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Maryland LTC ombudsman may get advisory panel

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The Maryland Senate might create an advisory committee to help the state’s long-term care (LTC) ombudsman set goals.

The committee could also help the LTC ombudsman develop policies and procedures, come up with marketing ideas, and think about strategies for improving the quality of long-term care.

Thomas Middleton, chair of the state Senate Finance Committee, introduced the bill, Senate Bill 13, at the request of the Maryland Department of Aging.

The committee plans to hold a hearing on the bill Thursday.

The panel would focus on issues involving nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other LTC facilities.

The 21 members would include representatives from the Maryland Medical Assistance Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Disabilities, the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau Inc., and the Maryland Disability Law Center Inc., and two representatives from the Maryland Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

The members also would include an LTC facility staff member; a volunteer ombudsman; an individual with a disability; one representative each from groups that represent people with dementia, people with behavioral health concerns, and people who live in LTC facilities; two friends or relatives of LTC facility residents; two members of the general public; and two representatives of local LTC ombudsman entities.

Members of the panel could not have an interest in an LTC facility or provider, and they could not have an interest in or belong to an association for LTC facilities or providers.

The bill does not mention insurance companies, insurance agents or insurance brokers.

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