27 July 2023- Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) today introduced legislation to establish Pennsylvania’s first statewide registry of persons found to be substantiated perpetrators of abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation of senior citizens.
Senate Bill 885 will require the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to establish the registry containing names of documented abusers along with a description and date of the incidents.
Under the legislation, administrators of nursing home facilities and home health care agencies will be mandated to require a prospective employee to submit a certification from the department stating whether the applicant is named in the registry as a perpetrator. The certificate must be obtained before the facility or a temporary health care staffing agency hires the employee.
Additionally, administrators will have the ability to inquire if any current caregiver employees are listed on the abuse registry.
“Pennsylvania has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the entire nation,” Mastriano said. “It is of paramount importance that we ensure our older adults can age with the dignity and security they deserve.”
According to US Census Data, almost 18% of Pennsylvania’s population is 65 or older. Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest population of elderly people in the United States.
“Senate Bill 885 will ensure that those who abuse and neglect our dear elderly will not be able to simply jump from workplace to workplace after committing heinous violations,” Mastriano said. “A statewide registry system will bring much-needed visibility and accountability to this growing issue.”
According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, there were 345 elder abuse offenses in Pennsylvania in 2022 – an 86% increase from the previous year.
Senate Bill 885 has been referred to the Senate Aging and Youth Committee.
Readers who suspect an older adult is the victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation can call the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Protective Services Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-490-8505.