Ohio Medical Professionals Now Must Report Suspected Elder Abuse

October 23, 2018Legal Alerts

Effective September 29, 2018, the Ohio General Assembly significantly expanded the list of mandatory reporters of suspected elder abuse. Among others, medical professionals are now included on the longer list of individuals that must report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. To see the list of included medical professionals, view the statute here.

The General Assembly expanded the list of mandatory reporters with the goal of protecting vulnerable individuals from harm. Older individuals make up the fastest-growing population in the state, and the General Assembly is now requiring medical professionals to be vigilant to help protect this group. To support medical professionals, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has developed training materials specifically to guide medical professionals in identifying and reporting elder abuse. Those materials can be found here.

Abuse takes a variety of forms, including, but not limited to: physical, sexual, psychological, abandonment, or financial exploitation. If a mandatory reporter fails to report possible abuse, he faces potential criminal charges and fines up to $500. Not only will failing to fulfill this duty adversely impact the elder population, but also any punishment for failing to report may have a negative effect on a medical professional’s license. View the State of Ohio Medical Board’s announcement regarding this new duty here.

Health care entities should ensure that their professionals are informed of their new duty to report suspected abuse. They should also be aware of the process for reporting. Therefore, entities should implement internal mechanisms to make sure all suspected abuse is reported. Additionally, anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county department of job and family services.

Should you have questions regarding your office’s or facility’s new duty to report suspected elder abuse and how to implement appropriate policies into your practice, please contact a member of Dinsmore & Shohl’s Health Law Practice Group.