340:5-3-1. Receiving maltreatment allegations
a) Mandatory reporters. Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is suffering from abuse, neglect, or exploitation is mandated by law, per Section 10-104(A) of Title 43A of Oklahoma Statutes (43A O.S. § 10-104(A)), to notify Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) or 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 43A O.S. § 10-104(A), including:
(A) social workers;
(C) emergency response vehicle operators;
(D) mental health professionals;
(E) law enforcement;
(F) domestic violence programs staff;
(G) long-term care facility personnel, including staff of:
(i) nursing facilities;
(ii) intermediate care facilities for persons with intellectual disabilities;
(iii) assisted living facilities;
(iv) residential care facilities; and
(v) Oklahoma veterans' centers;
(H) persons entering into transactions with a caretaker or other person who 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;
(M) other medical professionals; and
(N) municipal employees.
(b) Referral content. A referral of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult includes: • 1
(1) the vulnerable adult's name, address, or location;
(2) the caretaker's name or address, when any; and
(3) a description of the vulnerable adult's situation.
(c) Obtaining the reporter's name. The reporter's name, phone number, or address is not required, however such information is always helpful. • 2
(d) Submission of referrals for screening. OKDHS staff immediately submits all referrals for screening. Abuse and Neglect Hotline staff enters the referral into the Adult Protective Services Computer System Intake Section. • 3
1. Additional information that is useful in fact finding at all levels is noted in the Adult Protective Services (APS) Computer System Intake Section.
2. (a) The person accepting the referral explains to the reporter that:
(1) Oklahoma Human Services may need to contact the reporter for additional information and stresses the importance of the reporter's testimony when legal intervention is necessary;
(2) APS does not reveal the reporter's name;
(3) APS records are confidential but may be disclosed upon order of the court; and
(4) per Section 10-104 of Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statutes, an employer may not retaliate against an employee for making an APS referral.
(b) If the reporter continues to decline to provide his or her name and contact information, the referral is accepted and screened.
3. When the person who takes the original referral submits it to the incorrect county, the Review, Evaluate, and Decide Unit specialist or designee is responsible for reassigning the referral to the correct county. When there is a delay in the referral's submission to the appropriate county, the APS specialist IV or designee in the appropriate county advises the APS district director or designee of the delay.