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AG must focus on nursing home crimes

It is difficult enough for most people to send aged or infirm relatives to nursing homes when they believe good care will be provided. But the thought that frail elderly parents or incapacitated younger patients may be victims of neglect or active abuse is intolerable.

In Ohio, concern about that may be increasing — with good reason.

Attorney General Mike DeWine reports complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect have nearly doubled this year. His office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is investigating 131 cases, compared to 74 for the same period in 2012.

About half this year’s complaints have been received last month, after DeWine announced his office will be aggressive in pursuing complaints of substandard nursing home care or abuse of patients.

DeWine — and those who place relatives or friends in nursing homes — have a new weapon to ensure quality care is provided. It was used earlier this year in Zanesville.

There, investigators placed surveillance cameras in the rooms of some patients, with their knowledge and that of families. Nursing home personnel were unaware they were being watched, however.

Videotape from some of the rooms revealed “absolutely shocking and disturbing” treatment of patients, DeWine said.

Most nursing homes and the dedicated personnel who staff them provide good care for patients. In many cases, it is not too much to say residents of nursing homes are treated lovingly.

That makes it especially upsetting that a few people in a handful of facilities are neglecting and/or abusing patients. DeWine should make it a top priority to find and punish those criminals.

The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune


Senate should act quickly on sex-trade legislation

Anyone who has paid attention to the growing concerns about human trafficking, better described as modern-day slavery, probably wasn’t surprised by recent discoveries of women being held against their will in Cleveland and Ashland.

In fact, the cases of a Cleveland man charged with holding three women captive in his home and raping them for about 10 years and four Ashland residents accused of forcing a 29-year-old woman with cognitive disabilities to perform manual labor inside their two-story home, aren’t classic cases of human trafficking.

This crime can be even more sinister and widespread, with pimps literally selling women to one another for their sex businesses. Even worse, these crimes remain widely underreported…

Although a recent Ohio Attorney General’s report found only 30 investigations into trafficking cases this past year, researchers believe more than 1,000 Ohio children alone are trafficked into the sex trade each year….

Residents often play huge roles in solving these crimes, which is why it’s so critical for all of us to pay attention to our surroundings and report suspicious activity to police. You never know what’s really happening in a home.

It’s also incumbent upon state lawmakers to continue improving Ohio’s laws so clearly criminal acts can be prosecuted properly….

Ohio finally made modern-day slavery illegal, with a law protecting child victims from being treated as prostitutes and increasing penalties for traffickers.

In June, the Ohio House unanimously passed a law making it easier to prosecute people who sell minors and developmentally disabled individuals for sex. That’s a bill we hope the Senate will approve quickly during its next session.

The (Newark) Advocate