Legislation to prevent police, doctors and bankers from being kept on hold for long periods of time when calling in suspected elder abuse is on its way to the governor.
The measure would allow authorities to submit these reports by using a secure and confidential Internet site rather than calling in on a telephone line that at times can be busy.
“This effective reporting system will ensure that our seniors’ voices are heard and abuses are not overlooked,” said Sen. Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat who carried the bill.
San Diego County officials pressed for the change, saying overloaded phone lines and budget squeezing threaten to frustrate those who are required by law to file reports of suspected physical or financial abuse.
The average time spent on hold is 6 minutes and 48 seconds, according to county records. The longest delays range from 39 minutes to 74 minutes.
The Internet reporting system would be optional.
Senate Bill 718 sailed through the Legislature without opposition, most recently clearing its final house vote.
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Elder Abuse Hotline May Go on the Web