Ombudsman Services during COVID-19
Ombudsmen across Illinois have worked hard over the past several months to find creative ways to continue to reach residents and provide solid advocacy. However, the Ombudsman Program is not a virtual program. While ombudsmen continue this challenging work, it is important not to lose sight of that fact that ombudsmen do their best work when they can talk to the residents in person. Phone calls and electronic communication have worked as a short term solution to visitation restrictions, but they are not the best long-term means of providing the strong advocacy residents of Illinois long-term care facilities expect and deserve from our Program.
The Illinois State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is established by:
the Older Americans Act, §711 and §712 (United States Code, Title 42, §3058f and §3058g);
the Illinois Act on the Aging (20 ILCS 105/4.04);
Code of Federal Regulation, Title 45, Parts 1321 and 1324; and
Illinois Admin Code, Title 89, Chapter 2, Part 270, Subpart B.
Ombudsmen have resumed in-person visitation with residents. In-person visitation can occur via window visits, outdoor visits, or through indoor visits. Federal CMS clarified that in-person access [of an ombudsman to a resident] may not be limited without reasonable cause (QSO-20-39).