Bill Description: This bill expands the authority of Idaho’s Ombudsman for the Elderly to investigate cases.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
Idaho’s Commission on Aging, a state agency whose role is to provide government services to the state’s elderly population, includes the position of the state Ombudsman for the Elderly. The Ombudsman is “responsible for receiving, investigating and resolving or closing complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities or persons aged sixty (60) years or older.” (IC §67-5009)
Currently, all long-term care facilities are required to allow the ombudsman access to their premises at any time during business hours. H0347 would require long-term care facilities to give the ombudsman permanent access to their premises. Expansion of access to all hours, all days, would not extend to the premises of state or county departments that offer long-term care, as they are only obligated to grant the ombudsman access during business hours.
This bill would also eliminate the requirement that the ombudsman notify facilities and the individuals involved in an investigation prior to initiating the investigation.
To force all private long-term care facilities to give access to the ombudsman at all times of day without advance notice could violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment was written to protect private entities against unreasonable searches by government officials.