CLTCOA’s legislative priorities:

  • Ensure adequate funding to local LTC Ombudsman programs to meet state and federal mandates.
  • Sponsor and/or support legislation that impacts quality of life and quality of care for long-term care residents. We often comment on, support or oppose legislation that affects the health, welfare, and safety of facility residents.

2019/20 Platform:

BUDGET FUNDING REQUEST: $5,208,064 MILLION IN GENERAL FUNDS FOR ON-GOING SUPPORT OF THE LOCAL LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAMS

  • $3,704,064 conduct vital quarterly unannounced visits to the 8,638 long-term care facilities,
  • $1,504,000 investigate and resolve an additional 8,000 complaints.             

Agendized for discussion and review:

Thursday, March 14th 9:30 am Room 4203 Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 Health & Human Services 

Wednesday, March 27th 1:30 pm Room 444 Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 Health and Human Services.

Please send in a letter of support for this program funding augmentation and attend the hearing to lend your in person, “me too” support. Below is a copy of the CLTCOA letter of support.

 

Honorable Dr. Pan, Chair                                Honorable Dr. Arambula, Chair

Senate Budget Sub #3                                     Assembly Budget Sub #1

State Capitol, Room 5114                                 State Capitol, Room, 5155

Sacramento, CA 95814                                     Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: 916-651-4906                                            Fax: 916-319-2131

Re: $5.2 Million Funding Request for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman ProgramDear Senator Dr. Pan and Assembly Member Dr. Arambula.

Dear Honorable Dr. Pan and Dr, Arambula,

On behalf of The California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association (CLTCOA), a membership association comprised of the 35 local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, their staff, volunteers and supporters, we write to request your continued support, to agendize our request of $5,208,064 for the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

The State and Federally mandated purpose of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is to ensure the highest possible quality of life and care for residents of long-term care facilities. Through a combination of paid staff and well-trained certified volunteers, the Ombudsman organizations provide regular, unannounced in-person visits and resident advocacy. They identify and resolve complaints, in addition to ensuring that facilities are free from health and safety issues. They are advocates that work to preserve the personal and civil rights of residents, particularly the 60% of residents without family members visiting to observe care and resolve or report problems.

In 2018 Ombudsman representatives provided 66,428 consultations to residents and their responsible parties. Each consultation provided was an opportunity for residents and family members to learn and better advocate for themselves. Ombudsman services strive to empower the older adult, validating that their preferences still matter even if they grow frail or infirm.

Situated in the community, the 35 local LTC Ombudsman Programs are nimble and can respond quickly to emerging situations. Ombudsman representatives from counties that have moved Medi-Cal beneficiaries to managed care have created new advocacy challenges for residents and new opportunities for advocates to improve care. Additionally, Ombudsman tend to be well connected to local fire and law enforcement jurisdictions and have created opportunities in some communities to improve quality care through systemic training efforts with such departments on a limited scale due to ombudsman funding limitations.

We are grateful for the $2.3 million cost of living adjustment to local program base funding in 2018. With the increase in funding more programs were able to provide certified Ombudsman available to answer the phones Monday through Friday, providing quick answers which has resulted in an increase of over 6,300 consultations to residents and their family members in 2018.

However after years of flat funding, and the increased costs to operate a business the local programs continue to struggle to meet the needs of those that they are charged with serving.  Sadly 2018 marked the second year in a row where the Program lost ground out in the field.

  • In 2018 of the 39,346 complaints investigated 12,822 complaints were coded as Elder Abuse, Gross Neglect and Exploitation (an increase of 284 Elder Abuse complaints investigated in skilled nursing facilities in 2017).
  • In 2018 in part due to the growing complexity of complaints, the program utilized the same number of staff hours and yet resolved 2,467 fewer complaints than in 2017.
  • In 2018 the number of volunteer hours donated to the program continued to decline. As of September 2018, the program had 646 certified volunteers, 75 fewer than in 2017.
    • During exit interviews, the top reasons identified by former volunteers:
      • lack of supervisory support,
      • a belief they were ill-equipped to resolve the resident’s complaints.

CLTCOA is pleased to forward this 2019-20 budget funding request for $5,208,064. An “Ask” that identifies the major areas of programs insecurity.

  • Unannounced facility visits to the 8,638 licensed LTC facilities: $3,704,064, the cost for paid staff and volunteers to add an additional 154,336 hours, for unannounced facility visits. In addition to the quarterly visits, in response to the continuing increase in complaints local programs have identified their hot spot facilities. The facilities that need monthly or weekly visits to reverse the trend of poor quality care and the mistreatment of
  • Complaint Investigations: $1,504,000 to cover the costs of investigating an additional 8,000 complaints in addition to the 39,346 complaint Ombudsmen investigated in 2018. While the goal of the program is to assist residents with self-advocacy, there is a growing number of residents that require assistance with complaint investigations. As more Ombudsmen are in facilities due to the increase in unannounced facility visits, there will be a period of increased identification of

An adequately funded Ombudsman Program is a vital part of the long-term care safety net. When Ombudsman Programs can fulfill the State and federal service mandates, not only do care facility residents benefit with a higher quality of life and care, but also the State reduces costs for new complaints that would otherwise be referred directly to the licensing agencies. Indeed this is an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” situation.

As the chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services, we respectfully ask for your continued support and to agendize our funding request of $5,208,064 for the Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs.

 

Sincerely,

Leza Coleman

Executive Director

California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association

 

 

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