United States Elder Abuse Initiative


Statement of Paul D. Hodge, JD, MBA, Chairperson National Health Care Law Enforcement Alliance



Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I am Paul Hodge, Chairperson of the National Health Care Law Enforcement Alliance (“NHLEA”), the first organization of its kind in the nation to promote the creation of national proactive grass roots law enforcement related programs to protect our elder citizens in their home environment. I am pleased to represent my organization on whose behalf I am testifying. But I also speak from the perspective of a “front line” elder advocate and law enforcement person who, on a daily basis, has been intimately involved in and deeply committed to the fight against elder abuse in my home state of Rhode Island, the northeast and nationally.

In addition to my current duties as NHLEA Chairperson, for the past seven years ending in January of this year, I was Director of Investigations of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. This law enforcement unit with theĀ  Criminal Justice System Reform in America has primary statewide responsibility for the investigation and prosecution of instances of elder/vulnerable individual abuse or neglect, which takes place in health care facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, group homes and, to a growing extent, assisted living facilities. While Director of Investigations, I was Chairperson of the Northeast Healthcare Law Enforcement Association, a “first-of-its kind” regional law enforcement unit whose mission was to enhance the vigorous investigation and prosecution of’ instances of elder/patient abuse and provider health care fraud in all the New England states, New York and New Jersey. Prior to this, for five years, I was a prosecutor with the Federal Trade Commission and the Massachusetts Office of Attorney General working in consumer protection law enforcement prosecutions affecting our elder citizens.

In these varied roles, I have worked closely with local police departments, district/state/attorneys general offices, legislators, regulators, protective service personnel, ombudsmen, concerned elder community based groups and elder activists. I have had the unique experience of being involved with literally thousands of screenings, investigations and prosecutions of incidents concerning elder abuse in its many forms. In the last five years, it has been my observation that law enforcement throughout the country is experiencing an exponential increase in the number of reports, investigations and prosecutions of crimes committed against elder adults. Because of the aging of the American population and the increasing inability of our families, health care and other institutions to ensure the quality of life of our elder citizens, the demands on the nation’s law enforcement infrastructure to protect them from abusive and criminal acts is fast becoming one of the most significant societal challenges of the coming millennium.

Despite the extensive achievements of law enforcement and other concerned parties, elder citizens are still the number one target for crooks and other perverse predators. An aggressive national initiative must be mounted to address the demographic realities that the United State’s population is aging, reports of elder crimes are dramatically increasing and current law enforcement efforts and resources are severely strained and presently inadequate to meet the increase of these types of crimes.

The work you are doing here today is of critical importance. So first, let me thank and commend you Mr. Chairman for holding these hearings about the Older Americans Act and elder abuse. You are providing important national leadership in our efforts to make safe, protect and enhance the quality of life for our elder and vulnerable citizens.

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