Governor Signs House File 544 Into Law
Bill Signing – On March 30, 2017, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law House File 544, which adds personal degradation as a form of dependent adult abuse by caretakers in facilities and programs regulated by the Department. Attending the bill signing ceremony were (from left) Tony Vola, Older Iowans Legislature; Sara Throener, DIA; Angela Kuda-Bruns, Hubbard Care Center; Mary Knutson, Hubbard Care Center; Monica McCarthy, Older Iowans Legislature; Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds; Governor Terry Branstad; Representative Michael Bergan; DIA Director Rod Roberts; DIA Deputy Director Aaron Baack; Shannon Strickler, LeadingAge Iowa; Jamie West, DIA; Bill Nutty, Iowa Health Care Association; Matt Blake, LeadingAge Iowa; Tricia Dieleman, DIA; and Steve Squires, DIA.
DES MOINES, IA (April 7, 2017) – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law a new provision that includes personal degradation as a form of dependent adult abuse by caretakers in facilities and programs regulated by the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA). House File 544, signed into law on March 30, 2017, provides that a caretaker working in a facility or program licensed or certified by DIA may be found to have committed dependent adult abuse if the individual knowingly and willfully takes, transmits or displays a photographic image that degrades the personal dignity of a dependent adult.
The enacted legislation amends Iowa Code Chapter 235E, Dependent Adult Abuse in Facilities and Programs, by adding a new provision for personal degradation to the definition of dependent adult abuse. The new language provides that personal degradation is a willful act or statement by a caretaker in a facility or program that is intended to shame, degrade, humiliate, or otherwise harm the dependent adult’s personal dignity. The language further provides that personal degradation is a willful act or statement by a caretaker where the caretaker reasonably should have known that the act or statement would harm the personal dignity of a reasonable person.
The Legislation, which passed both the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate on unanimous votes, took effect upon signing.