Gov. Doyle's budget proposal for 2003-2005 would cut an ombudsman from the Board on Aging and Long Term Care, saving about $75,000.
Some facts about the board:
- 14 ombudsmen serve as advocates for nursing home residents, including making recommendations about possible violations to a state agency that regulates and investigates nursing homes.
- Federal guidelines recommend one ombudsman for every 2,000 long term care facility beds; state would have to triple its staff to 42 ombudsmen to meet that standard, although there is no penalty for not complying with the recommendation.
- Ombudsmen also work with residents and their families when a nursing home closes to make sure they know what their options are before they decide where to move.
- The board handles more than 1,600 cases a year. It has offices in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point and Rhinelander.