The Senate's Human Services Committee voted this week to approve legislation to strengthen the independence and accountability of a program intended to defend the rights, safety and welfare of long-term care residents in California in light of recent scrutiny.
"There is warranted concern that California's State Ombudsman program is not effectively advocating for residents," said Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, noting recent studies by both the Senate Office of Research and the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.
Wolk's legislation, Senate Bill 345, strengthens the ability of California's Long-term Care Ombudsman to act independently to fulfill its state- and federally-mandated responsibilities, which include investigating long-term care resident complaints, protecting the legal rights of residents, advocating for systematic change, and publicizing issues of importance to residents.
SB 345 would reinforce the independence of the politically-appointed state ombudsman from the California Department of Aging, which currently oversees the program, and require increased accountability for the ombudsman's advocacy efforts.
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State's Long-Term Care to Get Better