New partnership aims to protect residents, families from nursing home abuse, fraud

Coronavirus New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state announced Wednesday a new partnership between the Attorney General, State Auditor, and Ombudsman aimed to protect seniors and specialized care individuals at nursing homes and long-term care facilities from poor or abusive treatment. The partnership is a result made from a request from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the Ombudsman to review complaints during the pandemic and offer support to residents and their families.

“This new process will take a hard look at the information and complaints we are seeing come from families, residents, and surveyors, with the goal of expanding accountability and increasing the standard of care across New Mexico,” said Aging and Long Term Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez in a news release.

In a news release from the governor’s office, the Ombudsman will also partner with the Department of Health and Adult Protective Services to review data and complaints to executive departments for further action, if necessary.

“At a time when we need strong oversight for our seniors and care-dependent New Mexicans, this referral process will enable residents and their families to restore their dignity and seek the justice they deserve,” said Zack Quintero in the same news release, New Mexico State Ombudsman.

According to the news release, the State Ombudsman Program has already started a new statewide initiative of wellness, dignity, and access to justice during COVID-19 and this new partnership is a continuation of that.

“We must work together and leverage the tools of our offices to protect vulnerable New Mexicans from anyone who would defraud or abuse them,” said Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General in the same news release. “Through this collaboration, we will continue to aggressively prosecute and hold individuals accountable for horrific abuse.”

“These efforts help champion the Office of the State Auditor’s fight against fraud and abuse, increasing avenues for identifying risks related to financial affairs and guardianship and conservatorship matters within our purview,” said Brian Colón in the same news release, New Mexico State Auditor. “New Mexicans deserve financial transparency and protection and we look forward to working with the Attorney General and Ombudsman to better serve one of our most vulnerable populations.”

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