Kochmar teams up with Casey Kasem’s family to push legislation preventing elder isolation

Rep. Linda Kochmar, R- Federal Way, partnered with the family of former Top-40 radio personality Casey Kasem to introduce legislation aimed at battling isolation of elders.

House Bill 2401, which was drafted with the Kasem Cares Foundation, establishes that adults have the right to visit with, and receive mail, telephone, and electronic communication from, “whomever he or she so chooses.” The legislation would allow any person to file a petition to compel visitation with a loved one in situations when access has been impeded. The adjoining bill, House Bill 2402, would require guardians to provide loved ones with notice in the event of a hospitalization or death of a ward.

“These bills are important to vulnerable adults and their families, and we must ensure fair processes for petitioning for visitation of loved ones where visitation has been denied,” said Kochmar. “I began working on these issues with the Kasem family to prevent other families from having to go through what the Kasem’s experienced before their father’s death. This balanced approach would give other families just that.”

The legislation results from legal disputes regarding the late Casey Kasem. In 2014, Kasem’s wife pulled him out of an assisted living facility in California against medical advice and transported him to a home in Silverdale, Washington. A legal battle then ensued during which Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, was appointed as his conservator with the power to control his medical care. Mr. Kasem passed away in Gig Harbor, Washington as a result of a class 3 bed sore and infections on June 15, 2014.

“Since my father passed away, I have dedicated my life to making sure that other families do not have to suffer the same pain as my family,” said Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey Kasem and president of the Kasem Cares Foundation.  “Because my father passed away in Washington, having this bill passed here would mean the world to me.”

“With the growing elderly population in the United States, isolation and elder abuse is rapidly becoming a defining issue for our nation,”  said Troy Martin, Kerri Kasem’s attorney and Kasem Coalition board member.  “By helping children gain the right to visit with their ailing parents, this bill will help to decrease the isolation that can lead to physical and financial abuse.”

House Bills 2401 and 2402 were heard before the House Judiciary Committee at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Several panels submitted testimony for the two bills. For more information, contact Rep. Linda Kochmar’s legislative office by calling (360) 786-7898 or sending an email to Linda.Kochmar@leg.wa.gov

For more information about Rep. Kochmar, visit: www.representativelindakochmar.com.


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