Over the past year, HHS has been moving towards the promulgation of rules implementing Title VII, Chapter 2 of the Older Americans Act (OAA), the Ombudsman Programs. Since 1992, the functions of these programs have been statutorily delineated in 42 U.S.C. 3058g, but regulations were never formalized. In the absence of official regulatory guidance, there has been significant variation from state to state in the interpretation and implementation of these provisions, as well as challenges in determining state compliance with the program.
Today, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that puts forward changes designed to strengthen and clarify how Long-Term Care Ombudsmen (LTCO) in all fifty states, Guam, and Puerto Rico implement their programs.
Proposed rule topics include:
Responsibilities of the State Ombudsman, State Agency on Aging, and Representatives of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman related to the program operationsConsistent approaches to resolving complaints on behalf of residentsAppropriate role of ombudsmen in resolving abuse complaintsConflicts of Interest—processes for identifying and remedying conflicts so that residents have access to effective, credible ombudsman services
The proposed rule is available in the Federal Register. Public comments will be accepted for 60 days from the date of publication, and can be submitted at www.regulations.gov.
To view the HHS Press Release announcing the NPRM publication, please follow this link.