Indiana House passes Austin bill to strengthen resident protections during long-term care

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INDIANAPOLIS – With overwhelming bipartisan support, Indiana House members passed legislation authored by Representative Terri Austin (D-Anderson) that would strengthen the resident protections available in long-term care facilities.

House Bill 1367 would require long-term care facilities to provide prospective residents and their families with written information regarding the services provided by the long-term care ombudsman. The bill would also require, at the request of the resident, that at least one individual of the resident’s choosing be present during the development of the resident’s long-term care plan.

“The concept for this bill came from a family that lives in my district who had to put their elderly mother in a nursing home,” Austin said. “They were concerned about the quality of care their mother was receiving, but didn’t know where to turn. Anyone who has put a family member into a long-term care facility knows that the process can be emotional and overwhelming.

“This bill would ensure that families and the resident know the resources available to them if they have concerns about the quality of care they receive,” Austin added. “It also would give the resident complete control over who they choose to have involved in the development of their long-term care plan.”

The Indiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program addresses issues regarding the care residents receive such as the administration of medications, emotional and verbal abuse, and Medicaid discrimination. Long-term care ombudsmen are assigned to specific regions of the state and act as a resource when residents or their family members have questions and concerns about their rights or the rights of a loved one receiving long-term care. These issues or concerns could include quality of care or treatment from a long-term care service provider; appeals regarding transfers, discharges, discontinuance or changes in services; and billing issues, including treatment covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

“It is vital that senior Hoosiers and their family members know their rights and how to advocate for them when it comes time for long-term care,” Austin said. “Families should be reassured that there is a plan in place to protect and truly take care of a loved one.”

House Bill 1367 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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