(1) There is created an Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman in the Department of Elderly Affairs.
(2)(a) The Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall be headed by the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, who shall serve on a full-time basis and shall personally, or through representatives of the office, carry out the purposes and functions of the office in accordance with state and federal law.
(b) The ombudsman shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Elderly Affairs. The secretary shall appoint a person who has expertise and experience in the fields of long-term care and advocacy to serve as ombudsman.
(3)(a) There is created in the office the position of legal advocate, who shall be selected by and serve at the pleasure of the ombudsman and shall be a member in good standing of The Florida Bar.
(b) The duties of the legal advocate shall include, but not be limited to:
1. Assisting the ombudsman in carrying out the duties of the office with respect to the abuse, neglect, or violation of rights of residents of long-term care facilities.
2. Assisting the state and local councils in carrying out their responsibilities under this part.
3. Pursuing administrative, legal, and other appropriate remedies on behalf of residents.
4. Serving as legal counsel to the state and local councils, or individual members thereof, against whom any suit or other legal action is initiated in connection with the performance of the official duties of the councils or an individual member.