21-M:16 Incapacitated Adult Fatality Review Committee Established
Last revised 2007 § 1 Comment
I. There is hereby established the incapacitated adult fatality review committee (committee) which shall be administratively attached, under RSA 21-G:10, to the department of justice.
II. The attorney general shall appoint members and alternate members to the committee. The members of the committee shall include individuals representing the health care field, organizations with expertise in services provided to incapacitated adults, law enforcement, organizations or individuals who advocate for or provide legal representation for incapacitated adults, and such other members as the attorney general determines will assist the committee in fulfilling its objectives. The terms of the members shall be 3 years; provided, that the initial members shall be appointed to staggered terms. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the attorney general.
III. The committee shall:
- (a) Recommend policies, practices, and services that will promote collaboration among service providers for, and reduce preventable fatalities among, incapacitated adults.
- (b) Evaluate policies, practices, interventions and responses to fatalities among incapacitated adults and offer recommendations for any improvements in those interventions and responses.
- (c) Determine and report on trends and patterns of incapacitated adult deaths in New Hampshire.
- (d) Evaluate and report on high risk factors, current practices, gaps in systematic responses, and barriers to safety and well-being for incapacitated adults in New Hampshire.
- (e) Educate the public, policy makers, and budget authorities about fatalities involving covered incapacitated adults.
- (f) Recommend improvements in the sources of data relative to preventing fatalities among incapacitated adults.
- (g) Identify and evaluate the prevalence of risk factors for preventable deaths in the population of incapacitated adults.
IV. For the purposes of this section, “incapacitated adult” means:
- (a) Adults who are clients of the area agency system pursuant to RSA 171-A or RSA 137-K at the time of the person’s death or within one year of the person’s death.
- (b) Adults who are patients at the New Hampshire hospital or any other designated receiving facility or whose death occurs within 90 days following discharge, who are on conditional discharge, or who are applicants for or clients of the community mental health center system under RSA 135-C:13 and RSA 135-C:14 at the time of death or within one year of death.
- (c) Adults who are receiving services pursuant to RSA 161-E and RSA 161-I.
- (d) Adults who are participants in programs or residents of facilities specified in RSA 151:2, I(a), (b), (d), (e), or (f), or RSA 161-J, or within 90 days of discharge from such a facility.
- (e) Adults who were the reported victims of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation which was reported to the department of health and human services pursuant to RSA 161-F:46, where the report was determined to be unfounded and was filed within 6 months prior to death, where the report was determined to be founded and was filed within 3 years prior to death, or where the report was pending at the time of death.
- (f) Adults who were in need of any of the services defined in subparagraphs (a)-(e) at the time of their death.
V. The committee shall adopt a protocol defining which deaths shall be reported to the committee and subject to review, and which deaths may be screened out for review, such as deaths where the cause is natural, expected, and non-preventable. The committee shall also determine whether it is appropriate to have different types of review, such as comprehensive or more limited reviews depending on the incident under review or the purpose of the review. The protocol shall also define the character of the contents of the committee’s annual report, required under paragraph VII.
VI. The committee’s review of a case shall not be initiated until such time as any related criminal action has been finally adjudicated at the trial court level. Records of the committee, including testimony by persons participating in or appearing before the committee and deliberations by committee members relating to the review of any death, shall be confidential and privileged and shall be protected from direct or indirect means of discovery, subpoena, or admission into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources shall not be construed as immune from discovery from the original sources or used in any such civil or administrative action merely because they were presented to the committee, and any person who appears before the committee or supplies information as part of a committee review, or who is a member of the committee, may not be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge, but such witness may not be asked about his or her statements before the committee, participation as a member of the committee, or opinions formed by him or her or any other member of the committee, as a result of participation in a review conducted by the committee.
VII. The committee shall make an annual report, on or before the first day of November each year, beginning on November 1, 2008, to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the governor describing any trends and patterns of deaths or serious injuries or risk factors, together with any recommendations for changes in law, policy, and practice that will prevent deaths and related serious occurrences. The committee may also issue special reports when doing so is necessary to alert authorities or the public to the need for prompt corrective action.
VIII. The meetings and records of the committee shall be exempt from the provisions of RSA 91-A. The committee’s reports shall not include any private or privileged information. Members of the committee may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement that prohibits any unauthorized dissemination of information beyond the purpose of the review process as a condition of membership.
2007, 256:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.
Area of Law