Iowa has new state long-term care ombudsman

DES MOINES ? The Iowa Department on Aging announces that Cindy Pederson, JD, has accepted the position of state long-term care ombudsman effective immediately.

Pederson joined the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman in 2014 as the discharge specialist with a background in real estate and contract law, and has spent the last few years working with and on behalf of older Iowans and their families in the areas of elder rights and landlord-tenant law. Since August she has served as interim state long-term care ombudsman, supervising a team of long-term care ombudsmen and professional and support staff who advocate for the residents/tenants of Iowa?s nursing facilities, assisted living programs, long-term care facilities and elder group homes.

As state long-term care ombudsman, Pederson will continue to oversee that team while developing policies and procedures aimed at improving the lives of Iowa?s long-term care residents; recommending changes in laws and policies to benefit residents/tenants of long-term care; representing the office on issues of elder abuse, advocacy and residents? rights; and tracking data and monitoring trends to develop enhanced programming.

?Cindy brings a solid background of legal expertise and advocacy experience to this position and is very knowledgeable of the challenges and opportunities that surround today?s long-term living environment,? said Iowa Department on Aging Director Linda Miller. ?She is uniquely qualified to assist residents, families and staff members assess complex issues and identify practical solutions, and she will be an asset to every individual who lives in one of Iowa?s long-term care facilities.?

In Iowa, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is established within the Iowa Department on Aging under the Older Americans Act of 1965 and works to protect the rights of Iowa?s 54,000 long-term care residents by serving as a resource for answers regarding long-term care rules and rights; providing information, education, awareness and training about long-term care options and residents? rights; promoting policy changes to improve the quality of life for individuals in long-term care; and investigating complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents and tenants.