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Health Care Legislation Includes Landmark Efforts To Stop Senior Abuse

March 29, 2010

According to the Elder Justice Coalition, nearly 11 percent of people 60 and older—5.7 million Americans—suffered some form of abuse in the last year alone. Now, after six years of efforts by the EJC, provisions in the health care reform bill are set to address the problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in this country through the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act. Over four years, the Elder Justice Act will provide $400 million in new funds for Adult Protective Services (APS) and $100 million for state demonstration grants to test a variety of methods to improve APS. There is also $32.5 million over four years in grants to support the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, $40 million over four years for training and an Elder Justice Coordinating Council to make recommendations to coordinate local, state federal and private agencies with regard to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. The centerpiece of the Patient Safety Act is the creation of a national program for performing more effective criminal background checks on people seeking jobs in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.