October 11, 2008

California Decimates Long Term Care Ombuds Program

Since it was established three decades ago, California's Long Term Care Ombudsman program has investigated elder abuse and other complaints on behalf of residents of California’s 1,300 nursing homes and more than 8,000 assisted living facilities. In a protracted political battle that delayed the state budget, legislators initially agreed to significant cuts in the LTC Ombuds program. Then, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line item veto power to cut all state funding. (However, the Governor maintained full funding for California Department of Aging’s state Ombuds office, which provides no services to residents.) The veto came just days after a federal report condemned conditions in nursing homes: the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 99 percent of the California nursing homes had deficiencies that caused actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents. (CANHR Press Release; Union Democrat; OC Register.)

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