Elder Justice Bill: Helping to Protect Illinois Residents from Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As part of the new health care system plan, Congress and President Obama have approved the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety Abuse Prevention Act. This will include Adult Protective Services (APS) funding that will provide $400 million in first-time dedicated funding for adult protection services. It will also provide $100 million in state demonstration grants in order to test many different methods that will improve APS.

The bill will provide $32.5 million in grants to support long-term care ombudsman programs. Ombudsman are vital to nursing homes because they are many times the first responders to nursing home abuse and neglect . For instance, the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsmen program helps to protect the safety and well-being of nursing home residents in Illinois by investigating complaints on behalf of residents and their families and also educating these groups on residents’ rights. There will also be an additional $40 million given to training programs for national organizations and State long-term ombudsmen programs.

The Elder Justice Bill will establish what is being referred to as the Elder Justice Coordinating Council that will make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the coordination of activities of federal, state, local and private agencies. They will also work with entities who relate in elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Recently, this country has seen a great rise in the amount of elder financial exploitation cases.

The Patient Safety Abuse Prevention Act will help keep nursing home patients from abusive employees. It creates a national program of criminal background checks for those seeking to work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers of Levin & Perconti are extremely pleased with the passage of this legislation and believe that it will go a long way to combat nursing home abuse. To learn more about how the two nursing home bills will affect the elderly, please visit the National Center on Elder Abuse.

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