SeniorLAW Center applauds the Obama administration for making elder justice a priority of its 2015 White House Conference on Aging and is proud to be a member of the national Elder Justice Coalition. Significant and historic elder justice announcements were made at the Conference, including a new rule to be issued by the end of 2015 addressing with the Victims of Crime Act (“VOCA”). The Department of Justice final rule “will revise the current Victims of Crime Act Victim Assistance guidelines by clarifying that VOCA assistance funds may be used to support legal services for crime victims, and emphasize the need to use VOCA funds to support social and legal services to underserved victims, including elder victims of abuse, financial exploitation, fraud and neglect.” SeniorLAW Center is proud to be a VOCA victim and legal service provider addressing elder abuse of Philadelphia seniors and fighting for access to justice to make them whole.
NEWS from the Elder Justice Coalition
EJC Commends Major Elder Justice Announcements at 2015 White House Conference on Aging
The bipartisan 3000 member Elder Justice Coalition today has strong praise for the Obama Administration’s “significant and historic” actions on elder justice announced yesterday, July 13, 2015 at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
In particular, the Coalition singled out a new rule which will be issued by the end of 2015 dealing with the Victims of Crime Act. According to a White House fact sheet released at the conference, the Department of Justice final rule “will revise the current Victims of Crime Act Victim Assistance guidelines by clarifying that VOCA assistance funds may be used to support legal services for crime victims, and emphasize the need to use VOCA funds to support social and legal services to underserved victims, including elder victims of abuse, financial exploitation, fraud and neglect.”
EJC National Coordinator Bob Blancato, who attended the White House Conference, called the new rule “a game changing action which would finally specify that VOCA funds are to be used to help elder abuse crime victims. The additional significance of this is that it comes after Congress lifted the cap on spending under VOCA from $700 million to $2.3 billion.”
Further, it was announced at the WHCOA that:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue a proposed rule which according to the White House “will update for the first time in nearly 25 years the quality and safety requirements for the more than 15,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities to improve quality of life, enhance person centered care and services for residents in nursing homes, improve resident safety and bring these regulatory requirements into closer alignment with current professional standards.”
• The Department of Justice will train elder abuse prosecutors in all 50 states to effectively prosecute elder abuse and financial exploitation and develop online training for law enforcement officers.
• The National Institute of Health will convene a state of the art workshop on elder abuse in the fall to review the science on understanding and preventing abuse, to examine screening tools to identify abuse victims review effective interventions and research in related areas like child abuse and domestic violence that might inform research on elder abuse and focus on gaps and opportunities in this field of research. Further, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice and its Elder Justice Initiative will fund a multiyear pilot project to evaluate potential means to avoid and respond to elder mistreatment.
• The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will release by the end of 2015 an advisory to help financial institutions prevent, recognize and report elder financial exploitation.
“These collective actions bolster the Obama Administration’s already strong commitment to elder abuse prevention and elder justice.” Blancato said.