Iowa's top advocate for seniors in nursing homes wants to have her job performance evaluated by the industry she oversees.
At the same time, the director of the Iowa Department on Aging is telling the state's eight local long-term care ombudsmen that they should not speak out about a recent dramatic cut in the number of state nursing home inspectors.
"That is unconscionable," said John Tapscott, a former state legislator who now advocates for the elderly. "You can't tell our ombudsmen not to speak out on the issues that affect their constituents."
According to federal law, each of the nation's long-term care ombudsmen is to advocate independently for the elderly residents of care facilities - a job that historically has put the ombudsmen at odds with both nursing homes and state regulators.
But new questions are being raised about whether Iowa's ombudsman, Jeanne Yordi, is working independently or advocating effectively for the elderly.
Legislation passed by the Iowa Senate last week calls for the creation of an "advisory committee" that would review and comment on the ombudsman's investigative procedures while participating in the ombudsman's annual performance review.
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Iowa Senior Care Advocate's Job Plan, Silence Questioned>