The Elder Justice Act (S. 1070 / H.R. 1783)

Sponsored by Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Representatives Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Peter King (R-NY).

The Elder Justice Act is designed to provide federal resources to prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Specifically, the Elder Justice Act (S. 1070/H.R. 1783) would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:

  • establish the Elder Justice Coordinating Council and an Advisory Board on Elder Abuse;

  • establish Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Forensic Centers to develop forensic expertise and provide services relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

  • enhance long-term care through efforts such as:

    • providing incentives for individuals training for and seeking employment in long-term care facilities and for those already employed by long-term care facilities;

    • assisting long-term care facilities in offsetting costs related to clinical health care informatics systems designed to improve patient safety and reduce adverse events and health care complications resulting from medication errors; and

    • ensuring that the HHS website includes information regarding the number of adjudicated instances of criminal violations by a nursing facility or crimes committed by an employee of a nursing facility and a consumer rights information page comparing nursing facilities;

  • provide funding to State and local adult protective service offices to be used in research, investigation, and prosecution of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and disseminate information regarding elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

  • make available grants to eligible entities for State long-term care ombudsmen programs to improve their capacity to respond to complaints of elder abuse and neglect and to train local ombudsmen entities;

  • establish programs to provide and improve ombudsman training with respect to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation for national organizations and State long-term care ombudsman programs;

  • provide grants to eligible entities to evaluate the effectiveness of programs related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and

  • make grants to State agencies that perform surveys of skilled nursing facilities or nursing facilities.

In addition, H.R. 1783 would direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to:

  • conduct a study of State laws and practices relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and provide a report of study findings to the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, the Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the Speaker and Minority leader of the House of Representatives;

  • develop objectives, priorities, policies, and a long-term plan for elder justice programs and activities relating to prevention, detection, training, treatment, evaluation, intervention, research, and improvement of the elder justice system;

  • award grants to develop programs and provide training to health care, social, and protective services providers, law enforcement, fiduciaries, judges and court personnel, and victim advocates; and examine special approaches designed to meet the needs of victims of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

  • award grants to provide training and support to police, sheriffs, detectives, public safety officers, corrections personnel, other front line law enforcement responders, and local and State prosecutors handling elder justice-related cases; and

  • ensure that DOJ dedicates resources to the investigation and prosecution of cases relating to elder justice.

For more information, please contact Diane Elmore, PhD, MPH, in the APA Public Interest Government Relations Office at (202) 336-6104.