To help combat the epidemic of elder abuse, on March 30th of 2016, the Department of Justice made an announcement about the formal launch of 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces designed to identify nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that provide “grossly substandard care” to residents. This is similar to a team previously launched by the Department of Justice known as the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team or HEAT initiative, the newly created Elder Justice Task Forces will focus on coordination and information sharing among federal, state and local enforcement agencies to combat suspected cases of physical abuse and financial fraud of the elderly.
Every task force in this new Elder Justice Task Force will consist of representatives from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, state and local prosecutors’ offices, the Department of Health and Human Services, state Adult Protective Services agencies, Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs and other law enforcement officials. These task forces will also have a national footprint with locations in the following districts: Northern District of California, Northern District of Georgia, District of Kansas, Western District of Kentucky, Northern District of Iowa, District of Maryland, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Tennessee and the Western District of Washington.
These new Elder Justice Task forces mean that there is increased interest and attention being focused on the Long Term Care industry, maybe due in part to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed rule, last summer, to overhaul requirements for participation by Long Term Care facilities in federal health care programs.