PA House Panel Hears Testimonies to Protect Senior Citizens

The PA Aging and Older Adult Services committee recently held a two-day hearing on HB 2549, which would amend the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) to remove some of the challenges that home care providers face when hiring new employees.

Most notably, if passed, the bill would: Establish new rules and procedures for hiring an individual with a criminal history in the long-term sector and would list out specifically prohibited offenses. It would establish a tier for specific crimes, with each tier having a different length of ban. Lastly, the bill would also require financial institutions to educate their employees on the signs of financial abuse in older adults, as well as the process to report abuse.

During the hearing, Patricia Rodgers, President of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) testified, stating, “Homecare is one-to-one-care… Our homecare aides are lifelines for the individuals they serve and we must ensure that they are qualified and competent…Having strong, concise and effective guidance in OAPSA will help support agencies’ goals of keeping that person safe at home.” Please see PHA’s press release for more information on the bill’s merits.

BAYADA and PHA have been working with the chair of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee to ensure the legislation proposed raises industry standards while limiting the burden on providers. Because session has now concluded without HB 2549’s passage, this legislation will need to be reintroduced for consideration during the upcoming 2019 legislative session. We look forward to being involved—If you are interested in advocating for this bill and other protections for our industry, contact me.