As reported by Gongwer News Service, at Wednesday's Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, Representative Mike Dovilla reported to the committee that changes had been made to the bill since it passed out of the House and was pending before the committee.
Rep. Dovilla explained the substitute version of the bill, noting that it harmonizes language from the as-introduced version to changes made with the passage of HB 64, the biennial budget document. He also said the substitute clarifies the roles of county social services agencies and law enforcement in adult protective services situations. Rep. Dovilla said the language draws a line between law enforcement not initiating an investigation while social services workers not getting in the way of such an investigation, once started. Finally, Rep. Dovilla said the substitute clarifies and expands the definition of mandatory reporters.
Joel Potts, executive director of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association, said the bill represents four years of work to enhance Adult Protective Services programs. Mr. Potts said the bill now includes provisions to significantly expand the types of reports counties would have to investigate, including a new category for financial exploitation while dramatically increasing the number of mandated reporters. He noted that such changes would result in more reports coming with a greater need for additional capacity at the local level to respond appropriately.
Mr. Potts reported the state is now providing $2.64 million annually to counties for the investigation and protection of seniors with each county getting $30,000 per year, representing a significant infusion of resources compared to a previous $500,000 total with some 50 counties receiving less than $2,000 per year. And, besides the state allocation, he noted county agencies are investing approximately $20 million per year for the Adult Protective Services program primarily through the Title XX program and in some instances through local levies.
Chair Jones announced with the adoption of the friendly substitute, the bill would by prioritized with an eye toward getting it through the legislative process in an expeditious manner.
Source: Gongwer News Service, Inc.