Section 32. The ombudsman shall contract with a local ombudsman program to act on behalf of the ombudsman or his designee in the receipt, investigation and resolution through administrative action of complaints within a geographic area as defined by the ombudsman. The ombudsman shall contract with any public agency or private nonprofit organization which has the capability of performing the duties of an ombudsman; provided, however, that such designee shall not be an agency or organization responsible for licensing or certifying long term care facilities or an association or an affiliate or agent of an association of long term care facilities; and, provided further, that the ombudsman shall contract with, to the extent practicable, such agencies or organizations which have been established by local initiative for the purposes set forth in this chapter. Such local ombudsman programs shall operate in compliance with any rules and regulations established by the secretary for the implementation of the ombudsman program. The ombudsman shall contract with a local program in every area of the commonwealth; provided, however, that the ombudsman shall carry out the responsibilities of the local program in any area within which no local ombudsman program has been established.
The ombudsman shall, to the extent practicable, contract with agencies and organizations which agree to carry out such responsibilities on a volunteer basis.