New law furthers protection of care-dependent persons

READING — Attorney General Josh Shapiro praised a new Pennsylvania law Friday. The law expands the authority of the Office of AG to prosecute abuse and neglect of care-dependent persons in nursing homes and similar settings. Under prior state law, the AG’s office only had power to prosecute neglect cases, not abuse.

“Prior to passing this new law, Pennsylvania law treated ‘neglect’ and ‘abuse’ differently,” Shapiro explained in Reading, where he stood on Friday with members of

his Medicaid Fraud

Control Section.

Act 53 gives the Office of the AG jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute those who physically abuse seniors in nursing homes. It also increases the office’s ability to prosecute neglect cases, by removing the need to prove that actual physical injury occurred in order to establish the charges.

“Until now, my office only had jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute neglect of care-dependent persons,” Shapiro said. “This new law gives us the law enforcement power we need to investigate and prosecute abuse as well.”

The Office of Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Section’s Care-Dependent Neglect Team works aggressively with local and state authorities to root out and prosecute neglect of Pennsylvania seniors and care-dependent persons. The office has recently brought felony neglect and other charges against a Luzerne County charge nurse, an Erie County aide, a Berks County man and a Philadelphia nurse for failing to properly care for people entrusted to their care.