Elder Justice Act targets abuse in long-term care facilities
July 18, 2011
A provision of the Affordable Care Act aims to combat the abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors living in long-term care facilities by providing federal resources to shore up a fragmented elder justice system.
The Elder Justice Act authorizes $777 million over four years to support various state and community efforts to fight elder abuse. State Adult Protective Services agencies are allocated $400 million in federal funds, with an additional $100 million in state demonstration grants to improve the agencies. Forensic centers, state survey agencies and long-term care job-training and recruitment efforts would also receive funding.
Congress has yet to appropriate the funding.
Two separate entities will be responsible for reporting and putting the Elder Justice Act into affect:
- The Elder Justice Coordinating Council will make recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on coordinating the activities of federal, state, local and private agencies in regards to preventing elder abuse. The council will report every two years on recommendations and accomplishments.
- The Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation will submit both short and long-term multidisciplinary strategies within 18 months to further the field of elder justice. This 27-member board will also make annual recommendations to the Elder Justice Coordinating Council.
A study by the National Institute of Justice found that 11 percent of elders reported experiencing at least one form of mistreatment during the past year. The problem is expected to worsen as the ranks of the populations of Americans above the age of 65 swell in the coming years.
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