Florida Congresswoman Proposes Elder Abuse Registry

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, from Tallahassee, announced Monday that she’s introducing new legislation that would allow states to create a searchable registry of those convicted of elder abuse.

The congresswoman made the announcement during a “Workday” event in Tallahassee, where she assisted Elder Care Services in delivering prepared meals to local senior citizens.

Graham says the proposed legislation would direct the Department of Justice to create a model registry that states use. These public, searchable registries would identify people found to have committed abuse, neglect, mistreatment or financial exploitation of a person over the age of 65. The federal government could compile information on state registries and make that data available through a national database. Graham says states could then require health care providers to check the registry before hiring a worker.

“We need all hands on deck working to protect vulnerable seniors,” Graham said.

“My new legislation would create a registry to identify those who have been convicted of abusing or scamming seniors and prevent them from causing more harm.”

Graham cites statistics from the Florida Department of Children and Families that, last year, there were more than 2,500 cases of elder abuse and neglect in Florida, and the state has seen a 74 percent increase in the past five years.

States like Delaware, for example, have similar registries already in place. Florida does not. However, while Florida doesn’t currently have a registry like the one Graham is proposing, it’s worth noting that failure to report known or suspected abuse of elderly or disabled adults is a crime.

Author: Alice Reiter Feld
Ms. Reiter Feld has been in private practice for over 30 years. During that time, she’s proven to be a determined fighter for the rights of senior citizens and family members when it comes to elder care options, and on the importance of engaging an elder law attorney to plan and execute a personalized strategy. Her primary areas of practice under the “Elder Law Umbrella” include long-term care needs planning, asset protection planning, estate planning, probate, Veteran’s Benefits, and Medicaid planning and assistance.

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