Govenor signs bill to protect Tennesseans from elder abuse

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 9:40 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee signed a new legislation Tuesday aimed to protect the elderly population of Tennessee.

Backed by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, HB630/SB439 creates a searchable registry. It moves the criminal penalty for operating a facility without a license after being placed on the registry from a class B misdemeanor to a class D felony.

“The last thing aging Tennesseans should have to worry about is being taken advantage of by the very people that are supposed to care for them,” said TCAD Executive Director James Dunn. “This law will provide transparency for Tennessee families as they look to find care for a loved one and deter habitual unlicensed operators who seek to take advantage of our most vulnerable.”

The state of Tennessee’s Elder Abuse Task Force reported in 2022 that elderly and vulnerable adults residing in unlicensed facilities are especially susceptible to neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation.

In 2021, the Governor’s office asked TCAD to lead a strike force with other state departments and agencies to address cases of unlicensed facilities across the state.

Since Jan. 2021, the strike force has dealt with over 100 identified unlicensed facilities across the state.

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