New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP)
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) serves as an advocate and resource for persons who live in nursing homes, adult homes and other licensed residential care facilities. Ombudsmen help residents and their families understand and exercise their rights to quality of care and quality of life. The program promotes and protects residents health, safety, welfare and rights by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of residents, by supporting resident and family councils, and by informing governmental agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities. Ombudsman services are available free of charge.
The New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) has been in existence since 1972. The Federal Older Americans Act (as amended) requires each state to establish an Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman and to employ a qualified, full-time person to serve as the State Ombudsman. The primary activities of the ombudsman program include:
- Investigating and resolving long-term care facility resident's complaints.
- Providing services to help protect resident's health, safety, welfare and rights.
- Assuring residents have regular and timely access to services provided through the Office
- Promoting the development of resident and family councils.
- Training representatives of the Office.
- Monitoring, analyzing and commenting on the development and implementation of federal, state, and local long-term care laws and policies.
- Prohibiting the willful interference with the official duties of an ombudsman and/or retaliation against an ombudsman, resident, or other individual for assisting the ombudsman program in the performance of its duties.
LTCOP advocates for nearly 160,000 residents in 1,673 long-term care facilities across New York. These include 117,183 nursing home residents and 42,554 residents of adult care facilities, assisted living and family-type homes.
In 2012 there were 896 certified volunteer ombudsmen providing a regular presence in facilities and helping protect the care, safety and rights of residents. These volunteers donated 135,000 hours, valued at more than $3.7 million, effectively doubling the program's annual capital resources.
The statewide program is comprised of 34 local ombudsman programs. In 2012, these local programs handled 3,626 complaints, achieving a successful resolution in 79% of cases; responded to 9,943 requests for information and consultation from residents, families and caregivers; and responded to 2,540 requests for consultation from facilities.
In SFY 2013-14, LTCOP was appropriated $690,000. This funding level will insure the continued operation of LTCOP.