S-3305.2          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6124



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Wojahn, Johnson, Gaspard, Niemi, Rasmussen and Madsen


Read first time 01/16/92.  Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.Providing for a long-term care ombudsman in counties over five hundred thousand.

     AN ACT Relating to long-term care ombudsmen; amending RCW 43.190.030; and making an appropriation.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 43.190.030 and 1988 c 119 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

     There is created the office of the state long-term care ombudsman.  The department of community development shall contract with a private nonprofit organization to provide long-term care ombudsman services as specified under, and consistent with, the federal older Americans act as amended, federal mandates, the goals of the state, and the needs of its citizens.  The contract shall require that long-term care ombudsmen are placed or are available throughout the state at locations convenient to long-term care facility patients, with at least one such ombudsman being located in each county with a population over five hundred thousand.  The department of community development shall ensure that all program and staff support necessary to enable the ombudsman to effectively protect the interests of residents, patients, and clients of all long-term care facilities is provided by the nonprofit organization that contracts to provide long-term care ombudsman services.  The long-term care ombudsman program shall have the following powers and duties:

     (1) To provide services for coordinating the activities of long-term care ombudsmen throughout the state;

     (2) Carry out such other activities as the department of community development deems appropriate;

     (3) Establish procedures consistent with RCW 43.190.110 for appropriate access by long-term care ombudsmen to long-term care facilities and patients' records, including procedures to protect the confidentiality of the records and ensure that the identity of any complainant or resident will not be disclosed without the written consent of the complainant or resident, or upon court order;

     (4) Establish a state-wide uniform reporting system to collect and analyze data relating to complaints and conditions in long-term care facilities for the purpose of identifying and resolving significant problems, with provision for submission of such data to the department of social and health services and to the federal department of health and human services, or its successor agency, on a regular basis; and

     (5) Establish procedures to assure that any files maintained by ombudsman programs shall be disclosed only at the discretion of the ombudsman having authority over the disposition of such files, except that the identity of any complainant or resident of a long-term care facility shall not be disclosed by such ombudsman unless:

     (a) Such complainant or resident, or the complainant's or resident's legal representative, consents in writing to such disclosure; or

     (b) Such disclosure is required by court order.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      The sum of fifty thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the general fund to the department of community development office of the state long-term care ombudsman for the purpose of contracts under RCW 43.190.030.