September 14, 2010

New Hampshire Creates Ombuds Office for Health & Human Service Issues

The state agency has unveiled a website for a new Ombuds program for clients, employees, and members of the general public. Although it does not explicitly adopt IOA standards of practice, the New Hampshire DHHS Ombuds is confidential, unbiased and informal.

The new program most closely resembles the Organizational Ombuds model, despite the fact that it serves internal and external stakeholders. Moreover, its methods of complaint resolution are strikingly familiar and include the option of upward feedback:
The Office of the Ombudsman responds to complaints and requests for assistance from clients, employees, and members of the general public to resolve disagreements in matters that involve DHHS. The Office of the Ombudsman is dedicated to maintaining an environment that supports the civil rights of all served.

The Office of the Ombudsman is not a substitute or replacement for normal complaint resolution. The goal is to ensure that existing systems are effective and that they resolve differences fairly. However, if you don't know the appropriate person to call, or the system doesn't seem to be working for you, then call the Office of the Ombudsman.
There is little information about the genesis of this program, but it is clearly separate from the state's Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman which follows the Classical model. (NH DHHS Ombuds.)

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