According to the Elder Justice Coalition, the current version of the Senate Health Bill contains the Elder Justice Act, but the House version of the bill does not, meaning its future may be at stake when the two bills are eventually merged. On its website, the Elder Justice Coalition provides that the proposed legislation: "creates a combined law enforcement and public health approach to study, detect, treat, prosecute and, most importantly, prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation." The proposed legislation explains that there are estimated to be between 500,000 to 5 million cases of elder abuse and neglect nationally each year and that the figures are expected to increase in the future due to the large aging baby boom population. If implemented, the proposed measures would be most welcome to those of us that advise families whose loved ones suffer from nursing home negligence and abuse.
In Wisconsin, the Department of Health Services website has links with instructions on how to file a complaint arising from nursing home negligence and specifically offers Help Lines to victims of elder abuse. Our firm’s experience interacting with the Division of Quality Assurance, which investigates complaints about nursing home and assisted living care, has been very positive. They take complaints seriously and thoroughly investigate when serious issues are raised. We are hopeful that, if passed, the Elder Justice Act will augment the resources currently devoted to these issues.