The Administration of Aging (AoA) of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a final rule has been issued regarding the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The final rule implements part of the Older Americans Act, which governs grants for the operation of LTC Ombudsman Programs. Since a federal rule had not yet been developed, implementation of these programs varied widely among the states. Variation in the areas of independence, disclosure standards, public policy function, and the responsibility of the Ombudsman to designate staff and volunteers has led to inconsistencies in the services being provided to long term care facility residents. The rule, according to the ACL press release, addresses:
- Responsibilities of key figures in the system
- Responsibilities of the entities in which LTC Ombudsman programs are housed
- Criteria for establishing person-centered approaches to resolving complaints
- The role of the program in resolving abuse complaints
- Conflicts of interest
The final rule goes into effect on July 1, 2016. View the Federal Register.