(CLEVELAND) – On the first annual Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Ohio, Attorney General Mike DeWine joined Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) to officially announce a bill that could significantly help victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation.
If passed, the Ohio Elder Justice Act, sponsored by Dovilla, will update current law to improve the response to elder abuse victims by strengthening Adult Protective Services in Ohio. Dovilla worked closely with Attorney General DeWine's Elder Abuse Commission to draft the proposed legislation.
"As Attorney General, my priority is protecting Ohio families, including our state's senior citizens," said Attorney General DeWine. "We have to safeguard our most vulnerable populations, and this bill will help protect our older generations from physical abuse and financial fleecing."
Some of the key provisions in the Ohio Elder Justice Act include:
- The requirement of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to create a registry to help identify patterns of reported abuse.
- The obligation of employees in various financial service industries to report suspected elder abuse to help prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial crimes.
- The establishment of a statewide Elder Abuse Commission, which will increase awareness and research, formulate and recommend strategies to improve policy, funding and programming, and identify opportunities to coordinate statewide efforts to address elder abuse.
Representative Dovilla, who also sponsored the legislation to designate June 15th as Elder Abuse Awareness Day, said, "I am pleased to be partnering with Attorney General DeWine to reform Ohio's adult protective services law. By making long overdue changes to this statute, we will take critically important steps to defend some of our state's most vulnerable citizens."
In addition to Attorney General DeWine's support of Ohio's senior citizens through the Ohio Elder Justice Act, he and his staff also provide a number of consumer-oriented services to protect elderly citizens from scams. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) also provides courses to teach law enforcement how to identify fraud and financial exploitation of senior citizens. Since 2007, more than 13,000 of these courses have been provided to law enforcement.
The Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Section investigates and prosecutes health care providers who defraud the state's Medicaid program. The Section also investigates alleged misappropriations of patient funds and enforces Ohio laws protecting mentally or physically disabled or elderly citizens from financial exploitation, neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities.
Anyone who suspects Medicaid fraud or patient abuse or neglect can contact Attorney General DeWine's office at 1-800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Dan Tierney -- 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco -- 614-466-3840