State law requires that “[a]ny caretaker, social worker, physician, registered or licensed practical nurse or other professional, who, as a result of information obtained in the course of his employment, has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that an institutionalized elderly person is being or has been abused or exploited, shall report such information in a timely manner to the ombudsman or to the person designated by him to receive such report.” Please note that the onus is on the individual staff member(s) to report abuse and exploitation, and they may be fined up to $5000 if they do not do so.

OOIE has its own definitions of abuse and exploitation. In our statute, abuse is defined as 1) intentionally inflicting “physical pain, injury or mental anguish” to the resident; 2) intentionally withholding services necessary to ensure the resident’s mental and physical health; or 3) unreasonably confining the resident.[1] For the first two categories above, the actions must be intentional, not accidental. Exploitation is “the act or process of using a person or his resources for another person’s profit or advantage without legal entitlement to do so….” [2]

A verbal report must be made to a live person. Voice messages may be left at any time, but caller must follow up with our office during regular business hours.