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Attorney General Beshear Strengthens Elder Abuse Hotline

Attorney General Beshear Strengthens Elder Abuse Hotline

Bill Stephens

April 5th, 2016

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FRANKFORT, KY. (April 5, 2016) – In his ongoing efforts to protect Kentucky’s vulnerable adults and seniors, Attorney General Andy Beshear will now have staff answering his toll-free tip line 24 hours a day for Kentuckians needing to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a patient or resident of a state care facility.

Previously, the tip line – 877-ABUSE TIP or 877-228-7384 – recorded messages from callers at night or on weekends and were retrieved by staff the next working day.

“Over the last three months in office, I have worked to find ways to better protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Beshear said. “Connecting worried and concerned family members to our dedicated staff at night and on weekends is just one more way the Office of the Attorney General can protect our loved ones. I cannot thank the hard working members of the AG’s office enough for taking on this responsibility.”

Kentucky law requires that any person who suspects that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect or exploitation report it to authorities.

Calls will be analyzed by the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse staff, and where appropriate, action will be taken either by Beshear’s newly created Office of Senior Protection, his Department of Criminal Investigations or the executive branch’s Department of Community Based Services.

While Beshear’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Unit is charged with prosecuting abuse or neglect of persons in facilities receiving Medicaid funding, it also prosecutes Medicaid provider fraud.   This tip line is also available to Kentuckians wanting to report Medicaid provider fraud. A provider commits fraud by submitting false health care claims in order to obtain improper payment for Medicaid services.

Beshear said Kentuckians visiting their loved ones in a facility should report any of the following conditions or warning signs of abuse:

Physical Abuse 

  • Frequent unexplained injuries or complaints of pain without obvious injury
  • Burns or bruises suggesting the use of instruments, cigarettes, etc.
  • Passive, withdrawn and emotionless behavior
  • Lack of reaction to pain
  • Injuries that appear after the person has not been seen for several days
  • Patient complains of physical abuse

Sexual Abuse

  • Injury to the genital area
  • Difficulty in sitting or walking
  • Fear of being alone with caretakers
  • Patient reports a sexual assault

Neglect

  • Obvious malnutrition
  • Lack of personal cleanliness
  • Habitually dressed in torn or dirty clothes
  • Obvious fatigue and listlessness
  • Begs for food or water
  • In need of medical or dental care
  • Left unattended for long periods
  • Bed sores

Financial Abuse

  • Mismanagement of personal funds
  • Lost, stolen or destroyed property

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