The Governor signed into law SB 345, the LTC Ombudsman Program Independence and Improvement Act. The Act aligns federal and State law by making sure the State Ombudsman can advocate independently, and requires the Office of the State LTC Ombudsman (OSLTCO) to develop an annual report, as described in the federal Older Americans Act. In addition, the Act ensures the OSLTCO maintains an internet website with information for consumers on LTC issues. It also strengthens the program’s ability to access residents and LTC facilities. The ultimate goal is to ensure that LTC residents have an independent voice at the state-level that can advocate for systemic-level change to protect their rights, safety and welfare. (2013)
The Florida LTCOP developed an undergraduate and graduate internship program with agreements with various colleges and universities throughout the state. The purpose is to complete the over 4,300 administrative assessments (one for each nursing home, assisted living facility and adult family care home in the state) in order to meet Florida’s statutory requirement. This frees up the more experienced ombudsmen to perform more complaint investigations on behalf of residents. In addition, the interns perform quarterly visits as the program moves towards the goal of 17,200 quarterly visits annually. (2013)
This arrangement also provides for an intergenerational exchange of ideas within the local districts. The interns bring new knowledge to the program from the classroom while more experienced volunteers bring life experiences and wisdom to the table. The internship program has proved to be a cost-effective way to provide meaningful internships while advocating for residents living in long-term care facilities.
Montana has experienced a large growth in the number of Assisted Living facilities over the past ten years. Each facility has a different resident agreement and it became imperative for the Ombudsman program to develop tools to better educate ombudsmen and the general public. In an effort to assist the Ombudsman Network and provide more meaningful information to potential residents and their families, the State Ombudsman Office developed an Assisted Living Toolkit and Resources notebook. The toolkit identifies the regulations, with a “Quick Reference Guide” of the regulatory review; Resident Agreement (the contract with the resident and the assisted living provider) summary of what to look for in an agreement; appeal and discharge information in the event of a discharge; and a frequently asked questions and answers section. (2013)
The New Jersey LTCOP applied for and received Money Follows the Person (MFP) funds to do MFP education and outreach in long-term care facilities and the greater community. The program trained its Volunteer Advocates on the MFP program and outreach, attended dozens of community events to promote the program and worked to identify potential candidates within LTC communities. The proposal submitted to CMS sought approximately $650,000 for Year 1 (2011-2012) and $570,000 for year 2 (2012-2013), including salary costs, fringe benefits, marketing and outreach materials and travel expenses.(2013)
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