Rice Introduces Bill to Promote Responsible Hiring Practices and Prevent Elder Abuse

Bipartisan Legislation Gives Senior Care Providers Tools to Screen Potential Employees  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC) and Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) introduced the Promote Responsible Oversight and Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act. This bipartisan bill aims to protect seniors by ensuring nursing homes, home health agencies, and other organizations who serve senior citizens can identify and avoid hiring practitioners with a history of elder abuse. 

“As Americans, we have a duty to protect our senior population, especially the vulnerable in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” said Congressman Tom Rice. “This bipartisan bill will allow senior care providers to screen potential employees through the National Practitioner Data Bank, a system already used by hospitals.”

“Deciding to move an elderly loved one into a nursing home or long-term care facility is not always easy – in part due to the fear of poor treatment,” said Congressman Darren Soto. “Thanks to the PROTECTS Act, senior care providers will have the opportunity to take necessary steps to ensure that elderly residents are safe. I hope Congress acts quickly to put millions of families across the nation at ease.”

This legislation is endorsed by the Elder Justice Coalition, Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, the American Health Care Association, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. 

 

The Rice-Soto legislation is a companion bill to S.2214 sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

 

Additional Background:

Right now, the NPDB is a resource used by hospitals to easily find records of malpractice settlements and adverse actions in a health professionals’ history. Expanding this resource beyond hospitals to include senior care providers, like nursing homes and home health agencies, will allow these facilities to benefit from the screening system. Even more important, access to the NPDB and the ability to quickly screen prospective hires, will help address the staffing shortages senior facilities are currently facing. 

 

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