Mensch Bill Overhauling Older Adult Protective Services Act Approved by Senate

Harrisburg – Today the Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) to better protect Pennsylvania’s aging senior population. 

Senate Bill 899 re-writes the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) to improve the delivery of resources and streamline the services provided to older adults. The bill will:

  • Streamline communications between organizations and agencies that care for seniors, and find ways to increase health care efficiency.
  • Address the rise of financial exploitation of older Pennsylvanians by giving financial institutions tools to intervene if they suspect an elder is being taken advantage of through the illegal taking, misuse or concealment of money, property or assets.
  • Provide mandatory reporters (physicians, health care providers and police) with a procedure for reporting suspected elder abuse, as well as give them the tools necessary to work together on the investigations that follow.

“During my past tenure as Chairman of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, it became apparent to me that the needs and lifestyles of
older Pennsylvanians were rapidly changing, bringing forth a new set of challenges for how we care for this sector of our population moving forward,” said Mensch.  “Since 2014, we have heard from experts, professionals, organizations, and constituents about the ways to improve OAPSA. After years of work, we have a product which accomplishes this goal.”

One of the most significant provisions of the legislation is to fix a constitutionality issue created by a state Supreme Court decision in 2015. 
The decision held that it is unconstitutional for the offenses listed in the Older Protective Services Act to result in a lifetime employment
ban without further evaluation.

Senate Bill 899 fixes this constitutionality issue and also provides for employment practices that are safe for care organizations and, most importantly, Pennsylvania’s older adults.

“Older Pennsylvanians should have the ability to live their lives free from the threat of abuse and neglect,” said Mensch. “I believe that it is
our responsibility to put measures in place to safeguard their health, safety and finance security. Senate Bill 899 provides these safeguards.”

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatormensch, or Twitter @SenatorMensch

Contact: Mark Fetzko mfetzko@pasen.gov (717) 787-3110