Elder Abuse Commission

Establishes an elder abuse commission to review the dependent
adult protection law and to report to legislature.  (SD2)
THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the frail or
 2 dependent segment of Hawaii's elderly population is particularly
 3 vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation (collectively
 4 referred to as "abuse").  Abuse crimes (physical abuse, sexual
 5 abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect,
 6 abandonment, and self-neglect) pose significant threats to the
 7 safety and well-being of the elderly.  
 8      In Hawaii, the general trend of elder and dependent adult
 9 abuse follows the national trend of gradual and steady increase,
10 according to a 1996 analysis by the National Center on Elder
11 Abuse.  Hawaii's population of older persons is dramatically
12 growing in proportionate relationship to the general population,
13 with Hawaii's rate the third highest in the nation for persons
14 aged sixty and over.  Presently, one person in six in Hawaii is
15 sixty or older, and by the year 2020 one person in four will be
16 sixty or older.
17      Contributing to the increase in abuse is the decline in
18 Medicare reimbursements and in health insurance systems payments,
19 leaving the elderly with a decline in support services for
Page 2                                                     994
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1 in-home care and respite services for caregivers.  This results
 2 in greater stress upon caregivers who may abuse the elderly in
 3 frustration.
 4      The legislature further finds that the traditional family
 5 support system for the elderly is disintegrating as a result of
 6 the State's poor economic condition, forcing untrained family
 7 members to care for the elderly or ignoring the elderly
 8 altogether because of work demands.  
 9      The legislature further finds that part X of chapter 346,
10 Hawaii Revised Statutes, relating to dependent adult protective
11 services, which was enacted in 1989 has not been the subject of
12 any review to determine its adequacy, implementation,
13 enforcement, or efficacy in light of current conditions, trends,
14 and new national developments in combating abuse.  For example,
15 the modern approach in dependent adult protective services is to
16 connect human services agencies, police, and legal services to
17 form an integrated network of communication, enforcement, and
18 prevention, similar to the child protective services review panel
19 under chapter 587, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Child Protective
20 Act.
21      The purpose of this Act is to create an elder and dependent
22 adult abuse review commission to review Hawaii's elderly and
23 dependent adult abuse protective services law and its related
Page 3                                                     994
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1 administrative rules to determine if the statutes and rules
 2 should be revised or repealed, or both, with a view toward
 3 evaluating and strengthening those services, incorporating new
 4 developments in those services, and decreasing the incidences of
 5 abuse.
 6      SECTION 2.  There is established an elder and dependent
 7 adult abuse review commission within the department of health for
 8 administrative purposes.  The commission shall consist of the
 9 long-term care ombudsman of the executive office on aging and one
10 representative from each of the following agencies or groups:
11      (1)  The department of human services;
12      (2)  The police department of one county;
13      (3)  The department of the prosecuting attorney of the city
14           and county of Honolulu;
15      (4)  One county agency with responsibility for elderly
16           affairs;
17      (5)  The department of commerce and consumer affairs;
18      (6)  An organization providing legal services to elders;
19      (7)  The office of the public guardian;
20      (8)  An advocacy group for older adults;
21      (9)  The department of the attorney general's Medicaid fraud
22           investigation unit;
23     (10)  The older adult population;
Page 4                                                     994
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1     (11)  The Protection and Advocacy Agency of Hawaii;
 2     (12)  The commission on persons with disabilities; and
 3     (13)  The state planning council on developmental
 4           disabilities.
 5      SECTION 3.  The commission established under section 2 of
 6 this Act shall:
 7      (1)  Examine means to strengthen current elder and dependent
 8           adult abuse laws and related administrative rules;
 9      (2)  Review the effectiveness of the reporting and
10           investigation of elder and dependent adult abuse cases;
11      (3)  Review the adequacy of the provisions of part X of
12           chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes, relating to elder
13           and dependent adult protective services;
14      (4)  Conduct a comparative analysis of the Hawaii Revised
15           Statutes and administrative rules in the area of elder
16           and dependent adult abuse with other states' laws,
17           including California, Maryland, Washington, and
18           Florida; and
19      (5)  Make recommendations for statutory or administrative
20           rule amendments deemed appropriate by the commission,
21           including but not limited to:
22           (A)  Formulating a multidisciplinary services system to
23                respond to reports of elder and dependent adult
Page 5                                                     994
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2

 1                abuse and to provide follow-up services to
 2                victims;
 3           (B)  Standardizing the definitions and reporting
 4                procedures for elder and dependent adult abuse;
 5           (C)  Requiring mandatory education for health workers
 6                in the recognition and reporting of elder and
 7                dependent adult abuse and the referral of victims
 8                to services;
 9           (D)  Creating or increasing civil remedies against
10                perpetrators of elder and dependent adult abuse;
11           (E)  Suggesting legislation concerning abuse, fraud, or
12                neglect of elder and dependent adults; and
13           (F)  Establishing a system of interagency coordination
14                of elder and dependent adult abuse investigations,
15                including the use of cooperative agreements.
16      SECTION 4.  The elder and dependent adult abuse review
17 commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the
18 legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the
19 regular session of 2000, and shall cease to exist on June 30,
20 2000.
21      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.