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A group of local eldercare ombudsmen in California are pushing for the creation of an independent not-for-profit organization that would replace the current statewide long-term care ombudsman office, California Watch reports.
Eldercare ombudsmen investigate abuse allegations involving seniors in long-term care facilities.
Joseph Rodrigues, the state long-term care ombudsman, is a political appointee operating within the state’s Health and Human Services Agency.
Sylvia Taylor-Stein — team leader for the Committee for an Independent State Ombudsman Office — said several local ombudsmen created the committee because they felt that Rodrigues had failed to effectively advocate for funding for long-term care ombudsman programs.
Rodrigues has said his office is well-positioned to speak out on eldercare issues because of his proximity to state leaders and the governor’s office.
Push for Independent Office
Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) has expressed support for the creation of an independent ombudsman office that would have “the complete autonomy needed to speak out effectively on behalf of resident concerns.”
Wolk has introduced a bill (SB 345) to serve as a placeholder for legislation that would create the independent office. Wolk’s office said the bill would be modeled after similar independent ombudsman offices in Colorado and Washington state.
The full legislation is expected to be developed this week (Jewett, California Watch, 3/31).
Source: California Healthline