United States Senate Special Committee on Aging

Elder Fraud and Abuse

Elder Justice
Senator Kohl is one of the lead sponsors of the Elder Justice Act, a bipartisan, bicameral effort which aims to coordinate the efforts of the federal government with states, senior centers, law enforcement organizations, community groups, and social services to prevent and respond to instances of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of seniors - whether committed by family members, strangers, or caregivers. The Elder Justice Act was reintroduced in March 2007 with Senator Kohl as an original cosponsor, and he is hopeful that this important legislation will become law during the 110th Congress.

The Patient Abuse Prevention Act
Senator Kohl has introduced legislation calling for comprehensive background checks to be done to ensure that individuals who apply to work in nursing homes, home health agencies, and other long-term care settings do not have a record of abuse or a criminal history that could pose a risk of harm to seniors and individuals with disabilities.
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Nursing Home Safety
Senator Kohl has also successfully pushed for adequate funding for nursing home enforcement, including a national network of state survey and certification agencies, which are charged with conducting onsite inspections of facilities and monitoring resident safety. In FY 2004, Senator Kohl worked to secure $251 million for states to conduct periodic inspections to ensure that nursing homes are safe and provide the best quality care, in spite of calls for cuts in funding by the Administration. In FY 2005, he worked to increase funding to $260 million. Since then, the program has been level-funded. During this year's FY 2008 discussions, Sen. Kohl will push for higher funding for inspections to accommodate the state survey agencies' increasing workload. In addition, Senator Kohl has requested that the Government Accountability Office look at several key enforcement issues, and will hold a series of Aging Committee hearings on policy-oriented approaches to improving nursing home quality and delivery of long-term care services more generally.

Senior Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation
Many Americans have heard the horror stories of seniors losing their retirement savings through one scam or another: foreign lotteries, telemarketing schemes, identity theft, and on and on. But today, seniors are facing new risks and investment fraud is on the rise. According to estimates by Consumer Action, a consumer education and advocacy group, while seniors 60 and older make up 15 percent of the U.S. population, they account for roughly 30 percent of fraud victims
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