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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2022 11:48 AM
From: Senator Chris Gebhard
To: All Senate members
Subject: Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA)
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that has been championed by Senator Mensch over the years that would update and overhaul the Older Adults Protective Services Act. I am happy today that I have been given Senator Mensch’s blessing to carry the torch on this issue moving forward.
The Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) has been effective as a means of detecting and reducing elder abuse in the Commonwealth, as well as a blueprint for establishing protective services for Pennsylvanians 60 years of age and older.
Perhaps the most pressing need for this legislation is to correct a constitutionality issue created by a state Supreme Court decision in 2015. The decision held that it is unconstitutional for the offenses listed in OAPSA to result in a lifetime employment ban for workers in elder care facilities without further evaluation.
In addition to this fix, this legislation will improve the delivery of resources and streamline the services provided to older adults by:
  • Streamlining communications between organizations and agencies that care for seniors, and finding ways to increase health care efficiency.
  • Addressing the rise of financial exploitation of older Pennsylvanians by giving financial institutions tools to intervene if they suspect an elder is being taken advantage of through the illegal taking, misuse or concealment of money, property or assets.
  • Improving and updating provisions specifically related to the sexual abuse of older adults.
  • Providing mandatory reporters (physicians, health care providers and police) with a clear procedure for reporting suspected elder abuse, as well as give them the tools necessary to work together on the investigations that follow.
The last time this legislation was introduced was in 2019 as SB 819 and was co-sponsored by Gordner, Yaw, Baker, K. Ward, Vogel, J. Ward, Schwank, Tartaglione, Fontana, Brewster, Boscola, Haywood and Muth. The bill unanimously passed the Senate but was never considered in the House of Representatives.  The further away we get from the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, the more issues arise for our seniors and our providers. I ask that you join with me in support of this initiative.