Mandatory Reporters of Child and Dependent Adult Abuse Subject to New Training Requirements Effective July 1

Posted by Adam Freed on Friday, May 24, 2019

Iowa law requires many health care professionals (and others) to report incidents of suspected abuse of children or of dependent adults.  Professionals subject to this requirement—often called “mandatory reporters”—include physicians, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, dental hygienists, nurses, physician assistants, emergency medical care providers, and others.  Within the first six months of employment, mandatory reporters must receive at least two hours of training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and two hours of training regarding the identification and reporting of dependent adult abuse.  Every five years thereafter, mandatory reporters must receive at least two hours of refresher training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and two hours of refresher training regarding the identification and reporting of dependent adult abuse.  Under current law, however, mandatory reporters who are subject to both requirements—for child abuse and dependent adult abuse—are permitted to receive the training simultaneously in a single two-hour training program.  The training can generally be provided through a continuing education program approved by the appropriate licensing board, through a training program approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health, or through a training using curriculum approved by another state agency.     

On May 8, 2019, Governor Reynolds signed into law House File 731, which makes significant changes to the mandatory reporter training requirements.  The new law is the culmination of efforts by the Mandatory Reporter Training and Certification Workgroup, which submitted a report to the General Assembly in December 2018.  Under the new law, mandatory reporters will now have to complete the refresher training every three years instead of every five years.  In addition, mandatory reporters will no longer be able to combine the training into a single two-hour course.  Instead, mandatory reporters will have to complete the full four hours of training.  A separate provision of the legislation, however, would permit mandatory reporters to complete the training for each component—child and dependent adult—in a one-hour course, provided that the mandatory reporter completes the training prior to the end of the three-year expiration period. This may allow mandatory reporters to continue completing the refresher training in a single two-hour course.  The legislation also requires all training to be developed and provided by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS).  

The new law is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2019.  At this time, DHS has not yet issued rules or other guidance to implement the new requirements.  BrownWinick will continue to monitor the implementation of this new law and will provide further updates as needed.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your BrownWinick attorney if you have any questions regarding the new requirements.