Lawmakers Step Up To Protect Elderly

Pennsylvania lawmakers want Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Department of Aging to disclose more about the shortcomings it finds when it evaluates whether county-level agencies are properly investigating complaints about the abuse or neglect of older adults.

The effort comes as Republican state lawmakers have pressed Shapiro’s administration to do more to investigate the deaths of older adults who are the subject of an abuse or neglect complaint after Pennsylvania recorded a steep increase in such deaths.

Rep. Louis Schmitt, R-Blair, introduced legislation Wednesday requiring the department to publish the compliance status of each of the 52 county-level agencies that it’s supposed to inspect annually, and to publish a report on the findings.

“The public needs to know. The public deserves to know. The public has a right to know,” Schmitt said in an interview. “You cannot hide if you’re going to conduct public business, especially public business that affects the health and safety and welfare of seniors in Pennsylvania.”

The department told lawmakers earlier this year that it had deemed seven of the agencies to be noncompliant. The year before that, 13 were noncompliant when lawmakers asked.

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