Beshear and legislative leaders advocate for adult abuse registry

02/20/2014 11:44 AM

To blow the whistle on and cut down on abuse of Kentucky’s senior citizens, Governor Steve Beshear and a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for the formation of a detailed registry.

The registry would be controlled by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services starting after the legislation is enacted. Legislators told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday that names of caregivers in abuse cases will only appear in the database if they are “substantiated.”

“There won’t be mistakes on there. It will be completely substantiated before a name goes on there because this would effect someone’s ability to be employed,” said Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, the sponsor of the legislation in the House.

Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticelleo, has similar legislation in the Senate, and she added that a “full administrative hearing process and the opportunity to have an appeal of a substantiation.”

Gregory’s bill has already cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a floor vote Thursday afternoon.

Beshear proposed a registry in 2012 and legislators appropriated $2.2 million to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to support the creation of a adult abuse registry in the 2012 budget, but legislators never passed the enabling legislation.

“If legislation is enacted this year, and it needs to be, funds are already there to support this registry,” Beshear said.

There are 23 other states who have similar registry’s to report adult abuse.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, both took part in the press conference signaling their support for the registry.

“Much to the chagrin of some of the media we have come together again in a bipartisan way. This is not about Republicans or Democrats, the speaker, or myself, or the governor — this is about taking care of our seniors,” Stivers said.

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