104 CMR 30.07 - Disposition of Personal Property Abandoned at Facilities or Programs

(1) Purpose. To establish standard procedures for handling, controlling and disposing of personal property abandoned by patients at the Department operated or contracted for facilities or by clients at residential sites that are operated by the Department or by a program contracted for by the Department.
(2) Scope. 104 CMR 30.07 applies to the Department operated and contracted for facilities and Department operated and contracted for programs that operate residential sites as defined in 104 CMR 28.13: Licensing: Physical Standards.
(3) Definitions. As used in 104 CMR 30.07, the terms listed in 104 CMR 30.07(3) have the following definitions.
(a) Abandoned Property.
1. personal property that belongs to a patient and which is left behind by the patient after the patient is discharged from the facility; or
2. personal property that belongs to a client and which is left behind by the client at a program's residential site after the client leaves the residential site.
(b) Discharged means being formally discharged from a facility or being classified as absent without authorization (AWA) pursuant to 104 CMR 27.15: Absence without Authorization, for six months.
(c) To Leave a Residential Site means that the client has left a residential site with no intent to return.
(4) Patients and Clients are Responsible for Their Personal Property.
(a) Patients and clients are responsible for their personal property that they bring to or acquire while at a Department operated or contracted for facility or program. Facilities and programs are not responsible for damage to, loss of, or theft of the personal property of patients or clients.
(b) At the time of discharge from a facility, it is the patient's responsibility to remove or make arrangements for the removal of his or her personal property from the facility. Similarly, when a client leaves a residential site operated by a program, the client is responsible for removing or making arrangements for the removal of his or her personal property from the site.
(5) Notification of Policies Concerning Abandoned Property.
(a) Facilities. At the time of admission and again during the discharge planning process, or upon request, a facility must provide a patient and his or her legally authorized representative, if any, with written information on the facility's policies concerning the disposition of patients' personal property that is abandoned at the facility. The information shall also be provided to clients or their legally authorized representatives upon their request.
(b) Programs. When a client is initially provided with services at a residential site of a program and again ten or more days prior to a planned transition of the client from the residential site to another place of residence on a permanent basis, the program must provide the client and his or her legally authorized representative, if any, with written information on the program's policies concerning the disposition of personal property that is abandoned by clients at the program's residential sites. The information shall also be provided to clients or their legally authorized representatives upon their request.
(6) Storage of Abandoned Personal Property.
(a) A facility or program shall inventory and store abandoned personal property as soon as it is practical, but no later than ten days, after the patient is discharged from the facility or the client leaves the residential site of the program. A copy of the inventory shall be maintained in the record of the patient or client. The storage shall be appropriate for the nature and potential value of the abandoned property.
(b) Abandoned property shall be stored until such time as it is reclaimed by the patient or client or his or her legally authorized representative, if any, or it is disposed of in accordance with 104 CMR 30.07(8).
(7) Reasonable Efforts to Contact the Patient or Client. The facility and program shall make reasonable attempts to contact the patient or client or his or legally authorized representative, if any, to facilitate the return of the abandoned personal property. Such efforts shall include:
(a) Mailing a letter within ten days of the discharge of the patient from a facility or a client leaving the residential site operated by a program. The letter must be mailed to the last known address of the patient or client (other than the facility or program) and to his or her legally authorized representative, if any. The letter must:
1. describe the abandoned property in sufficient detail so the patient or client will recognize it;
2. advise the patient or client to contact the facility or program as soon as possible to reclaim the property; and
3. inform the patient or client how long the abandoned property will be kept before it is disposed of by the facility or program.
(b) 30 days prior to disposing of any abandoned property pursuant to 104 CMR 30.07(8), the facility or program must again mail a letter to the patient or client to the last known address of the patient and client and to his or her legally authorized representative, if any. A facility only must also send a copy of the letter to patient's next of kin. The letter must inform the patient or client that the facility or program intends to sell or otherwise dispose of the property in accordance with law if it is not reclaimed and removed from the facility or program within the next 30 days.
(c) When mailing the letters required by 104 CMR 30.07(7), the facility and program must, to the extent permitted by privacy and confidentiality statutes and regulations, check with other available resources to determine if a more recent address can be obtained. At a minimum, a Department operated program and facility shall ascertain if a more recent address for the patient or client exists in the Department's records. If a more recent address is obtained, a copy of the applicable letter shall also be sent to that new address.
(d) All efforts to contact the patient or client shall be documented in writing and kept in the record of the patient or client.
(8) Disposing of Abandoned Property. In disposing of abandoned property, a facility and program must abide by all applicable laws and regulations.
(a) Facilities.
1. A facility must retain abandoned property for at least one year after the patient's discharge prior to disposing of it.
2. Intangible personal property (e.g., cash, checks, stocks, etc.) shall be disposed of by delivering it over to the State Treasurer in accordance with M.G.L. c. 123, § 26(b) and M.G.L. c. 200A.
3. Other personal property shall be disposed of as follows:
a. The facility director, or designee, shall determine if the property has sale value. If the property has sale value, the facility director or designee shall solicit offers for purchase from three reputable dealers in like property and shall sell the property to the highest bidder. The proceeds from the sale shall be given to the State Treasurer in accordance with M.G.L. c. 123, § 26(b) and M.G.L. c. 200A.
b. If the property is determined not to have sale value, or if no offer is received in response to solicitation for bids as described, the property may be disposed of in such a manner deemed appropriate by the facility director, or designee. This may include donating the property to charity or discarding the property.
c. A record of how a patient's abandoned property was disposed of shall be signed by the facility director or designee and filed with the former patient's facility records.
d. Staff of the facility shall not use, purchase or otherwise acquire the abandoned property.
(b) Programs.
1. A program must retain abandoned property for at least 60 days after the client leaves the program's residential site prior to disposing of it.
2. Intangible personal property shall be delivered to the State Treasurer in accordance with M.G.L. c. 200A.
3. Other personal property shall be disposed of as follows:
a. The program director or designee, shall determine if the property has sale value. If the property has sale value, the program director or designee shall solicit offers for purchase from three reputable dealers in like property and shall sell the property to the highest bidder. The proceeds from such sale shall be delivered to the State Treasurer in accordance with the procedures set forth in M.G.L. c. 200A.
b. If the property is determined not to have sale value, or if no offer is received in response to solicitation for bids as described, the property may be disposed of in such a manner deemed appropriate by the program director or designee. This may include donating the property to charity or discarding the property.
c. A record of how a client's abandoned property was disposed of shall be signed by the program director or designee and filed with the client's program records.
d. Staff of the program shall not use, purchase or otherwise acquire the abandoned property.

Notes

104 CMR 30.07
Amended by Mass Register Issue 1286, eff. 5/8/2015. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1359, eff. 2/23/2018. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1384, eff. 2/8/2019.

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