Ombudsman Program - History
The national network of long term care ombudsman programs was established
in response to the many problems found in nursing homes. The program
was first introduced in 1971 as part of President Nixon’s eight-point
plan to improve nursing home conditions. This plan established several
demonstration ombudsman projects, funded and supervised in the beginning
through the U.S. Public Health Service.
In 1973, administration responsibility for these projects was transferred
within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to the Administration
on Aging, within the Office of Human Development Services. By 1975,
all state agencies on aging were invited to submit proposals to promote
effective statewide ombudsman programs. Money was then made available
for this voluntary state program.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has been in existence in North
Carolina since 1976.
A favorable response to the ombudsman program led to its formal adoption
in the 1978 Amendments to the Older Americans Act. The Older Americans
Act (federal law) requires that each state establish and maintain a
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program to advocate on behalf of residents
in nursing and adult care homes (rest homes, assisted living). In 1989,
the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation for the Long
Term Care Ombudsman Program (G.S. 143B-181.15-25) which incorporated
federal mandates in the Older Americans Act for the Program and clearly
define the roles and responsibilities of the state and regional long
term care ombudsmen. In North Carolina, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman
Program is located in the Department of Health and Human Services, Division
of Aging and Adult Services. The Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs
are housed in the 16 Area Agencies on Aging.
June 10, 2013
LTC Ombudsman Program