State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) has announced that the “Ohio Elder Justice Act” passed the House yesterday. The legislation would strengthen the laws protecting elders from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
The bill adds financial harm to the list of violations against an elderly person that trigger reporting to the county department of job and family services. In addition to “financial harm,” HB 24 strengthens the definitions of “neglect,” “exploitation,” and “home health agency.”
“In an age where individuals are living longer and the baby boom generation is reaching retirement years in record numbers, it is important to remember that the ‘greatest generation’ has become a target of exploitation,” Koehler said. “We need to make sure that our laws protect those that are most vulnerable in their golden years.”
House Bill 24:
- Modifies the list of people who must report to a county department of job and family services when they reasonably suspect an elderly person with certain physical or mental impairments is being abused
- Authorizes the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to establish a registry of reported abuse or neglect within two years of the bill’s effective date
- Authorizes ODJFS to disclose the registry’s information to law enforcement agencies through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway
- Allows waiver of the usual 24-hour notice to an adult’s closest relative and guardian when it is apparent that delay will cause immediate harm to the adult
- Creates a commission, which will recommend strategies for combating elder abuse and that will issue a report every two years to help local communities also combat elder abuse
The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.