131D-31.  Adult care home community advisory committees.

(a)        Statement of Purpose. - It is the intention of the General Assembly that community advisory committees work to maintain the intent of the Adult Care Home Residents' Bill of Rights within the licensed adult care homes in this State.  It is the further intent of the General Assembly that the committees promote community involvement and cooperation with adult care homes to ensure quality care for the elderly and disabled adults.

(b)        Establishment and Appointment of Committees. -

(1)        A community advisory committee shall be established in each county that has at least one licensed adult care home, shall serve all the homes in the county, and shall work with each of these homes for the best interests of the residents.  In a county that has one, two, or three adult care homes with 10 or more beds, the committee shall have five members.

(2)        In a county with four or more adult care homes with 10 or more beds, the committee shall have one additional member for each adult care home with 10 or more beds in excess of three, and may have up to five additional members at the discretion of the county commissioners, not to exceed a maximum of 25 members.  In each county with four or more adult care homes with 10 or more beds, the committee shall establish a subcommittee of no more than five members and no fewer than three members from the committee for each adult care home in the county.  Each member must serve on at least one subcommittee.

(3)        In counties with no adult care homes with 10 or more beds, the committee shall have five members. Regardless of how many members a particular community advisory committee is required to have, at least one member of each committee shall be a person involved in the area of mental retardation.

(4)        The boards of county commissioners are encouraged to appoint the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committees.  Of the members, a minority (not less than one-third, but as close to one-third as possible) shall be chosen from among persons nominated by a majority of the chief administrators of adult care homes in the county. If the adult care home administrators fail to make a nomination within 45 days after written notification has been sent to them requesting a nomination, these appointments may be made without nominations.  If the county commissioners fail to appoint members to a committee by July 1, 1983, the appointments shall be made by the Assistant Secretary for Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, no sooner than 45 days after nominations have been requested from the adult care home administrators, but no later than October 1, 1983.  In making appointments, the Assistant Secretary for Aging shall follow the same appointment process as that specified for the County Commissioners.

(c)        Joint Nursing and Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committees. - Appointment to the Nursing Home Community Advisory Committees shall preclude appointment to the Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committees except where written approval to combine these committees is obtained from the Assistant Secretary for Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.  Where this approval is obtained, the Joint Nursing and Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee shall have the membership required of Nursing Home Community Advisory Committees and one additional member for each adult care home with 10 or more beds licensed in the county.  In counties with no adult care homes with 10 or more beds, there shall be one additional member for every four other types of adult care homes in the county.  In no case shall the number of members on the Joint Nursing and Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee exceed 25. Each member shall exercise the statutory rights and responsibilities of both Nursing Home Committees and Adult Care Home Committees. In making appointments to this joint committee, the county commissioners shall solicit nominations from both nursing and adult care home administrators for the appointment of approximately (but no more than) one-third of the members.

(d)       Terms of Office. - Each committee member shall serve an initial term of one year.  Any person reappointed to a second or subsequent term in the same county shall serve a two-or three-year term at the county commissioners' discretion to ensure staggered terms of office.

(e)        Vacancies. - Any vacancy shall be filled by appointment of a person for a one-year term.  If this vacancy is in a position filled by an appointee nominated by the chief administrators of adult care homes within the county, then the county commissioners shall fill the vacancy from persons nominated by a majority of the chief administrators.  If the adult care home administrators fail to make a nomination by registered mail within 45 days after written notification has been sent to them requesting a nomination, this appointment may be made without nominations.  If the county commissioners fail to fill a vacancy, the vacancy may be filled by the Assistant Secretary for Aging, Department of Health and Human Services no sooner than 45 days after the commissioners have been notified of the appointment or vacancy.

(f)        Officers. - The committee shall elect from its members a chair, to serve a one-year term.

(g)        Minimum Qualifications for Appointment. - Each member must be a resident of the county which the committee serves.  No person or immediate family member of a person with a financial interest in a home served by the committee, or employee or governing board member of a home served by the committee, or immediate family member of a resident in a home served by the committee may be a member of that committee.  Any county commissioner who is appointed to the committee shall be deemed to be serving on the committee in an ex officio capacity. Members of the committee shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.  The names of the committee members and the date of expiration of their terms shall be filed with the Division of Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.

(h)        Training. - The Division of Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, shall develop training materials, which shall be distributed to each committee member.  Each committee member must receive training as specified by the Division of Aging prior to exercising any power under G.S. 131D-32.  The Division of Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, shall provide the committees with information, guidelines, training, and consultation to direct them in the performance of their duties.

(i)         Any written communication made by a member of adult care home advisory committee within the course and scope of the member's duties, as specified in G.S. 131D-32, shall be privileged to the extent provided in this subsection.  This privilege shall be a defense in a cause of action for libel if the member was acting in good faith and the statements and communications do not amount to intentional wrongdoing.

To the extent that any adult care home advisory committee or any member is covered by liability insurance, that committee or member shall be deemed to have waived the qualified immunity herein to the extent of indemnification by insurance. (1981, c. 923, s. 1; 1983, c. 88, s. 1; 1987, c. 682, s. 2; 1995, c. 535, s. 14; 1997-176, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)