§346-224  Reports.  (a)  The following persons who, in the performance of their professional or official duties, know or have reason to believe that a vulnerable adult has incurred abuse or is in danger of abuse if immediate action is not taken shall promptly report the matter orally to the department:

     (1)  Any licensed or registered professional of the healing arts and any health-related occupation who examines, treats, or provides other professional or specialized services to a vulnerable adult, including physicians, physicians in training, psychologists, dentists, nurses, osteopathic physicians and surgeons, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, pharmacists, and other health-related professionals;

     (2)  Employees or officers of any public or private agency or institution providing social, medical, hospital, or mental health services, including financial assistance;

     (3)  Employees or officers of any law enforcement agency, including the courts, police departments, correctional institutions, and parole or probation offices;

     (4)  Employees or officers of any adult residential care home, adult day care center, or similar institution;

     (5)  Medical examiners or coroners; and

     (6)  Social workers licensed pursuant to chapter 467E and non-licensed persons employed in a social worker position pursuant to section 467E-6(2).

     (b)  The initial oral report required by subsection (a) shall be followed as soon as possible by a written report to the department; provided that if a police department is the initiating agency, a written report shall not be required unless the police department declines to take further action and the department informs the police department that the department intends to investigate the oral report of abuse.  A written report shall contain:

     (1)  The name and address of the vulnerable adult, if known;

     (2)  The name and address of the party who is alleged to have committed or been responsible for the abuse, if known;

     (3)  The nature and extent of the vulnerable adult's injury or harm; and

     (4)  Any other information the reporter believes may be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse.

     (c)  This section shall not prohibit any person from reporting an incident that the person has reason to believe involves abuse that came to the person's attention in a private or nonprofessional capacity.

     (d)  Any person not enumerated in subsection (a) who has reason to believe that a vulnerable adult has incurred abuse or is in danger of abuse if immediate action is not taken may report the matter orally to the department.

     (e)  Any person who knowingly fails to report as required by this section or who wilfully prevents another person from reporting pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

     (f)  The department shall maintain a central registry of reported cases.

     (g)  Nothing in this section shall require a member of the clergy to report communications that are protected under rule 506 of the Hawaii rules of evidence. [L 1989, c 381, pt of §1; am L 1990, c 144, §1 and c 234, §2; am L 2008, c 154, §6; am L 2015, c 35, §9]


Law Journals and Reviews


  Elder Abuse and Laws to Protect Older Persons in Hawaii.  15 HBJ, no. 13, at 93 (2013).

  Holding Hawai‘i Nursing Facilities Accountable for the Inadequate Pain Management of Elderly Residents.  27 UH L. Rev. 233 (2004).