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Reporting Procedures for Statutorily Reportable Deaths - DEFINITIONS

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1. For the purpose of reporting a death to the Department under 1989 Wisconsin Act 336, the following definitions of "physical restraint" and "psychotropic medication" are found in ss. 48.599, 50.035 (5), 50.04 (2t), and 51.64 (1), Stats.

a. "Physical restraint" includes all of the following:

  1. A locked room.

  2. A device or garment that interferes with an individual’s freedom of movement and that the individual is unable to remove easily.

  3. Restraint by a treatment facility staff member of a person admitted or committed to the treatment facility by use of physical force.

b. "Psychotropic medication" means an antipsychotic, antidepressant, lithium carbonate or a tranquilizer.

2.a. The term "client/patient," for the purpose of reporting a death, applies to the deceased person when any of the following occurred prior to his or her death:

  1. The person was formally admitted to the program or facility prior to his or her death.

  2. The person was court ordered to participate in the program or was protectively placed in a facility.

  3. The person had received services from the program/service provider.

b. The deceased person is no longer a "client/patient," for the purpose of reporting his or her death, when any of the following occurred prior to his or her death:

  1. The person was discharged from the program in accordance with an appropriate individualized discharge plan.

  2. The person had indicated his or her intent, in writing, to withdraw from the program.

  3. The person was discharged due to a violation of a specific condition detailed in the admission agreement. In these instances the provider must have attempted to arrange for an alternate placement appropriate to the person’s immediate needs.

  4. The person was discharged in accordance with statutory or regulatory requirements dealing with involuntary discharge.

  5. The person was discharged pursuant to a court order requiring an alternate placement; or

  6. The person may have been considered an active case by the provider but did not receive services from the provider during the past 60 days prior to his or her death.

    Providers are expected to have made reasonable attempts (including written attempts, telephone contacts, and when appropriate, outreach efforts) to determine the client’s location and his or her intent to withdraw from the program.

c. A "client/patient" is considered to not have been discharged from a provider if:

  • he or she is transferred from one provider to another (e.g., a nursing home to a hospital) due to a sudden or temporary change in the client’s/patient’s condition
  • unless the client/patient is discharged in accordance with one of the items in 2.b. 1 to 6 above.

Additionally, if a client/patient dies after having been transferred to a provider (due to a sudden or temporary change in the client’s/patient’s condition), and there is cause to believe that the death was related to:

  • the use of a restraint or seclusion by that facility
  • the use of one or more psychotropic medications
  • the death is a suspected suicide

Then the provider to which the person was transferred (other than a medical hospital) must report the death to the Department.

This provider, and the client/patient’s other provider (from which the person was transferred), may be included in the Department’s investigation of the death.

3. "Treatment facility" under ss. 51.01 (19), Stats., means any publicly or privately operated facility or unit thereof providing treatment of:

  • alcoholic
  • drug dependent
  • mentally ill
  • developmentally disabled persons

including but not limited to:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
  • community support programs
  • rehabilitation programs

For a list of programs/services that are required to report deaths under certain circumstances to the Department under this reporting requirement, please refer to the column labeled "Program Type" in  "Reportable Death Contact Table" on page 5 of form F-62470 (PDF, 239 KB).

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Last Updated: January 13, 2014