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Ombudsman Program

imageThe Ombudsman Program investigates and resolves complaints made by or on behalf of older persons living in long-term care facilities or receiving long-term care services in their homes. Ombudsman services are confidential and free.  The Ombudsman protects the identity of complainants upon request and respects confidentiality.

What is an Ombudsman?

An ombudsman is:

  • a trained individual who can help if you have a complaint or problem with any long-term care service;
  • a source to provide information about your rights as a consumer and assistance in exercising those rights;
  • an advocate for high standards of quality of care who promotes strict enforcement of those standards;
  • a promoter of the highest quality of life for care-dependent Pennsylvanians, 60 years-of-age and older;
  • a consumer representative who works within the legislative and rule-making process to improve long-term care services throughout the state; and
  • a person who assists long-term care consumers in pursuing remedies to their problems.

An Ombudsman:

  • answers questions, provides information and makes referrals to long-term care programs and related services;
  • coordinates efforts with other organizations concerned with the quality of life of long-term care residents;
  • encourages resident, family and community involvement in issues affecting long-term care facilities; and
  • provides community education and awareness of residents’ rights.

Who uses the Ombudsman?

  • Residents of nursing and personal-care homes
  • Individuals receiving long-term care services in their homes and communities
  • Families and friends of individuals who live in nursing or assisted living facilities or personal-care homes
  • Staff of long-term care facilities
  • Government Agencies who monitor quality of care in long-term care facilities

What kinds of issues are handled?

  • Questions about billing and charges, including those covered by Medicare and Medicaid;
  • Concerns about the quality of care or treatment from a long-term care service provider; and
  • Appeals regarding transfers, discharges, discontinuance, or changes in services.

Your Rights

Older consumers of long-term care services have basic and special rights under federal and state law.   Some of these rights are listed below:

  • RIGHT to know and exercise your Rights
  • RIGHT to know about services and charges
  • RIGHT to be consulted in planning your medical treatment
  • RIGHT to decline medical treatment
  • RIGHT to confidentiality of medical records
  • RIGHT to privacy in treatment and care
  • RIGHT to freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation
  • RIGHT to freedom from restraints
  • RIGHT to express grievances without fear of retaliation
  • RIGHTS pertaining to admission, transfers, and discharges, including the Right to appeal in certain instances.

Need more information?

Southwestern PA Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
305 Chamber Plaza
Charleroi, PA 15022-1607


All Ombudsman services are strictly confidential and free!

Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services

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Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
305 Chamber Plaza
Charleroi, PA 15022
Tel: 724.489.8080 or 1.888.300.2704