October 4, 2012
The Elder Justice Coalition
A National Advocacy Voice for Elder Justice in America
Over 3,000 Member Coalition
John B. Breaux
Right before Congress recessed until November, Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced his second elder abuse bill this year, the “Robert Matava Elder Exploitation Protection Act,” which is named for his constituent, Robert Matava, a survivor of exploitation, who passed away this summer. Mr. Matava was a key witness at the elder abuse hearing Sen. Blumenthal held in Connecticut in August 2011.
The bill adds protection on many levels for seniors:
First, it would amend telemarketing fraud statutes to include Ponzi schemes, health care and Medicare/Medicaid fraud as offenses. It would also heighten punishments for fraud committed through the internet such as through email and instant messaging.
Second, it asks the Department of Justice to identify common patterns of abuse that would lead to collection of national data.
Third, it requires the Attorney General to recommend state laws and practices to combat elder abuse.
Fourth, it directs the Attorney General, in cooperation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to establish a demonstration program to provide grants to up to six entities for civil legal efforts designed to prevent or provide remedies for elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Fifth, it allows any two or more states to enter into agreements or compacts for cooperative effort and mutual assistance, and it directs the Executive Director of the State Justice Institute and relevant stakeholders to make further recommendations for interstate partnerships that will facilitate the efficient use of resources available on elder justice.
Finally, it requires the publication of a GAO report to assess the cost of elder abuse on federal programs.
This bill will likely not be considered by the 112th Congress this year, but Sen. Blumenthal wanted to start the conversation now so that work on passing the bill can begin in the 113th Congress next year.