Elder Abuse is Not OK - Sample News Release
Sample News Releases
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AGENCY Launches AbuseIsNotOK Campaign
DATELINE -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and AGENCY wants to remind Oklahomans that AbuseIsNotOK. Earlier this year, OKDHS launched a new online portal, AbuseIsNotOK.org, for the general public, community partners and law enforcement to report allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults to Adult Protective Services (APS). In addition to the new portal, calls will continue to be answered at the statewide abuse hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
OKDHS, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s (OAG) office, has also developed an educational website with important information about preventing elder abuse, warning signs and community resources. A partner toolkit has also been developed to help partners and the general public spread the word about protecting our elders.
QUOTE FROM AGENCY LEADER
“Each year, thousands of our Oklahoma elders suffer abuse, neglect and exploitation by family members and other caregivers,” said OKDHS Aging Services Director Jeromy Buchanan. “Many of these victims are frail and vulnerable and it is our collective responsibility to help keep them safe. The new portal allows Oklahomans to make reports in support of our elders to offer them help and hope when they need us most.”
In State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019, nearly 19,000 allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and exploitation were received by Adult Protective Services (APS). Numerous community partners work with APS to provide vulnerable adults and their caretakers with access to services to help individuals who cannot protect themselves because of age or disability.
QUOTE FROM PARTNER AGENCY LEADER
“Senior citizens are among our most vulnerable,” said Attorney General Mike Hunter. “Their well-being should be a top priority for public officials as it is for their loved ones. Sadly, because of diminished mental capacity or other age-related illnesses, seniors are sometimes unable to effectively communicate the abuse they are suffering. These resources aim to help Oklahomans properly identify the signs of elder abuse and neglect and what to do if they suspect an issue. I appreciate leadership from OKDHS and cooperation from our other partner agencies on this profoundly meaningful campaign.”
PARTNER AGENCY INFORMATION
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of OAG uses a team-based approach to identify, investigate and prosecute Medicaid fraud, abuse, neglect and exploitation of patients committed by health care providers, health care facilities and other Medicaid providers. Members of the MFCU also offer continuing education opportunities to law enforcement, nursing home staff and candidates for a long term care administrator’s license. In the last five years, the MFCU has recovered over $91 million for the Medicaid program and acquired over 126 criminal convictions in fraud and abuse cases.
QUOTE FROM TRIBAL PARTNER
“No one likes to think of Cherokee citizens abusing their elders,” said Lisa James, Manager of Family/Elder Services for the Cherokee Nation. “Elders are held in high esteem and, in the past, the community would not have permitted it to happen. This is a new age with many changes to Cherokee communities. Drugs, poverty and mental health issues have caused a break down in families and communities allowing elder abuse to flourish. The Cherokee Nation is taking steps to address elder abuse by applying for and receiving grants to provide Elder Protective Services and by working with the OKDHS Adult Protective Services to offer assistance to individuals and families experiencing elder abuse. Cherokee Nation's goal is to improve the quality of life for elders of the Cherokee nation by providing information, referrals and advocating for their safety, protection and stability.”
If you suspect a vulnerable adult is the victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation, report it immediately to AbuseIsNotOK.org or call 1-800-522-3511.