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Questions Hover Over Popular Ombudsman Program

by Jeff Thompson
August 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

(From CaliforniaHealthLine.org) Usually, committee meetings in Sacramento are pretty sparsely attended affairs. You have committee members listening, bill presenters talking and sometimes as many as half a dozen lobbyists stepping up to briefly weigh in.

But at a recent Senate Health Committee hearing, when it came time for people to enter their support into the record, the line of advocates went far past the usual half-dozen -- it stretched all the way to the back of the chamber, where a knot of people waited to join the queue.

They were all there to state their support for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

There are 35 local ombudsman programs in California, with about 1,200 volunteers visiting approximately 9,300 senior housing sites, nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state. The program is run by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a state agency within the Department of Aging.

At the same time, many questions have been raised about the program's size, scope and duties. Just how much responsibility should be given to volunteer advocates? How should the state structure this organization? Should it be an independent agency? And from where will funding come?

Money, Money, Money

The governor cut all general fund money for the program in 2008, totaling $3.8 million. Lawmakers later restored almost half of it, $1.6 million, to keep the program afloat...

Read the full article [here].

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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