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Ombudsmen Serve as Advocates for Long Term Care Patients

Gary Reis

Gary Reis is the president of Med Tech, Inc., the largest ambulance service in Rhode Island. His company currently employs over 400 people and utilizes 130 vehicles. Outside of his professional life, Gary Reis is a supporter of the Alliance for Better Long Term Care.

An ombudsman for the volunteer organization Alliance for Better Long Term Care is a citizen who advocates for the best and most ethical care for those with long term needs. After completing training for the position, the ombudsman regularly visits patients in long term care facilities to make sure their health care needs are being met, and also to identify any areas in which care could be improved.
Those wishing to serve as volunteer ombudsmen must have two letters of reference that aren’t from friends or family. They must then participate in a training program involving 36 hours of class time over a two week period, after which they must pass a test and sign a confidentiality agreement. Finally, potential ombudsmen are subjected to a criminal background check.
In their volunteer roles, ombudsmen are required to spend at least three hours a week at selected facilities visiting long term care patients. They mediate conflicts and issues between residents (or their families) and staff, advocate for the rights of patients, propose solutions to problems with care, and provide follow-up accountability to make sure those solutions are being implemented properly.

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