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Stop SB 503 – A Deadly Shift in Nursing Home Care

Dear Friends,

I am writing you to ask you to join us in strongly opposing SB 503. This is very serious. Once again we are being faced with the growing dilemma of how to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens – nursing home residents. SB 503 is a last-minute maneuver that would allow nursing home residents to be drugged by powerful antipsychotics without their consent, and termination of life-sustaining treatment.

Please see CANHR’s email below and just click on the link to download the sample letter; add your name and fax to the number on the letter. I just did. It is easy and will only take a couple of minutes. Also, read Nursing Home Nightmare at the end of this post. If SB 503 passes, this could happen to you or your loved ones. We cannot let this happen. Please help us stop SB 503!

Please write to the committee (and send a copy to CANHR)
by August 2nd to register your opposition.

Sample Letter: Assembly Member Jim Wood

Assembly Member Jim Wood
Chair, Assembly Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: (916) 319-2197

Email a copy to


Thank you so much!


Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540
a 501 (c) 3 Public Benefit Corporation

All Donations are 100% Tax Deductible

SB 503: A Nursing Home Nightmare

Imagine you are an elderly person who recently suffered a fall at home, injuring your leg and ankle.  You are sent to a hospital for treatment.  At the hospital, you develop an infection and suffer mild delirium.  As a result of the delirium, you are prescribed Ativan, a powerful tranquilizer, and Ambien, a sleeping pill, to make sure you stay in bed to protect your leg. You are sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation.  You do not sign an admission agreement with the nursing home.

At the nursing home, you receive a notice that the nursing home physician, who has never met you, has determined you are not capable of making your own treatment decisions and so the nursing home will make them for you.  The physician has proposed you continue to receive Ativan and Ambien, although they make you groggy and dizzy.  He has also proposed the amputation of your leg because of the injuries sustained in the fall.  The notice tells you that if you want to keep your leg or avoid the sedating drugs, you must contact an attorney and file a lawsuit.  However, you cannot go to an attorney’s office because the physician has ordered that you may not leave the facility due to your incapacity.  You have no options.

Posted in Nursing Home, SB 503.

Ventura County Ombudsman Program shares their story of inspiration.

Below is an excerpt from the full article called  Gift of Giving -Ventura County Reporter.

Ventura County Ombudsman Program
When Bee Ellisman’s mother was in a nursing home, Bee visited her often, witnessing firsthand the need for advocates for elderly residents.

In 1981, Ellisman and her friend Shirley Radding founded the Ventura County Ombudsman Program based on the principle that elderly persons unable to care for themselves are entitled to dependable and consistent care.

With a small grant to get started, the founders, one staff member and two volunteers began monitoring 12 nursing facilities in Ventura County and advocating for decent care and quality of life for 1,482 elderly residents.

In 1988, the founders incorporated Long Term Care Services of Ventura County Inc., a nonprofit charitable corporation, to administer the program. In 1991 the Ventura County Ombudsman program was named a model effort by the state of California for its outstanding efforts on behalf of institutionalized elderly.

“Ombudsman is a Swedish word meaning advocate,” said Sylvia Taylor-Stein of Oxnard, executive director of Long Term Care Services of Ventura County Inc.

A special aspect of the program is its facility visitation plan, she said.

“The federal mandate governing the Ombudsman program nationwide requires only one annual visit per facility,” Taylor-Stein said. “However, the founders, foreseeing the built-in failure in such a deficient model, set a mandate for Ventura County that stipulated all skilled nursing facilities would be monitored a minimum of once a week and all assisted living facilities a minimum of once a month.”

This mandate has continued uninterrupted, and today five staff members and 63 volunteers advocate for decent care and quality of life for 9,500 disabled and elderly persons in Ventura County’s 231 long-term care facilities.

“Sixty percent of those who live in nursing homes have no family or friends to watch out for them or visit them, and are too fearful, vulnerable or frail to represent themselves,” Taylor-Stein said.

Intense training and a strong commitment to the elderly are required to become an Ombudsman, including 36 hours of classroom training, 15 hours of field service and 12 hours a year of continuing education to earn and retain certification by the State of California.

Ombudsman Maeretha Franklin Coleman (left) visits with resident, Barbara McDaniel.

“This specialized training equips him or her to investigate and resolve complaints on behalf of elderly residents, and handle the myriad of problems that may arise in long-term care settings,” Taylor-Stein said. “For problems that cannot be resolved onsite or involve serious neglect or abuse, the Ombudsman enlists the help of licensing agencies, law enforcement and the District Attorney.”

Ombudsman services are confidential and free of charge.

“No other agency or program exists solely to advocate for the institutionalized elderly,” Taylor-Stein said. “Each year, the Ombudsman program provides the elders of Ventura County, their families and the community at large over 20,000 hours of free services.”

Volunteers, the nonprofit’s greatest asset, provide a value of $160,000 of in-kind services to the seniors and disabled in long-term care facilities.

“However, training and supporting volunteers, investigating complaints, pre-placement counseling, in-service training of paid facility staff, providing community education and support groups requires a professional staff,” Taylor-Stein said. “With a small paid staff and volunteers, we are able to provide 12 months of advocacy and support to one senior or disabled person in long-term care.”

Although the program is federally mandated, it does not receive the financial support from the federal or state government to provide services that the elderly and disabled require, Taylor-Stein said.

As a result, the program depends on funds from sources that include private foundations, community development block grant funding, and individual and public contributions.

“The program’s goal is to continue to bring strong effective advocacy and support services that help ensure a higher quality of life for this vulnerable neglected population — a group whose numbers are expected to double in the next 10 years,” Taylor-Stein said.

The gift of giving
Local nonprofit leaders share their stories of inspiration
By Alicia Doyle, VC Reporter 11/25/2015

Posted in Articles, California, Newspapers/Books, Ventura County.

California’s Largest Nursing Home Owner Sued

The family of a 57-year-old nursing home resident who committed suicide last year by lighting herself on fire in public has sued the state’s largest nursing home owner over the woman’s gruesome death in suburban Los Angeles.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses businessman Shlomo Rechnitz and several companies of operating a facility in South Pasadena that endangered patients and allowed mentally ill residents to languish in order to “maximize profits.”

“This owner also has a nursing home in Ventura County where we have two ombudsman monitoring it. Very sad when a resident gets placed and then proper care is not provided”
-Sylvia Taylor-Stein, Executive Director

Posted in Articles, California, Law Suit.

Please help us show our Board of Supervisors how much they are appreciated!

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know that we have a time certain for our Appreciation Presentation to the Board of Supervisors.

We are scheduled for July 28, 2015 at 10AM

I hope as many of you will come as possible. As I have expressed on several occasions, they have been in the fight with us from the beginning to help restore funding to the Ombudsman Program. Ventura County is the only county in CA that has been consistent and resolute since 2008 to stand with us on our funding reinstatement. Although we did not receive as much as we hoped, for the first time since 2008, we have been put back into the general fund. For those of you who may not know, we were in the general fund from 1986 until 2008 when we were suddenly, without any discussion, eliminated. Since that time some of the local programs have worked to reinstate the funds. This is the first year we have seen any real improvement, and we want to thank those who have helped us get here.

Please come out and help us show our Board of Supervisors how much they are appreciated.


Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540

Posted in California.

Ombudsman Program funding

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that we have the final approval of the state
budget. The Legislators and Governor have approved the new budget with
the following increases for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs statewide:
$ 1,000,000 General Funds (On-Going)
$ 1,000,000 Citation Penalty Account (One-time only)
$ 400,000 Quality Assurance Fees (On-Going)
$ 2,400,000

While we would have loved to receive the full request of $ 6,000,000
that the Assembly unanimously approved, this is the first time since 2008 that we
have received State General Funds. It is a start. We will try again
next budget year to ensure that care facility residents have access to
the Ombudsman Program.

Thank you to everyone who helped us with phone calls and letters! You
have made a difference!

Best wishes,

Sylvia Taylor-Stein
Executive Director
Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc.,
Ombudsman Program
2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 35
Ventura, CA 93003
T: 805-656-1986 ext 102
Fax: 805-658-8540
a 501 (c) 3 Public Benefit Corporation

Posted in Budget Proposals, California.