With the exception of a very few states, SUAs have not fulfilled their responsibility to ensure that adequate and independent legal counsel is available to the ombudsman programs for the purpose of providing advice and counsel related to LTC residents.
The committee considers the mission of the LTC ombudsman program to be worthy in purpose and deserving of support from public funds. Accordingly, the programs should be operating throughout the country in compliance with federal mandates. The committee proposes eight recommendations as a result of its review. Two recommendations propose that the program serve those residing in LTC facilities who are not currently served by the ombudsman programs. Four recommendations suggest means by which the federal government can strengthen its leadership and oversight role for the ombudsman programs. The committee’s discussion emphasizes that adequate legal counsel is a significant component of a healthy infrastructure needed to ensure that the ombudsmen programs are complying with the federal mandates. To that purpose, the committee presents two recommendations.