(1) Each regional program shall develop an ombudsman plan that describes short-term activities to cover one year and long-term activities on strategic areas to cover two years or more. Long-term components shall address strategic program development, such as the future development of funding sources or the future direction of the program. The requirement to develop such an ombudsman plan may be waived by the SLTCO, as the SLTCO deems appropriate.
(2) The plan shall be approved by the SLTCO using the following criteria:
(a) Goals are useful, achievable, and in keeping with the core services and thrust of the SLTCO office's goals;
(b) Objectives are rational to the goals;
(c) Action steps will lead to achieving the stated objectives;
(d) Time lines are reasonable; and,
(e) Outcome standards are rational to the service, measurable, and quantified as much as possible.
(B) The ombudsman plans for regional programs seeking initial designation and for those programs deemed to be in need of additional oversight by the SLTCO shall address the following:
(1) Complaint handling, including, intake, screen, complaint investigation, complaint resolution, and follow-up activities;
(2) Providing a regular presence, including increasing awareness by consumers, sponsors, providers, social services, and the aging network of the program and its functions; and increasing the number of complaints received directly from consumers;
(3) Public education and information, including increasing awareness of the program and long-term care issues;
(4) Identifying systemic issues, monitoring the development and implementation of policy by agencies that have an effect on the lives of consumers, coordinating and advocating with agencies and the legislature, and documenting the progress of systemic reform;
(5) Representation at hearings and legal representation, including defining the types of hearings in which the regional program representatives will provide representation and developing how the regional program will ensure legal representation is provided to clients in other cases;
(6) Professional development and continuing education for representatives of the office, including assuring that volunteer representatives are able to pass the appropriate certification exam, and developing a continuing education program targeted at the needs of representatives of the office;
(7) Recruitment, screening, retention, and supervision of volunteer representatives, including increasing the number of volunteer hours and increasing the capacity of volunteers to do such activities as complaint handling, establishing presence, observing and monitoring issues and providers, and providing information to the public;
(8) Fund raising, including identifying where additional resources are needed, and developing strategies for raising funds to meet those needs;
(9) Program administration, including developing the ombudsman plan; increasing the skills of administrative staff in such areas as fund-raising, accounting methods, performance appraisals, supervision of personnel, and similar administrative activity;
(10) Internal quality assurance process, including identifying problems in the delivery of core ombudsman services and developing objectives, action steps with time lines, and outcome standards for correcting the problems;
(11) Optional services, including defining those services delivered by the regional program that are not core services and developing goals, objectives, action steps with time lines, and outcome standards for measuring the success and impact of the services; and,
(12) Each provision under paragraph (A) of this rule.