Bill would create national elder abuse registry

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Long-term care providers could have an additional tool to screen potential employees and weed out those with past incidents of elder abuse under a bill introduced last week.

H.R. 3885, known as the Senior Citizen Protection Act of 2017, would create guidelines for an elder abuse registry and give grants to states to implement and operate their own registry. It was introduced on Sept. 28, and was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The registries would include the names of individuals convicted of or found by a state agency to have committed elder abuse. Information on the circumstances of the abuse, the type of abuse committed, and the abuser's relationship to the victim would also be provided. Some states already have such registries, but there current is no nationally-searchable database of state-level data, according to Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the authors of the bill.

The registries would be accessible by the public, with the idea that the information could help long-term care providers make hiring decisions.

“Families deserve the peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the best possible care at senior facilities and nursing homes,” Schneider said in a statement. “Collecting and cataloging state data on elder abusers and scammers into a nationally-searchable database is a commonsense step to protect our seniors from those who wish to do them harm.”

Schneider's statement also cites a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General that said many potential cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes go unreported.