May 24, 2022
May 24, 2022
Lansing, Mich., May 24, 2022 – In a Senate Joint Oversight Committee meeting, members heard devastating testimony on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which acknowledged in-person visits were not conducted for 31 months, The Center Square reports:
“[Michigan’s Long-Term-Care Ombudsman Program] MLTCOP, housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, advocates for more than 100,000 long-term care residents statewide, investigates complaints and supports improved policies.
However, the report flagged three material conditions – the most severe rating. Ombudsmen didn’t visit most of the facilities for 31 months during the audit.”
Through Executive Orders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer prevented families from visiting loved ones in long-term care facilities, but staff from the State’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman were specifically exempted from restrictions to carry out their responsibilities as patient advocates. Despite this exemption, Ombudsman staff rarely visited facilities.
Specifically, the Program had express permission from then-Director Gordon to enter facilities, an exception to Whitmer’s orders. The visits were never conducted.
“Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID policies prevented families from precious time with their loved ones living in long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman Program had explicit permission to conduct in-person visits during the pandemic and failed to carry out this responsibility,” said Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “This is yet another unfortunate example of how Whitmer’s policies failed Michigan, leaving the most vulnerable population to suffer.”