Matzie introduces ‘Megan’s Law’ bill to protect nursing home residents and staff from sexual assault
Would impose care, reporting requirements when registered sex offender is admitted
HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – A new bill introduced by state Rep. Rob Matzie would protect nursing home residents and staff from sexual assaults by establishing care and reporting requirements when a registered sex offender is admitted.
Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said H.B. 2341 – which would function as a Megan’s Law for the state’s nursing homes – would establish protections that are needed immediately.
“Right now, when a registered sexual offender is admitted to a Pennsylvania nursing home, the home is not required to disclose this to other residents or staff – or to develop any special plans to ensure their safety,” Matzie said. “The situation has resulted in attacks on residents, and the threat will only grow as thousands of registered sex offenders continue aging and require medical care.
“My bill would put essential protections in place by requiring all Pennsylvania nursing homes to check the sex offender registry before admitting a new resident; develop a care plan to protect other residents and staff when a registered offender is admitted; and notify staff and other residents in close proximity about the plan.”
Matzie’s bill would also require facilities to report the information to the state Department of Health, to create a centralized registry that would function as a Megan’s Law for nursing homes. Currently, there is no such list, so officials have no way of tracking how many registered sex offenders are living in nursing homes or where they are located.
Matzie said the protections – already in effect in some states – are long overdue in Pennsylvania.
“My bill is similar to a law that is already in effect in Ohio – one of at least 10 states that impose requirements when a registered sex offender is admitted to a nursing home. It’s time to get those critical protections in place now, for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents and the staff who care for them,” he said.