OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5350

AN ACT CONCERNING AN ASSISTANT TO THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN.

SUMMARY:

This bill creates the position of assistant state ombudsman in the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The position, like the state ombudsman and regional ombudsmen positions, is in the classified service. The bill establishes the assistant ombudsman's duties, which, with some additions, are the same as those performed by regional ombudsmen.

It requires the state ombudsman to appoint and supervise the assistant ombudsman and appoint someone to act for the assistant whenever he or she cannot perform the duties of the office. By law, the state ombudsman also appoints the regional ombudsmen.

By law, the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman represents the interests of residents of nursing and residential care homes and helps them resolve complaints about the facilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2014

CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES

The bill makes the assistant ombudsman a classified employee. By law, classified employees are civil servants subject to state civil service merit hiring, promotion, and termination requirements.

DUTIES OF ASSISTANT STATE OMBUDSMAN

The assistant ombudsman must perform the following duties, which are the same as those performed by regional ombudsmen:

1. provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of nursing and residential care home residents;

2. ensure that residents in the office's various service areas have regular timely access to program representatives and timely responses to complaints and requests for assistance;

3. identify, investigate, and resolve complaints related to (a) action, inaction, or decisions that may adversely affect the residents' health, safety, welfare, or rights or (b) applications to long-term care facilities;

4. represent the interests of residents, and applicants in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities, before government agencies and seek administrative, legal, and other remedies to protect the residents' health, safety, welfare, and rights; and

5. review and, if necessary, comment on existing and proposed laws, regulations, and other government policies and actions on the rights and well-being of residents and applicants in relation to their applications to long-term care facilities, and facilitate public comment on the laws, regulations, policies and actions; and

6. support the development of resident and family councils.

The assistant ombudsman must also:

1. support the development and implementation of the pilot community ombudsman program;

2. provide technical assistance to the regional ombudsmen;

3. support the development of technology to promote outreach and education;

4. monitor program data entry, prepare reports, and analyze data; and

5. support program volunteer recruitment and training efforts.

The assistant ombudsman, like the regional ombudsmen, must carry out other activities the state ombudsman determines to be appropriate.

BACKGROUND

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The program is mandated by the federal Older Americans Act to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of people living, or applying to live, in nursing homes, residential care homes, or assisted living communities. It helps this population resolve complaints about actions, inactions, or decisions that may adversely affect their health, safety, welfare, or rights regarding these facilities. It is also responsible for monitoring state and federal laws and regulations affecting the lives of long-term care residents and making recommendations for improvements.

One state and nine regional ombudsmen carry out these duties, assisted by over 60 volunteers.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Aging Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

12

Nay

0

(03/11/2014)