HARRISBURG – Rep. Ann Flood (R-Northampton) today applauded House passage of her bill that would fix communication loopholes that are placing senior citizens at risk of elder abuse in long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth.
“Too many older adults and their families fall victim to abuse in long-term care facilities – abuse that could easily be prevented by simply improving communication among the agencies charged with protecting them,” said Flood. “Fixing these loopholes will work to curb elder abuse and protect our parents and grandparents who have done so much for us and our communities.
“It is my true honor to see the House vote to move this bill forward after I was inspired to draft this legislation when a constituent visited my office and shared her story of the horrific neglect and abuse her late husband, Robert Raph, suffered in a long-term care facility. This bill is in his honor,” she added.
According to a 2017 study, nearly 16% of people over the age of 60 experienced some type of abuse, the most common being neglect, but that number is likely underestimated since only one in 24 cases of older adult abuse is reported.
Two out of three abuse victims are women.
Currently, any allegations of abuse must be investigated by the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) within 72 hours of an allegation being made. Allegations of abuse made to the AAA or Department of Aging are required to be communicated to the Department of Health to ensure the alleged abuser is compliant with all regulatory requirements.
House Bill 2425
would further extend those requirements and require any report of abuse concerning residents of a long-term care facility that are made to either the Department of Health or Department of Human Services be shared with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the local AAA for investigation.
This legislation would not change current investigatory practices pursuant to the Older Adults Protective Services Act. This legislation simply closes the communications gap that is present between agencies tasked with protecting older adults.
This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Ann Flood
138th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jordan Walters