HCN News & Notes

Legislation Introduced to Strengthen Seniors’ Protections from Abuse and Neglect

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, House Ways & Means Committee ranking member; U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden; U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey; and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, co-chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus, introduced legislation to protect seniors and people with disabilities from abuse, isolation, and neglect.

The Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2023 reauthorizes the Elder Justice Act and dedicates new funding to programs proven to safeguard older adults and adults with disabilities. This legislation builds on the first-ever authorization of mandatory funding for Adult Protective Services in December 2020. As part of the Elder Justice Act reauthorization, the introduced legislation would create three new programs: to address medical-legal needs, respond to social isolation, and strengthen the long-term-care workforce.

“Too many seniors and people with disabilities are experiencing abuse ranging from physical to emotional to financial exploitation,” Neal said. “As our population ages, stronger elder-justice programs will help meet the needs of these vulnerable populations while ensuring they can age and live safely in place. While Republicans are calling for cuts to seniors’ security and health, we are fighting for this life-changing update to better protect their well-being. It’s time for action.”

The legislation directly appropriates $4.5 billion for new and existing EJA programs and activities through fiscal year 2027, including $1.6 billion for post-acute and long-term-care worker recruitment and retention, $1.9 billion for Adult Protective Services functions and grant programs, $232.5 million for long-term-care ombudsman program grants and training, $500 million to support linkages to legal services and medical-legal partnerships, and $250 million to address social isolation and loneliness.