PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - More than one month after an incapacitated patient gave birth after being raped, state lawmakers are working on measures to prevent future abuse at long term care facilities.
State Rep. Jennifer Longdon, a Democrat from Phoenix, filed two pieces of legislation Friday aimed at protecting patients.
Taken together, the bills require more training for health care workers and tougher penalties on those who keep quiet about abuse.
House Bill 2665 mandates employees receive annual training on abuse and neglect beginning next year.
And House Bill 2666 makes it a class 6 felony for failing to report abuse. It is currently a misdemeanor.
The bills are in line with recommendations from the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.
A report released by the organization last month says people with cognitive disabilities are seven times more likely to be sexually abused than the general public.
Erica McFadden and her organization are tracking about two dozen pieces of legislation aimed at better care and treatment for people living with disabilities.
She says the Hacienda HealthCare fiasco highlights an abuse problem that has been ignored for too long.
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"I would say that for every case that we hear of there's (sic) about 15 to 20 cases we don't hear of," she said.