New Law Strengthens Protections for Adults with Disabilities
On May 1, 2018, the Stephen Komninos’ Law (P.L. 2017, c. 238) took effect. The law was enacted to strengthen protections for adults with developmental disabilities across New Jersey. Key provisions of the law include:
- Two unannounced site visits to community residences by the Dept. of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Program Integrity and Accountability (OPIA);
- Within 48 hours of a report, a DHS OPIA representative will see the individual to verify identified physical injuries;
- Employees must immediately report incidents or suspicions of potential abuse, neglect and exploitation to DDD;
- Employees or volunteer who fail to report abuse, neglect and exploitation are subject to a disorderly person offense and, if convicted, are subject to a penalty of $350 for each day the abuse, neglect and exploitation went unreported; and
- Random drug testing of direct care staff before hiring and when a provider has reason to suspect drug use.
In addition, the law establishes greater communication between providers and guardians/families by requiring residential and day program providers to notify the guardian of an injury as soon as possible, but no later than two hours after the injury, in-person or by telephone. In extraordinary circumstances, the notification shall be no later than eight hours after the occurrence of the injury, and if notification exceeds two hours, the providers must submit written justification to the guardian and to DHS.
For more information on the Stephen Komninos’ Law, visit: http://www.nj.gov/humanservices/home/skl.html