United States Senate Special Committee on Aging

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.

The Senate Aging Committee first held a hearing on this legislation in 1998. A subsequent hearing in 2002 focused on the problem of nursing home abuse, highlighting Senator Kohl's bill as part of a possible solution. The measure was included in the Medicare prescription drug legislation that passed the Senate in June 2003. The final Medicare Modernization Act that became law included a pilot program in seven states, all of which are up and running and showing impressive results. In addition to Wisconsin, the other pilot states are Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska and Idaho. Senator Kohl is taking an active interest in monitoring the pilot program, and is working to expand this initial framework to all 50 States.