual with a disability for whom authorization is required. Access to a facility, program, service recipient, resident, or to records, shall not be delayed or denied without the prompt provision of a written statement of the reasons for the denial.

(d) The protection and advocacy agency may not enter an individual residence or apartment of a client or his or her family without the consent of an adult occupant. In the absence of this consent, the protection and advocacy agency may enter only if it has obtained the legal authority to enforce its access authority pursuant to legal remedies available under this division or applicable federal law.

(e) A care provider, including, but not limited to, any individual, state entity, or other organization that is required to respond to these requests, may charge a reasonable fee to cover the cost of copying records pursuant to this division that may take into account the costs incurred by the care provider in locating, identifying, and making the records available as required pursuant to this division. Charges for copying records that would otherwise be available to the protection and advocacy agency or the person with a disability whose records are requested, under other statutes providing for access to records, may not exceed any rates for obtaining copies of the records specified in the applicable provisions.