PROTECTS Act targets elder abuse in long-term care facilities

Oct 22, 2019

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has unveiled new bipartisan legislation to help protect older adults and long-term care patients from abuse by improving health care worker hiring practices.

“Families need to trust that when a loved one is living in a long-term care facility, they will be safe and cared for professionally," Gillibrand said. "Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of abuse in these facilities and this is unacceptable."

The Promote Responsible Oversight and Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors, or PROTECTS, act, would help expand access to the National Practitioner Data Bank for Medicare and Medicaid providers to conduct background screenings on potential employees.

"This bill would expand the types of facilities with access to the database to include Medicare- and Medicaid-certified skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice programs and pharmacies," she said.

In New York State, there are currently over 269,000 older adults in long-term care facilities. Gillibrand said the bipartisan bill will help by improving health care worker hiring practices.

"The PROTECTS Act would improve the standards of care in long-term facilities by bringing more transparency to workforce quality and protecting our seniors," she said.

Gillibrand said the bill has been endorsed by the American Health Care Association and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. The full text of the bill can be found here.