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Legally Speaking


Issue: December, 2007
Author: Charlie Simineo

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What is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program?

The primary duty of a Long-Term Care Ombudsman is protecting the rights of individuals by investigating and resolving problems and grievances, providing information and working with institutions, organizations and agencies to increase their responsiveness to the people they serve. The ombudsman acts on behalf of persons who need assistance in resolving issues relative to long-term care services.

A Long-Term Care Ombudsman serves the recipients of long-term care services. The providers include all home and community based providers, such as home health, hospice, assisted living, boarding homes and nursing facilities.

Recipients of long-term care services sometimes have little or no contact with the outside world and some may feel they lack control over their own lives. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman serves as a recipient advocate and assists in the resolution of problems and concerns. The goal of the Ombudsman Program is to improve the quality of life for long-term care recipients.

What does the Ombudsman do?

- Receives, investigates and attempts to resolve problems or complaints affecting recipients of long-term care facilities.

- Answers questions and provides information and referral about long-term care, related services, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.

- Promotes resident, family and community involvement in long-term care.

- Promotes community education and awareness of the needs of long-term care recipients.

- Coordinates efforts with other agencies and organizations concerned with long-term care.

- Identifies issues and problem areas in long-term care and recommends needed changes.

- Makes referrals to appropriate agencies and services. Referrals often include attorneys, banks, Social Security Administration, Department of Health, and Department of Family Services.

What kind of problems does the Ombudsman handle?

- Problems related to the rights of recipients of long-term care providers as citizens and as recipients.

- Concerns about the care or treatment provided by long-term care providers such as admissions, health services, drugs, food, resident funds and transfer or discharge.

Who does the Ombudsman program serve?

- Recipients or potential recipients of long term care service providers.

- Relative or friends of long-term care recipients.

- Long-term care employees and administrators.

- Members of community groups or citizens interested in improving long term care.

What is the cost of the services?

- There is no cost to receive the services.

- The program is funded by a grant from the Older Americans Act of 1965 and the Wyoming Department of Health, Aging Division.

Who are the Wyoming Ombudsmen?

- Deborah Alden is the program manager and may be contacted at:
Wyoming Senior Citizens, Inc
P.O. Box 94
Wheatland, WY 82201
Telephone: (307) 322-5553
o Serving Platte and Goshen Counties

- Rita Ortiz
Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman
951 Werner Court, Suite 295
Casper, WY 82601
Telephone: (307) 235-5959
o Serving Natrona, Converse, Niobrara, Weston, Crook, Campbell, Sheridan and Johnson Counties

- Jamie Lookingbill
Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman
P.O. Box BD
Riverton, WY 82501
Telephone: (307) 856-6880
o Serving Fremont, Sublette, Lincoln, Teton, Park, Big Horn, Washakie, and Hot Springs Counties

- Charlie Simineo
Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman
413 West 18th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Telephone: (307) 634-1010
o Serving Laramie, Albany, Carbon, Sweetwater, and Uinta Counties

How long has the program been around?

- The program began in 1979 in Wyoming and the Wyoming State Bar was the initial recipient of the grant to provide this service.

- The first Long Term Care Ombudsman was Deborah Alden who continues to serve in that role.

- The first Wyoming State Statute for the Long Term Care Ombudsman program was passed in 1985 with a revision in 2005.

- The statute can be found at W.S. §§9-2-1301 through 9-2-1309.

Charlie Simineo is a Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman. Charlie has a Bachelor’s in Gerontology and an Executive Masters of Business Administration. He has worked as a nursing home administrator, Health Facility Surveyor and Manager for Wyoming Department of Health. Additionally, Charlie worked as a Regional Administrator for Nebraska Health and Human Services.

Copyright © 2007 – Wyoming State Bar