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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services


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.


Last updated June 10, 2013




LTC Ombudsman Program