Every state and territory in the U.S. has an Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman.
Under federal and state law, the Ombudsman is charged with protecting the rights, safety and welfare of older persons residing in assisted living and nursing homes. Alaska’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program is in the State Department of Revenue and administered by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The office is located at 3745 Community Park Loop, Suite 200, in Anchorage.
The federal Older Americans Act also charges the State Long Term Care Ombudsman with advocating for systemic changes in law and policy that will safeguard the rights and safety of vulnerable seniors. Alaska’s State Long Term Care Ombudsman is Teresa Holt.
Our goal is to give every older Alaskan residing in an assisted living or nursing home access to an ombudsman advocate. Ombudsmen make unannounced visits to licensed homes to monitor conditions and investigate complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents.
Ombudsmen can also investigate complaints from seniors living in their own homes when the complaints relate to problems affecting their residential circumstances. We are available to provide information, referral, and consultation to seniors, their families and providers. Call us Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or send us an email anytime by clicking on the “Contact Us” menu tab to the left.
What kinds of complaints does the Ombudsman receive?
The most common complaints include poor medication management in homes, failure to provide access to medical care, failure to monitor residents owing to staff shortages, and disrespectful staff behavior. Other complaints involve problems with insurance or Medicaid, improper acts by legal representatives, or difficulties in senior housing. Sometimes complaints are very serious, involving abuse, neglect, exploitation or the use of undue influence to harm vulnerable seniors. These complaints receive immediate attention and investigation.
How does the Ombudsman resolve complaints?
We are advocates for residents, first and foremost, so we seek to resolve problems to their satisfaction. Whenever possible, we prefer to work with home administrators to resolve issues in a collaborative manner.
However, if that is not possible, we will seek other remedies to ensure that older Alaskans receive respectful, quality care consistent with their preferences, the provisions of their care plans, and their rights under the law.
What if my complaint relates to someone who is under 60?
If you want to make a report of harm, please contact Adult Protective Services at (907) 269-3666 or (800) 478-9996. If you have a disability and believe you have been discriminated against, call Disability Law Center of Alaska at (907) 565-1002 or (800) 478-1234.
If you don’t know where to start with resolving a problem in long term care, you are welcome to call us at (907) 334-4480 or (800) 730-6393. We will do our best to connect you with the help you need.