par Astrid Fiano
, DOTmed News Writer | October 01, 2010
Disabled adults suffering abuse might soon be able to receive help from protective services in Pennsylvania, if Gov. Edward Rendell signs new legislation into law.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently approved legislation sponsored by State Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York) that would provide protective services for adults with cognitive or physical disabilities. Rendell will now consider signing the bill.
Most states have some form of protective services for the adult disabled. Pennsylvania is one of the remaining states without a process to report or offer assistance to an abused adult.
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The bill would establish the Adult Protective Services system to receive reports of adults in need of protective services, including the use of a local emergency response system or a crisis intervention agency. The person screening the report would prioritize the case as to whether the adult needing protective services was at imminent risk of death or serious injury.
Investigatory powers would be included. Each report would be investigated through a face-to-face interview with the reported adult in need of protective services. Cases concerning licensed facilities would also be reported to the state licensing department. Protective services would be offered to the disabled adult upon request. Criminal penalties are incorporated into the law for administrators and facility owners that violate the law, and whistle-blower protections have been included for those reporting abuse from a facility.
"For a number of years I have advocated for this legislation, but concerns regarding funding delayed action," Vance said in a press release on her website. "Under the new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it appears money will be available for this worthwhile and important program that fills the gap between the protective service systems for children and the one for older adults."