The New York State Assembly recently gave final legislative approval in a unanimous vote to a bill requiring the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) to publicize, as part of its annual reports, the kinds and patterns of complaints received by its regional offices and the number of ombudsman visits to each long-term care facility.
Harlem World Magazine’s recent article entitled “NYS Lawmakers Move To Strengthen Nursing Home Oversight From Care, To Complaints And More” reports that the New York State Senate passed the companion bill on May 24 with a strong, bipartisan vote.
The move follows a $2.5 million increase in state funding in the 2022 state budget for the federally-required program – more than doubling its previous state-funded budget.
LTCOP has lagged in other states’ programs, while more than 15,000 people have died in New York nursing homes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This bill would arm policymakers with the information they need to ensure the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is as effective as possible in advocating for and speaking on behalf of our society’s most vulnerable population: nursing home residents,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.
The New York Ombudsman Program is an advocate and resource for seniors and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes, assisted living and other licensed adult care homes. Ombudsmen help residents understand and exercise their rights to good care in an environment that promotes and protects their dignity and quality of life.
The State of Texas also has a Long Term Care Ombudsman Program which operates separately from the Texas Health and Human Services System. The Texas LTC Ombudsman Program reported that in 2020 (the most recent year published) their 108 staff and 347 volunteers visited 18,145 long-term care facilities, and investigated 7,047 complaints, despite visitation restrictions related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Reference: Harlem World Magazine (June 4, 2022) “NYS Lawmakers Move To Strengthen Nursing Home Oversight From Care, To Complaints And More”