Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gillen's bill would require regular reporting of maltreatment trends

State Rep. Mark Gillen
In the wake of a Reading Eagle investigation that found a shroud of secrecy around police reporting and elder abuse in nursing homes, state Rep. Mark Gillen wants state departments charged with oversight to make more information available to the public.

Last week, Gillen, a Robeson Township Republican, introduced an amendment to House Bill 1124 that would require the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Aging, and Human Services on a biennial basis to jointly track and report to the Legislature trends on the maltreatment of care-dependent people.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Jim Cox, a Sinking Spring Republican, would expand a state statute dealing with neglect of care-dependent people to include abuse.

"We need enhanced transparency and the ability for the attorney general to be effective," Gillen said, noting the statute doesn't allow the state's top law enforcer to investigate and prosecute abuse.Gillen's amendment also requires the creation of an investigation memorandum that makes public - among other things - the alleged violation, a summary of findings, the caretaker name and conclusions.Advocates for the elderly praised the steps by lawmakers to address growing concerns over elder abuse. But given the number of adult children caring for aging parents, they also cautioned against releasing unsubstantiated reports."We don't want to punish people who haven't done anything wrong," said Sam Brooks, an attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia and an advocate for the elderly. "Absent substantiation, really publishing this publicly can do more harm to people."Gillen said he welcomed the public input."I see this as part of the process, not a finished product," he said.  (Click to Continue)

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Gillen's bill would require regular reporting of maltreatment trends

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