Senate budget to include $160 million for elder abuse prevention

Share this content:
The Senate has set aside funding in its fiscal year 2009 budget resolution for a national system of background checks to keep those with abusive and criminal histories out of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

The Senate approved an amendment for the funding last week, but the money, which would total $160 million, will only be available upon the Senate's passage of the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007 (S. 1577). The act would set up a comprehensive nationwide system of background checks for long-term care workers.

Both the Senate and House passed nonbinding budget resolutions late last week. The two bodies plan to reconcile their plans this spring.  

"The current system of state-based background checks is haphazard, inconsistent, and full of gaping holes," said Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and primary sponsor of the background check legislation.