Committee Approves Mensch Bill Overhauling Older Adult Protective Services Act

Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) to better protect Pennsylvania’s aging senior population by overhauling the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) gained committee approval Monday.

Senate Bill 819, approved by the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, would improve the delivery of resources and efficiency of services provided to older adults by

  • Streamlining communications between organizations and agencies that care for seniors, and finding ways to increase health care efficiency.
  • Confronting 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.
  • Providing mandatory reporters (physicians, health care providers, coroners and police) with a procedure for reporting suspected elder abuse, as well as giving them the tools to work together on the investigations that follow.

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.

Senator Mensch’s bill would fix the constitutionality issue and provide for employment practices that are safe for care organizations and older adults.

Identical legislation, Senate Bill 899, was approved by the Senate in the 2017-2018 legislative session, but not taken up by the House of Representatives.

“To meet the rapidly changing needs and lifestyles of older Pennsylvanians, the Older Protective Services Act itself has to change,” said Mensch. “Experts, professionals and constituents have for years urged the General Assembly to improve OAPSA. Let’s work together to ensure this is the session that it gets done.”

CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, mfetzko@pasen.gov, 717-787-3110