Section 400.0067, Florida Statutes 2004
400.0067 State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council; duties; membership.--
(1) There is created within the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council.
(2) The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council shall:
(a) Assist the ombudsman in reaching a consensus among local ombudsman councils on issues of statewide concern.
(b) Serve as an appellate body in receiving from the local ombudsman councils complaints not resolved at the local level. The state ombudsman council may enter any long-term care facility involved in an appeal, pursuant to the conditions specified in s. 400.0069(3).
(c) Assist the ombudsman to discover, investigate, and determine the existence of abuse or neglect in any long-term care facility. The Department of Elderly Affairs shall develop procedures relating to such investigations. Investigations may consist, in part, of one or more onsite administrative inspections.
(d) Assist the ombudsman in eliciting, receiving, responding to, and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of long-term care facility residents and in developing procedures relating to the receipt and resolution of such complaints. The secretary shall approve all such procedures.
(e) Elicit and coordinate state, local, and voluntary organizational assistance for the purpose of improving the care received by residents of a long-term care facility.
(f) Prepare an annual report describing the activities carried out by the ombudsman and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council in the year for which the report is prepared. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council shall submit the report to the Secretary of Elderly Affairs. The secretary shall in turn submit the report to the Commissioner of the United States Administration on Aging, the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leaders of the House and Senate, the chairpersons of appropriate House and Senate committees, the Secretary of Children and Family Services, and the Secretary of Health Care Administration. The report shall be submitted by the Secretary of Elderly Affairs at least 30 days before the convening of the regular session of the Legislature and shall, at a minimum:
1. Contain and analyze data collected concerning complaints about and conditions in long-term care facilities.
2. Evaluate the problems experienced by residents of long-term care facilities.
3. Contain recommendations for improving the quality of life of the residents and for protecting the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents.
4. Analyze the success of the ombudsman program during the preceding year and identify the barriers that prevent the optimal operation of the program. The report of the program's successes shall also address the relationship between the state long-term care ombudsman program, the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the Department of Children and Family Services, and an assessment of how successfully the state long-term care ombudsman program has carried out its responsibilities under the Older Americans Act.
5. Provide policy and regulatory and legislative recommendations to solve identified problems; resolve residents' complaints; improve the quality of care and life of the residents; protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents; and remove the barriers to the optimal operation of the state long-term care ombudsman program.
6. Contain recommendations from the local ombudsman councils regarding program functions and activities.
7. Include a report on the activities of the legal advocate and other legal advocates acting on behalf of the local and state councils.
(3)(a) The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council shall be composed of one active local council member designated by each local council plus three persons appointed by the Governor.
(b)1. The ombudsman, in consultation with the secretary, shall submit to the Governor a list of at least eight names of persons who are not serving on a local council.
2. The Governor shall appoint three members chosen from the list, at least one of whom must be over 60 years of age.
3. If the Governor's appointments are not made within 60 days after the ombudsman submits the list, the ombudsman, in consultation with the secretary, shall appoint three members, one of whom must be over 60 years of age.
(c) All members shall be appointed to serve 3-year terms. A member of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council may not serve more than two consecutive terms. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. The position of any member missing three consecutive regular meetings without cause shall be declared vacant. The findings of the ombudsman regarding cause shall be final and binding.
(d) The state ombudsman council shall elect a chairperson for a term of 1 year from among the members who have served for at least 1 year. The chairperson shall select a vice chairperson from among the members. The vice chairperson shall preside over the council in the absence of the chairperson.
(e) The state ombudsman council shall meet upon the call of the chairperson, at least quarterly or more frequently as needed.
(f) Members shall receive no compensation but shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(4) No officer, employee, or representative of the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman or of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council, nor any member of the immediate family of such officer, employee, or representative, may have a conflict of interest. The ombudsman shall adopt rules to identify and remove conflicts of interest.
(5) The Department of Elderly Affairs shall make a separate and distinct request for an appropriation for all expenses for the state and local ombudsman councils.
History.--ss. 5, 30, 31, ch. 93-177; s. 759, ch. 95-148; s. 113, ch. 99-8; s. 209, ch. 99-13; s. 15, ch. 2000-263; s. 11, ch. 2000-305; s. 124, ch. 2000-349; s. 44, ch. 2000-367; s. 22, ch. 2002-223.