Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
Home buttonMenu item seperator graphicBiography buttonMenu item seperator graphicAccomplishments buttonMenu item seperator graphicContacts buttonMenu item seperator graphicPress releases and speeches buttonMenu item seperator graphicTransmittal messages buttonMenu item seperator graphicExecutive orders buttonMenu item seperator graphicPhotos button
 
  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
2002 No Action

2001 Veto
2001 No Action

2000 Signature
2000 Veto
2000 No Action

1999 Signature
1999 Veto

1998 Signature
1998 Veto
1998 No Action

1997 Signature
1997 Veto

1996 Signature
1996 Veto

1995 Signature
1995 Veto
1995 No Action

 
June 26. 1995

TO THE HONORABLE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I am transmit line to the Secretary of State, with my signature, 95-H-6454, "An ACT Relating to State Affairs and Government Department of Elderly Affairs."

This legislation codifies an existing Department of Elderly Affairs practice of appointing an Ombudsperson to advocate on behalf of long term care facility residents. The Ombudsperson will oversee a comprehensive program to improve the quality of life for facility residents. As part of this program, the legislation authorizes the Ombudsperson to identify, investigate and resolve complaints which affect the health, safety and welfare of facility residents while at the same time protecting their privacy and confidentiality.

I support the goals of this legislation but write to insure that the confidentiality of the Ombudsperson's complaint files, and the privacy of the residents who initiate those complaints, are adequately protected by this legislation. The first sentence of §42-66.7-6 prohibits the disclosure of files kept by the Ombudsperson without the written consent of the affected patient or a court order. The next sentence might be read to eviscerate that protection by allowing disclosure, without resident consent, to any "interested party" when "necessary to resolve the complaint." The legislation authorizes the Department of Elderly Affairs to issue enabling regulations. One such regulation should clarify that the second sentence not be read to result in disclosures which violate the very privacy this legislation is designed to safeguard.

With this message, I sign this bill into law.


Sincerely,

Lincoln Almond
Governor