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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 23, 2014 12:19 PM
From: Representative David S. Hickernell
To: All House members
Subject: Elder Abuse Legislation

Recently, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee held a series of public informational hearings on Elder Abuse in Pennsylvania. Throughout the course of those hearings, numerous testifiers talked about the increasing number of vulnerable older adults who put their trust in friends, relatives, and professional caregivers to look out for their best interest. Too often, the "trusting" caregivers physically, emotionally or financially abuse the vulnerable elder.

One of the hearing testifiers indicated that unfortunately, current law falls short in preventing substantiated abusers from serving as caregivers. When a homecare aide is being accused of verbally or physically abusing a client, a report is filed with both the Department of Aging's Protective Services Unit and the Department of Health, the state agency that regulates homecare agencies. If this report is substantiated, the aide is terminated, however, there is no public record of this case. Therefore, another agency may hire that aide without any knowledge of the abuse. This testifier suggested that a registry, similar to the Child Abuse Registry, would be very beneficial to prevent this individual from doing this again to another vulnerable senior.

I am introducing legislation that will establish a Statewide registry of perpetrators of abuse in facilities. This legislation will require the State Department of Aging to establish a Statewide registry of persons found to be substantiated perpetrators of abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation of older persons in long-term care facilities. The bill provides that the department shall immediately expunge information in the registry pertaining to any perpetrator where the finding of the agency has been reversed upon appeal. In addition, the department shall be required to comply with the confidentiality requirements with regard to information contained within the registry.

I invite you to join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB142