State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_131E > GS_131E-128

§ 131E‑128.  Nursinghome advisory committees.

(a)        It is the purposeof the General Assembly that community advisory committees work to maintain theintent of this Part within the nursing homes in this State, including nursinghomes operated by hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E. Itis the further purpose of the General Assembly that the committees promotecommunity involvement and cooperation with nursing homes and an integration ofthese homes into a system of care for the elderly.

(b)       (1)        Acommunity advisory committee shall be established in each county which has anursing home, including a nursing home operated by a hospital licensed underArticle 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, shall serve all the homes in the county, andshall work with each home in the best interest of the persons residing in eachhome. In a county which has one, two, or three nursing homes, the committeeshall have five members. In a county with four or more nursing homes, thecommittee shall have one additional member for each nursing home in excess ofthree, and may have up to five additional members per committee at thediscretion of the county commissioners.

(2)        In each county withfour or more nursing homes, the committee shall establish a subcommittee of nomore than five members and no fewer than three members from the committee foreach nursing home in the county. Each member must serve on at least onesubcommittee.

(3)        Each committee shallbe appointed by the board of county commissioners. Of the members, a minority(not less than one‑third, but as close to one‑third as possible)must be chosen from among persons nominated by a majority of the chiefadministrators of nursing homes in the county and of the governing bodies ofthe hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operatenursing homes. If the nursing home administrators and the governing bodies ofthe hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operatenursing homes fail to make a nomination within 45 days after writtennotification has been sent to them by the board of county commissionersrequesting a nomination, these appointments may be made by the board of countycommissioners without nominations.

(c)        Each committeemember shall serve an initial term of one year. Any person reappointed to asecond or subsequent term in the same county shall serve a three‑yearterm. Persons who were originally nominees of nursing home chief administratorsand the governing bodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S.Chapter 131E, which operate nursing homes, or who were appointed by the boardof county commissioners when the nursing home administrators and the governingbodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, whichoperate nursing homes failed to make nominations, may not be reappointedwithout the consent of a majority of the nursing home chief administrators andthe governing bodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter131E, which operate nursing homes within the county. If the nursing home chiefadministrators and the governing bodies of the hospitals licensed under Article5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operate nursing homes fail to approve or rejectthe reappointment within 45 days of being requested by the board of countycommissioners, the commissioners may reappoint the member if they so choose.

(d)        Any vacancy shallbe filled by appointment of a person for a one‑year term. Any personreplacing a member nominated by the chief administrators and the governingbodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, whichoperate nursing homes or a person appointed when the chief administrators andthe governing bodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter131E, which operate nursing homes failed to make a nomination shall be selectedfrom among persons nominated by the administrators and the governing bodies ofthe hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operatenursing homes, as provided in subsection (b). If the county commissioners failto appoint members to a committee, or fail to fill a vacancy, the appointmentmay be made or vacancy filled by the Secretary or the Secretary's designee nosooner than 45 days after the commissioners have been notified of the appointmentor vacancy if nomination or approval of the nursing home administrators and thegoverning bodies of the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter131E, which operate nursing homes is not required. If nominations or approvalof the nursing home administrators and the governing bodies of the hospitalslicensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operate nursing homes isrequired, the appointment may be made or vacancy filled by the Secretary or theSecretary's designee no sooner than 45 days after the commissioners havereceived the nomination or approval, or no sooner than 45 days after the 45‑dayperiod for action by the nursing home administrators and the governing bodiesof the hospitals licensed under Article 5 of G.S. Chapter 131E, which operatenursing homes.

(e)        The committee shallelect from its members a chair, to serve a one‑year term.

(f)         Each member mustbe a resident of the county which the committee serves. No person or immediatefamily member of a person with a financial interest in a home served by acommittee, or employee or governing board member or immediate family member ofan employee or governing board member of a home served by a committee, orimmediate family member of a patient in a home served by a committee may be amember of a committee. Membership on a committee shall not be considered anoffice as defined in G.S. 128‑1 or G.S. 128‑1.1. Any countycommissioner who is appointed to the committee shall be deemed to be serving onthe committee in an ex officio capacity. Members of the committee shall servewithout compensation, but may be reimbursed for the amount of actual expensesincurred by them in the performance of their duties. The names of the committeemembers and the date of expiration of their terms shall be filed with theDivision of Aging, which shall supply a copy to the Division of Health ServiceRegulation.

(g)        The Division ofAging, Department of Health and Human Services, shall develop trainingmaterials which shall be distributed to each committee member and nursing home.Each committee member must receive training as specified by the Division ofAging prior to exercising any power under subsection (h) of this section. TheDivision of Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, shall provide thecommittees with information, guidelines, training, and consultation to directthem in the performance of their duties.

(h)       (1)        Eachcommittee shall apprise itself of the general conditions under which thepersons are residing in the homes, and shall work for the best interests of thepersons in the homes. This may include assisting persons who have grievanceswith the home and facilitating the resolution of grievances at the local level.

(2)        Each committee shallquarterly visit the nursing home it serves. For each official quarterly visit,a majority of the committee members shall be present. In addition, eachcommittee may visit the nursing home it serves whenever it deems it necessaryto carry out its duties. In counties with four or more nursing homes, thesubcommittee assigned to a home shall perform the duties of the committee underthis subdivision, and a majority of the subcommittee members must be presentfor any visit.

(3)        Each member of acommittee shall have the right between 10:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. to enter intothe facility the committee serves in order to carry out the members'responsibilities. In a county where subcommittees have been established, thisright of access shall be limited to homes served by those subcommittees towhich the member has been appointed.

(4)        The committee orsubcommittee may communicate through its chair with the Department or any otheragency in relation to the interest of any patient. The identity of anycomplainant or resident involved in a complaint shall not be disclosed exceptas permitted under the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3001 et seq.

(5)        Each home shallcooperate with the committee as it carries out its duties.

(6)        Before entering intoany nursing home, the committee, subcommittee, or member shall identify itselfto the person present at the facility who is in charge of the facility at thattime.

(i)         Any writtencommunication made by a member of a nursing home advisory committee within thecourse and scope of the member's duties, as specified in G.S. 131E‑128,shall be privileged to the extent provided in this subsection. This privilegeshall be a defense in a cause of action for libel if the member was acting ingood faith and the statements or communications do not amount to intentionalwrongdoing.

To the extent that any nursinghome advisory committee or any member thereof is covered by liabilityinsurance, that committee or member shall be deemed to have waived thequalified immunity herein to the extent of indemnification by insurance. (1977, c. 897, s. 2; 1977,2nd Sess., c. 1192, s. 1; 1983, c. 143, ss. 4‑9; c. 775, ss. 1, 6; 1987,c. 682, s. 1; 1995, c. 254, s. 7; 1997‑176, s. 1; 1997‑443, s.11A.118(a); 2007‑182, s. 1.)