California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a state budget for California that cuts funding for local ombudsman programs. Ombudsman programs investigate complaints of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect and provide training for nursing home staff on how to prevent abuse.
The budget cuts will make it harder to respond to nursing home complaints and protect the rights of residents in long-term care facilities, according to Kathleen Johnson of Advocacy Inc. Advocacy Inc. operates an ombudsman program in two counties in California and oversees approximately 2,500 nursing home residents in 44 facilities. All of the facilities in the two counties have been cited for deficiencies during inspections. Johnson goes on to say,
“The governor makes it clear that the most vulnerable and least visible population in our state does not merit protection, advocacy respect or a voice.”
As the credit crisis on Wall Street spreads to Main Street, look for similar nursing home-related budget cuts in your state. As Ms. Johnson points out, many nursing home related budget cuts are first in line because residents are tucked away out of the publics’ view.