You made a difference in your community!
Year-end legislation increased LTC Ombudsman national system funding by $2 million. Thank you for contacting congress. Please thank your congressman. Fifteen local ombudsman programs in KY will share approximately $25,000 in increased funding.
3,716 residents received gifts this holiday season thanks to your generosity!
The Barren River, Bluegrass, Buffalo Trace, Green River, Lake Cumberland, Northern Kentucky, Pennyrile, Purchase LTC Ombudsman Programs and the State LTCO Office thank you for your donations.
In Federal Fiscal Year 2022 the KY LTCO Program visited facilities on 7,970 occasions. Visits increased by 4,717 visits since FFY 21. The program certified 21 new ombudsmen and worked to resolve 1,539 complaints which was 395 complaints more than the previous year. The program provided 1,539 community education sessions.
Thank you to all of the LTCO Program staff and volunteers who helped make Siver Bells a success!
Pictured above is District Ombudsman, Mandy Weston and the Lake Cumberland LTC Ombudsman Advisory Council. This crew has spent the last several months discussing the implications of low staffing in their area LTC facilities and how residents have been suffering as a direct result. Mandy and her Advisory Council members have researched and composed a letter that they will be sending to both state and federal legislators in support of having a minimum staffing standard in place for nursing homes.
If you're interested in learning more about how to advocate for better staffing conditions in nursing homes, contact NHOA today to find out!
District Ombudsman, Amanda Grooms, recently featured volunteer, Sue McIntyre in Buffalo Trace's Volunteer Spotlight. Sue has been dedicated and dependable Friendly Visitor and Advisory Council member in the Buffalo Trace LTCO program for 21 years! Amanda states, "Sue's laugh is contagious and it's been heard down the hallways of Pioneer Trace for over two decades! Sue will always be a vital member of our program."
Consumer Voice recently summarized a data brief from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) that looked at the first year of the pandemic in nursing homes.
- High COVID-19 transmission in a county did not always lead to nursing homes in that county reaching extremely high infection rates.
- For-profit nursing homes made up a disproportionate percentage of nursing homes with extremely high infection rates.
- Surveyors failed to identify infection control deficiencies in the majority of nursing homes with extremely high infection rates.
- Current staffing requirements may not be sufficient to protect nursing home residents from deadly infections.
The report identified more than 1,300 homes with “extremely high infection rates” of 75% or more residents. Importantly, the report contradicts the assertion by many in the nursing home industry that nursing homes in high transmission areas could not prevent COVID-19 transmission to residents. The report found that 63% of counties with high transmission rates during the first surge did not have any nursing homes with “extremely high infection rates.” During the second surge, that number increased to 78%. According to the report, “Being located in a high-transmission county did not make it inevitable that a nursing home would have an extremely high infection rate.
- CMS re-examine current staffing requirements and revise them as necessary. The report stated, “Our findings also provide evidence of the need to propose new minimum staffing standards” to make sure residents receive good care.
- CMS must improve how surveys identify infection control risks to nursing home residents and strengthen guidance on assessing the scope and severity of those risks.
- Target nursing homes in most need of infection control intervention and provide enhanced oversight and technical assistance to these facilities as appropriate.
The OIG report identifies significant failures both of nursing homes and regulators to protect residents from COVID-19. Understaffing and poor enforcement of regulations led to the catastrophic events that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of nursing home residents and caused incalculable harm to others.
CMS has promised a minimum staffing standard, which according to the OIG report, will lead to better protections for nursing home residents. But CMS must also increase its enforcement actions regarding infection control. The OIG report makes clear: CMS must do something different in order to prevent a repeat of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kentucky State LTC Ombudsman Program is housed within the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass.
The KLTCOP is funded in part by state and federal funding provided by the Department for Aging and Independent Living.