Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 392, a bill by Assembly Members Mike Feuer and Dave Jones that appropriates $1.6 million for local long term care ombudsman programs in California. It provides greatly needed financial relief to the three dozen non-profit and county agencies that provide long term care ombudsman services to nursing home and assisted living facility residents throughout California.
The bill partially restores funds vetoed by the Governor in September 2008. That cut eliminated all state general funds ($3.8 million) for the local ombudsman programs, representing about half of ombudsman program funding. It caused severe cutbacks in ombudsman staffing and services that have left residents at greater risk of abuse and neglect.
AB 392 appropriates funds on a one-time basis from federal nursing home fines owned by California.
AB 392 was co-sponsored by CANHR and AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Association of Area Agencies on Aging, California Senior Legislature, California Commission on Aging, Catholic Charities of California, Congress of California Seniors, Ombudsman & HICAP Services of Northern California, and OWL. The bill was strongly supported by local ombudsman programs and many other organizations, agencies and local governments.