Ombudsman Responsibilites

The Ombudsman Program:

  • Must follow up on all received complaints;
  • Must obtain consent from the consumer/complainant before proceeding with the investigation;
  • Must provide Tier Two training to each local ombudsman prior to allowing the ombudsman to investigate a complaint;
  • Must refer to the appropriate agency all complaints that allege abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation;
  • May enter a facility at any time as necessary to advocate on behalf of a resident;
  • Must ensure confidentiality of information and records;
  • Must not release the identity of the older person and the complainant without consent or court order;
  • Must work with all parties such as facility staff, family members, and regulatory agencies in seeking a resolution to verified complaints;
  • Must work with licensing agencies for effective enforcement, as ombudsmen do not have authority to require action by a facility or other providers of long-term care.

Responsibilities of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman:

  • To design, implement, and manage a statewide uniform reporting and investigative system for complaints made by or on behalf of older consumers of long-term care services;
  • To establish policies and procedures for implementation of the Ombudsman Program and to ensure compliance with all federal and state requirements;
  • To analyze and monitor federal and state legislation that has an impact on consumers of long-term care services;
  • To train representatives who provide local ombudsmen services;
  • To provide technical assistance and information to local ombudsmen and consumers of long-term care services;
  • To monitor local program implementation to ensure compliance with standards and enhance program performance;
  • To address concerns common to all older consumers of long-term care services by advocating at a systems level;
  • To work within the legislative and rule-making process to improve long-term care services throughout the state.

Responsibilities of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA):

  • To designate a local ombudsman(s), and to establish a system for investigating and resolving complaints at the local level;
  • To collect and maintain adequate complaint and case data in such a way as to enable compliance with reporting requirements;
  • To inform older consumers of long-term care services about the Ombudsman Program and how to access it;
  • To assure that only staff/volunteers who have completed Ombudsman Tier Two training investigate complaints;
  • To ensure that legal representation is provided to an approved local Ombudsman(s) within each AAA's Planning and Service Area against whom suit or other legal action may be brought in connection with the good faith performance of such local ombudsman's official duties;
  • To ensure that confidentiality is provided for all information and records acquired by the Ombudsman Program;
  • To ensure that neither the ombudsman(s), nor the AAA staff is subject to a conflict of interest;
  • To ensure that a minimum of one on site visit is conducted per contract year to each licensed or certified long-term care facility located in an AAA's Planning and Service Area.