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News / Northwest

Bill to improve adult protective services goes to Inslee

By Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake
Published: March 29, 2023, 7:26pm

OLYMPIA — A bill aimed to improve adult protective services moves to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill would require the state Department of Social and Health Services and law enforcement to share information contained in reports and findings of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation and neglect of vulnerable adults with each other.

“This bill helps us protect our vulnerable adults,” said Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, sponsor of the bill. Senate Bill 5370 was unanimously passed by the Washington House on Friday after also being unanimously passed by the Senate and now moves to the governor’s desk for consideration.

A release by Wagoner’s office states SB 5370 expands the number of mandated reporters to include employees of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, a certified residential service, or a support agency. DSHS investigates the abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults, which includes those 60 years old or older, who are unable to care for themselves; those with developmental disabilities; and those receiving services from a home health, hospice, or home care agency.

The release also states that current law requires DSHS to keep a database of people who have been implicated in proven cases of abandonment, abuse, exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult, and prohibit those individuals from being hired for sensitive positions.

Confidential information could only be shared under certain circumstances, the release states, including when authorized by the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds. The bill would also allow the DSHS secretary or a designee to examine and obtain copies of reports and records of autopsies or postmortems.