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 more than 160,000 residents in 1,547 long-term care facilities across New York. These include 115,708 nursing home residents and 44,639 residents of adult care facilities, assisted living and family-type homes.
In 2013, there were 920 certified volunteer ombudsmen providing a regular presence in facilities and helping protect the care, safety and rights of residents. These volunteers donated 136,253 hours, valued at more than $3.8 million, effectively doubling the program's annual capital resources.
The statewide program is comprised of 31 local ombudsman programs covering 59 counties (3 counties are covered by the State Office). In 2013, the statewide program handled 2,658 complaints, achieving a successful resolution rate of 78%; responded to more than 31,700 requests for information and consultation from residents, families and caregivers; and responded to 16,044 requests for consultation from facilities.
In SFY 2014-15, LTCOP was appropriated $690,000.