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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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        A task force of legislators and others studying the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on the health care system and other issues related to aging may have a report to present to the Ohio House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee by early next year.

        Steve Arndt, R- Port Clinton, who chairs the newly-formed committee, said last week a bill based on the task force recommendations could also be prepared early in 2018.

        “The committee has been looking at other states and their policies that are similar to Ohio’s. We do expect to see a bill pertaining to memory care and training requirements. We are working on a definition on what a memory care unit is and what kind of training those workers would be required to have. There is a lot of leg work being done to be mindful of what meaningful legislation should encompass,” Arndt said.

        House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger, R – Clarksville, early this year announced the formation of several task forces to address policy areas in Ohio, including the Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

        Representative Dorothy Pelanda, R – Marysville, was chosen to head the task force. She is also vice chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee.

        In August, Pelanda said the goal of the task force is to produce up to three bills based on the research it gathers and to create a statewide care plan for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

        Formed on Jan. 1, the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee is a new standing committee of the House and Arndt its first chairman.

        The panel heard testimony this month from Beverley Laubert, the state’s long-term care omsbudsman.

        Her office has responded to about 11,000 reports of problems in 2017, she said.

        “The highest percentage of those were reported by and on behalf of nursing home residents, followed by assisted living. Nursing home residents know their ombudsman better because most of our volunteer resources are concentrated in nursing homes. We have a goal to reach residents of adult care facilities (homes with 3-16 residents, licensed by the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services) with greater frequency in 2018,” she said.

        Laubert told the committee the top complaints don’t change significantly from year to year. 

        “Discharge, mostly from nursing homes, is a common issue nationally. Due in part to the frequency of discharge problems, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a regulation requiring nursing homes to send copies of transfer and discharge notices to the Ombudsman. Since the requirement began a year ago, we have received about 100 notices a month. When residents asked for help, ombudsman representatives resolved 58 percent of complaints without a hearing and when assisting a resident to appeal, the resident won 55 percent of the time,” she said.

        Last week, Rep. Arndt received the Elected Official Advocacy Award from the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

        The award is given to those who have worked with the organization to improve the lives of older Ohioans and those with disabilities.

 

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