Arkansas Long Term Care Ombudsman Program History
The Arkansas Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was implemented in 1975 upon receiving federal grant funding from the Administration on Aging. Nationally, federal grant funds became available in 1972 due to the eight-point Presidential Directive issued by President Richard Nixon in 1971, which addressed complaints by consumers. Arkansas, along with 44 other states, realized the significant impact that Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs were making on the overall care individuals were being provided.
In 1978, the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act passed by Congress mandated that all states establish a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Dr. Arthur S. Fleming, Commissioner on Aging under President Nixon; Elma Holder, Founder of the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR); and, Ralph Nader were instrumental in this program accomplishment.
The Arkansas office developed its program and established it statewide by subgrant Title III-B funding to all Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsmen were hired. In 2000, a Certified Volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman pilot program began with three participants. In 2003, a vigorous statewide campaign was initiated, and the program grew exponentially to include the highest number of CVOs per capita in the nation.
Currently, we have more than 740 ombudsmen including paid and volunteer. In 2007, we were honored with the selection of hosting the National State LTC Ombudsman Program (NASOP) annual conference. Our program received the Arkansas Gerontological Society Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2008. In partnership with an array of LTC stakeholders, we received the award to host the 2009 International Pioneer conference with global attendance of over 1200 people.