A Closer Look at the Elder Justice and Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Acts

The New York Times is taking a closer look at the new health care bill in relation to elder abuse. Part of the newly signed health care law includes $777 million for programs to prevent and prosecute elder abuse over the next four years. Advocates for these programs have been seeking money for Congress since 1978.

The new provisions allow state and local adult protective service programs to have guaranteed federal funding. These agencies investigate alleged abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of elderly and disabled adults, and then insure the safety of those proven to have been victimized.

The act provides financing for the addition of 1,700 investigators around the country to investigate complaints related to long-term care facilities, including assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The new law will also create a coordinating council to make further recommendations on preventing elder abuse to the federal secretary of Health and Human Services in two years.

Separately within the health care package, another new federal law, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, creates a national system of criminal background checks for those seeking employment in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. It also includes training for bank tellers who are often the "first responders" in situations of financial abuse. This extra training could have significant impact on the prevalence financial abuse of the elderly. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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