Skip to main content

Library: Policy

340:2-3-35. Processing referrals received by the Office of Client Advocacy (OCA)

Revised 9-15-15

(a) OCA referral screening options.  Except for referrals received from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Abuse and Neglect Hotline (Hotline) involving a child, OCA intake records on Form 15GN001E, Office of Client Advocacy-Intake Referral, the specifics of each referral and makes an appropriate disposition.  All known information is considered when determining the appropriate disposition and course of action.  If the information is unclear and it appears the allegation may rise to the level of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, a preliminary inquiry is conduct by intake staff.  The screening disposition options and criteria include, but are not limited to, the options described in (1) through (12) of this subsection.

  • (1) Assign for OCA investigation.  This screening disposition means OCA opens an investigation of an allegation of the person responsible for the child of interest (PRFCI) or vulnerable adult caretaker (VAC) maltreatment.  • 1 & 2

  • (2) Assign for internal caretaker conduct review.  This screening disposition means the facility or provider named in the referral is given responsibility to conduct an internal caretaker conduct review per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:2-3-37.  Within one business day of receiving a referral given this disposition, OCA intake notifies the administrator or designated contact person.  This screening disposition applies to allegations involving vulnerable adults residing at the Robert M. Greer Center (Greer) and facilities for children not licensed by or contracted with DHS.  • 3

  • (3) Refer to OCA advocate.  This screening disposition is made when the referral involves a Hissom class member or a resident of Greer and involves a concern based on the information provided and does not rise to the level of maltreatment.  • 5

  • (4) Refer to another administrative entity.  This screening disposition means OCA intake forwards the information to another state agency or DHS program or office.  This screening disposition is appropriate when information provided by the reporting party does not include an allegation of caretaker maltreatment within OCA purview, but involves complaints about employee performance or allegations within the scope of another administrative entity.  • 6

  • (5) Refer to Office of Inspector General (OIG).  An allegation regarding the alleged misuse of a Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, or Social Security Administration fraud or overpayment, is sent to OIG for investigation.  This disposition is also utilized when there are allegations of fraud, misconduct, or criminal behavior against current DHS employees.  • 7

  • (6) Refer to law enforcement.  This screening disposition is used when the referral involves possible criminal activity and the reported allegations are not within OCA investigative authority per OAC 340:2-3-32(a).  This disposition is not used when OCA opens an investigation on a referral even though a law enforcement agency is investigating the matter.  A case may warrant simultaneous OCA involvement and referral to law enforcement.  In those instances, notification to law enforcement is appropriately documented.

  • (7) Refer for grievance.  This screening disposition means the referral is directed to the appropriate entity for processing as a grievance, when the content of the referral is not caretaker maltreatment, but a complaint or concern that can be addressed by a grievance.  When the complaint can be addressed as a grievance and is referred for grievance by OCA, the entity promptly notifies its local grievance coordinator.  A referral may be appropriate for processing as a grievance when the complaint concerns:

    • (A) conditions that do not endanger clients or residents;

    • (B) staff improprieties that do not constitute maltreatment; and

    • (C) privileges and restrictions not involving the use of isolation, force, or restraints.  • 8

  • (8) No action required.  This screening disposition is made when OCA takes no action in response to the referral because the information provided is for notification purposes only and does not include an allegation, complaint, or concern appropriate for another screening disposition.

  • (9) Refer to administration.  This screening disposition means the matter is not within the purview of OCA, another DHS unit, or another state agency, but is relevant to the facility or provider operations.  • 10

  • (10) Refer to Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) Quality Assurance (QA).  This screening disposition is made when an allegation involves an alleged contract violation that does not involve caretaker maltreatment.

  • (11) Refer for special advocacy.  This screening disposition is made when the referral constitutes a request for advocacy services per OAC 340:2-3-75.

  • (12) Refer to DDS case management.  This screening disposition is made when an allegation does not rise to the level of abuse, neglect, or exploitation but involves an issue of person-centered planning or case management follow-up on behalf of a vulnerable adult.  • 11

(b) Law enforcement notification.  Law enforcement is notified when a referral opened as an OCA investigation involves possible criminal activity on the part of a PRFCI or a VAC.  • 12

(c) Assignment process for referrals opened for investigation.  Investigations involving vulnerable adults are assigned within one business day of a disposition to investigate the allegation.  When urgent circumstances exist in a case opened for investigation, an assignment is made, and the investigation commences immediately.  • 13

(d) Information provided to reporting party.  The reporting party upon proper identification may be provided with information regarding the disposition of the referral.  • 14

Revised 9-15-15

1.Intake screening dispositions regarding referrals.When the Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) intake receives a referral the intake staff determines if the information is sufficient to make an appropriate disposition.If it is determined that additional information or clarification is needed to make a disposition, a preliminary inquiry is conducted by intake staff.The preliminary inquiry does not exceed two business days.If additional time is needed, the intake staff consults with the intake program manager for an extension of time.The preliminary inquiry involves gathering additional facts by telephone interviews or other necessary means to obtain information to appropriately disposition a referral.

2.Referral assignment and notification requirements.

(1) Investigations are assigned within one business day of the screening disposition for investigation.

(2) The only screening dispositions used for referrals regarding a Hissom class member are "Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) investigation," "refer to advocate," and "refer to administration."

(3) When appropriate, intake also refers to law enforcement and to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Adult Protective Services (APS) Unit.

(4) When a screening disposition or change in screening disposition regards a referral involving a Hissom class member, OCA intake emails the:

(A) OCA advocate assigned to the class member;

(B) advocate's supervisor;

(C) OCA programs administrator for community advocacy programs;

(D) appropriate Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDS) area manager; and

(E) other persons designated in OCA directives.

(5) When an initial screening disposition or a subsequent change in screening disposition involves a referral regarding a non-class member, OCA intake emails the:

(A) appropriate DDS area manager and designated DDS State Office administration; and

(B) others designated in OCA directives.

3.Assign for caretaker conduct review.Within one business day after receiving the referral with the caretaker conduct review screening disposition, OCA intake staff notifies the Robert M. Greer Center administrator or designated contact person.Misconduct by a person responsible for the child of interest (PRFCI) is screened by the OKDHS Abuse and Neglect Hotline and sent to the appropriate entity for review.OCA may conduct an investigation when the DHS Specialized Placement Unit, DHS Child Care Licensing, or another source determines a pattern of misconduct exists by a PRFCI, facility, or facility administration fails to take appropriate corrective action.

4.Priority 24-hour initiation protocol.Emergency situations are those in which a person is in present danger and is at risk of serious harm or injury including, but not limited to:an act that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of a body member, organ, or mental faculty, an injury to an internal or external organ of the body, a bone fracture, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, chronic abuse, or torture.

(1) OCA intake determines from available information, whether the situation presents a serious risk to the victim requiring immediate attention.OCA intake immediately notifies the intake and investigation programs managers or designees of the referral to coordinate an expedited response by an investigator.After intake notifies the investigation programs manager, the investigative unit makes arrangements to ensure an OCA investigator responds within 24 hours.

(2) When an emergency response appears indicated, the OCA investigator arranges to visit the victim immediately or within 24 hours with:

(A) an Adult Protective Services (APS) investigator;

(B) a law enforcement officer; or

(C) other appropriate person, such as an OCA advocate.

5.Refer to OCA advocate.Within one business day after receipt of the reported incident, the applicable OCA advocate and his or her supervisor are notified of the matter by email or telephone for appropriate follow-up inquiry.When the advocate knows or learns of facts that indicate a more appropriate disposition, the assigned advocacy programs manager immediately notifies OCA intake.Face-to-face contact with a vulnerable adult by an OCA advocate may be utilized to meet case initiation time requirements if a subsequent disposition is made.

6.Refer to another administrative entity.When this disposition is made, OCA intake staff makes the referral within one business day after receipt of the reported incident.These referrals are not assigned to OCA investigators.

7.Refer to OIG.This disposition is made within one business day after receipt of the referral, when the allegation involves the alleged misuse of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, Social Security Administration fraud, or in instances of alleged fraud, misconduct, or criminal behavior by a current DHS employee, by emailing a notice of disposition to the appropriate designee of the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

8.Refer for grievance.When a referral to a grievance system is made, OCA intake notes the specifics of the referral on Form 15GN001E.

9.Refer to administration.OCA intake contacts the administrator of the facility or provider to inform the administrator of relevant information relating to the referral.

10.When a referral from Greer is given a "refer to administration" screening disposition, the facility sends OCA a copy of the:

(1) incident reports;

(2) five-day reports; and

(3) final reports sent to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) within one business day of submission of the report to OSDH.

11.Refer to DDS case management.This disposition is made within one business day after receipt of the referral, when case management needs to address issues including, but not limited to:safety, supervision, health, adaptive equipment, nutrition, or other issues.

12.Law enforcement notification of criminal activity.

(1) Criminal activity reported to law enforcement includes, but is not limited to:

(A) illegal drug use or possession;

(B) domestic abuse;

(C) illegal sexual activity;

(D) illegal use of alcohol;

(E) theft of money, property, or medication that is a controlled substance; and

(F) when maltreatment is perpetrated by someone other than a PRFC or vulnerable adult caretaker.

(2) OCA intake determines from the reporting party or the designated contact person for the facility or provider whether law enforcement was notified.When a reporting party indicates law enforcement was contacted, OCA intake documents on Form 15GN001E, Office of Client Advocacy – Intake Referral, the particulars regarding the law enforcement agency contacted, date and time of contact, and with whom the reporting party spoke to regarding Form 15GN001E.

13.Assignment process for referrals opened for investigation.A referral accepted for investigation is assigned to a specific OCA investigator.When assigning a referral for investigation, consideration is given to the status of the investigators' workloads, efficient use of travel resources, planned and unplanned investigators' absences, and investigator areas of expertise.Following the referral assignment, the name of the investigator to whom the referral is assigned is noted in OCA Client Contact Manager.

14.Information provided to reporting party.Upon presentation of proper identification, the reporting party may be provided with information.

Back to Top