We are writing to commend The Post for its editorial {Dec. 9} calling for the strengthening of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in Washington. As the authors of legislation to improve the ombudsman program, which was incorporated in the "Older Americans Act Amendments of 1987," we are pleased to see The Post's recognition of this vital program that assists frail and vulnerable residents of long-term-care facilities such as nursing homes. Readers may be interested to know that these amendments were recently enacted as Public Law 100-175.

The new law requires states, as well as the District, to ensure that a wide range of duties and protections are in place for their ombudsman programs. In addition to ensuring that ombudsmen have access to facilities and records, the provisions also require immunity for good-faith performance of duties and adequate availability of legal counsel. Also, under the new provisions, interference with performance of official duties is prohibited, as is retaliation against those who provide information to ombudsmen. Ombudsman programs are now further required to provide recommendations for legislative and policy changes to improve the quality of care and life in long-term-care facilities.

As a result of these amendments, states will have to use their legislative or regulatory processes to implement some of the new requirements. We are pleased that the D.C. Council is beginning this effort.

JOHN GLENN U.S. Senator (D-Ohio)

DON BONKER U.S. Representative (D-Wash.) Washington