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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 23, 2014 12:52 PM
From: Representative Tim Hennessey
To: All House members
Subject: Older Adults Protective Services Act
I will soon introduce legislation to update and make necessary improvements to the Older Adults Protective Services Act (Act 79 of 1987). This legislation will amend the criminal background check provisions in the current act - specifically, the existing lifetime ban for employment of individuals convicted of certain enumerated crimes.

In December 2001, the Commonwealth Court decided that Sections 502 and 503 of the act are unconstitutional. The PA Supreme Court agreed, on appeal. The court suggested that some form of time limitation for certain crimes would be appropriate. Until now, the issue has not been legislatively addressed. An Interim Administrative Policy issued in 2004 is still in effect today.

This bill would amend the Older Adults Protective Services Act to create a clear line of distinction with regard to crimes that would prohibit individuals from being employed in long-term care facilities. The bill will require background checks of all applicants, prior to hiring. Anyone convicted of the egregious offenses under the PA Crimes Code will be prohibited from employment. Lesser crimes would carry a 10-year ban. However, a facility may hire an applicant early, if the applicant can demonstrate a five-year aggregate work history in care-dependent services, without incident, from the date of conviction.

This legislation will require financial institutions in the Commonwealth to include in their employee training programs specific training in recognizing signs of potential financial abuse of an older adult, and the process to make an abuse report, in accordance with the Older Adults Protective Services Act.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB786