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NO. 131. AN ACT TO PERMIT PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION ABOUT NURSING HOMES.

(H.579)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 33 V.S.A. § 7112 is amended to read:

§ 7112. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

(a) Information received by the licensing agency through filed reports, inspection, or as otherwise authorized under this chapter, *[shall not be disclosed publicly in such manner as to identify individuals or facilities, except insofar as such disclosure results in a notice of violation pursuant to section 7110 of this title or any enforcement action under this chapter. Information regarding unprofessional conduct of a person under the jurisdiction of a licensing board listed in 3 V.S.A. § 122 may be released to the office of professional regulation]* except information that pertains to unsubstantiated complaints or the identity of residents and complainants, shall be made available to the public.

(b) Prior to release of information the commissioner shall consult with representatives from the nursing home industry and the office of state long-term care ombudsman to develop:

(1) Guidelines for the release of information to the public that ensure the confidentiality and privacy of complainants and individuals who are receiving or have received care or services in nursing facilities in conformance with state and federal requirements.

(2) Indicators, derived from information databases maintained by the licensing agency and the division of rate setting, that shall be disseminated to consumers in an readily understandable format designed to facilitate consumers' ability to compare the quality of care provided by nursing facilities. The commissioner shall continually update quality indicators and refine and improve the information disseminated to consumers.

Sec. 2. 33 V.S.A. § 908(a) is amended to read:

(a) Each nursing home or other provider shall file with the division, on request, such data, statistics, schedules or information as the division may require to enable it to carry out its function. Information received from a nursing home under this section shall beavailable to the public, except that the specific salary and wage rates of employees, other than the salary of an administrator, shall not be disclosed.

Sec. 3. REPORT

On or before January 15, 1999, the Agency of Human Services shall report to the Committees on Health and Welfare of the House and Senate regarding the guidelines for the release of information and quality indicators that have been developed pursuant to 33 V.S.A. § 7112(b).

Approved: April 28, 1998