The following Action Alert comes from the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL).
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program needs additional funding to adequately represent people in long-term care facilities in New York
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) serves as an advocate and resource for people living in nursing facilities and other institutions. The program is intended to promote and protect residents’ rights as well as their health and safety by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents. Yet, state funding for this program has been so low that many residents are not served by the program.
Advocates for people with disabilities have been calling for more state funding for the last few years because providers lack the resources to hire enough staff to serve everyone in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Last week, the Comptroller’s office released their audit on LTCOP which confirmed what advocates have long known, the program does not have sufficient resources and falls behind most other states. The audit found that many residents in LTC facilities lack representation from an Ombudsman due to lack of volunteers and paid staff. In fact, it found that there is about half the staff needed to meet recommended levels.
The Comptroller found that New York invests substantially less in their LTC Ombudsman Program than most other states, ranking 39th out of 50. In New York City in fact, they should have 23 more full time staff to meet the commonly used guidelines for staffing levels.
People in LTC facilities are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. It is essential that the State ensure that some of the State’s most vulnerable citizens have proper representation so that they have an available resource if it is needed.
What You Can Do:
Help Governor Cuomo understand why it is so important that the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is sufficiently funded in the upcoming budget by calling him at # 518-474-8390 . Press 2 to speak with a person.
You can let Governor Cuomo know you are aware of the Comptroller’s audit on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and that you are concerned that the program doesn’t have capacity to serve everyone in nursing facilities and other institutions. If you have personal experience staying in a nursing facility or adult home, let Governor Cuomo know and tell him how important it is that people living in those settings have access to an advocate to help protect their rights as well as their health and safety.
You can point out that according to the Comptroller’s audit, New York State ranks 39th compared to other states in terms of the number of paid staff. New York can address this problem by increasing State funding for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in the upcoming budget.