Posted by: National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse

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Proactive Legislation And The Inclusion Of Seniors In Our Society Are Steps To Protecting Them Against Predators

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A disturbing aspect of an  elder law and trusts and estates practice is the discovery of elder abuse. According to the National Institute on Aging, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited each year. Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in addition to neglect and abandonment.  The perpetrators are often relatives or friends who have influence over the individual who may be vulnerable due to illness, disability, or age. Sometimes the abuse occurs at the hands of caregivers, whether in the home or in a facility.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced bipartisan legislation to help protect the elderly and infirmed by improving health care worker hiring practices in long-term care and medical facilities. Too often the elderly and infirmed are harmed as a result of the individuals working in the very facilities that are charged with helping rehabilitate them.

The Promote Responsible Oversight and Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors Act, also known as “PROTECTS,” is an act that would expand access to the National Practitioner Data Bank for Medicare and Medicaid providers to conduct background checks on employees. Specifically, PROTECTS would include Medicaid/Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice programs, and pharmacies.

The Act has been endorsed by the American Health Care Association and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. The aforesaid Data Bank would reveal malpractice for potential employees and assist facility administrators in their hiring and consequently affect the standards of care.

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