(a) Mandatory requirement to report. Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is suffering from abuse, neglect, or exploitation is mandated by law, Section 10-104(A) of Title 43A of Oklahoma Statutes (43A O.S. § 10-104(A)), to make a report to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS), the office of the district attorney in the county in which the suspected incident occurred, or local law enforcement.
- (1) State law provides that any person who knowingly and willfully fails to promptly report any abuse, neglect, or exploitation is, upon conviction, guilty of a misdemeanor.
- (2) Any person who willfully or recklessly makes a false report or a report without a reasonable basis is liable in a civil suit for any actual damages suffered by any person named in the report and any punitive damages set by the court or jury.
- (3) Any person exercising good faith and due care in making a report of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation has immunity from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred.
- (4) Every person in Oklahoma is a mandatory reporter, and select groups who routinely have contact with vulnerable adults are specifically named in Oklahoma statutes, including:
- (A) social workers;
- (B) physicians;
- (C) operators of emergency response vehicles;
- (D) mental health professionals;
- (E) law enforcement;
- (F) staff of domestic violence programs;
- (G) long-term care facility personnel including staff of:
- (i) nursing facilities;
- (ii) intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation;
- (iii) assisted living facilities;
- (iv) residential care facilities; and
- (v) Oklahoma veteran's centers;
- (H) persons entering into transactions with a caretaker or other person who has assumed the role of financial management for a vulnerable adult;
- (I) staff of:
- (i) residential care facilities;
- (ii) group homes; and
- (iii) employment settings for individuals with developmental disabilities;
- (J) job coaches;
- (K) community service workers;
- (L) personal care assistants; and
- (M) other medical professionals.
(b) Content of the report. The law requires that the report of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults include the information in (1) through (3) of this subsection. The minimum information required by law is: • 1
- (1) the name, address, or location of the vulnerable adult;
- (2) the name or address of the caretaker, if any; and
- (3) a description of the situation of the vulnerable adult.
(c) Obtaining the name of the reporter. Although the person making the report is not required by law to provide a name, address, or telephone number, such information is helpful in the event the APS specialist has further questions or needs to clarify any points of the complaint. • 2
(d) Submission of reports for screening. OKDHS staff immediately submits all reports for screening by entering information into the APS Computer System or notifying local APS staff. • 3