California Nursing Home Ombudsman Programs Face Budget Pressures
California's decision to cut more than $3.8 million in state funding from its long-term care ombudsman program has caused nearly all of the program's 35 offices statewide to lay off workers and look for outside funding, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
A 1978 federal law requires every state to establish a long-term care ombudsman program, which investigates and resolves complaints made on behalf of patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
More than 120 part-time and full-time ombudsman and about 1,000 volunteers staff California's program.
Sarah Ludeman, spokesperson for the California Department of Aging, said the state cuts reduced the program's budget by almost 50%.Â She added that all of the state's offices have procured enough funding to continue providing services.
In Riverside County, the ombudsman office lost more than half of its $257,000 budget, leading officials to re-prioritize and seek more volunteers.
Meanwhile, funding cuts to San Bernardino County's office would have reduced the program's funding from $322,000 to $123,500, but county officials provided the necessary funding to continue the program.Roberta Wertenberg, San Bernardino County's long-term care ombudsman, said state and federal legislators are considering bills that would increase the program's funding (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/30). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.