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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

October 27, 2011

Senator Franken Introduces Legislation to Protect Minnesota's Seniors

US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a bill, endorsed by the Consumer Voice, to protect Minnesota seniors who receive long-term services and supports in their homes and communities by guaranteeing them basic rights and protection from abuse and neglect. The Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act would direct states to develop a Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights, establish a voluntary Home Care Ombudsman Program and develop quality standards for home and community-based services.

The Consumer Voice reviewed and submitted comments on Senator Franken’s bill. Our comments were based on our experience and knowledge of long-term care ombudsman programs, recent research we conducted on existing home care ombudsman programs and information gained from home care consumers. Many of our comments were used to revise the bill language to better protect consumers. For more information, read Senator Franken’s press release.

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SAGE Receives Contract to Create Country's First LGBT Senior Center

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg along with the NYC Department for the Aging announced that Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) was awarded an Innovative Senior Center contract to open the nation’s first full-time center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults. The Center, slated to open in January 2012, will include program sites in all five NYC boroughs – bringing a comprehensive array of services and support to LGBT elders throughout the city. It will also offer hot meals, programs covering issues like health and wellness and workplace skills, and a wide range of social activities.

 "SAGE is honored to have this opportunity to strengthen the programs and services we offer to address the unique needs of LGBT older people in New York City," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "Opening The SAGE Center has been our dream for many years. We are thrilled to be part of a bold initiative that emphasizes innovation in aging services; SAGE is committed to building program models that can be replicated in New York City and nationwide."  For more information, visit SAGE's website.

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Report Indicates that Black Nursing Home Residents Remain Less Likely than Whites to Receive Flu Vaccine

Health Affairs, a leading peer-reviewed health policy journal, has released a report indicating that black nursing home residents remain less likely than whites to receive the flu vaccination. Using data from 2006-2009, the report found a small improvement in vaccination rates among nursing home residents, particularly for blacks. However, overall vaccination rates remained well below the 90 percent target for high-quality care, and black nursing home residents remained less likely to be vaccinated than whites. 

Blacks were less likely to be vaccinated than were whites in the same facility and were more likely to live in facilities with lower vaccination rates. Blacks were also more likely to be noted as refusing vaccination. The report advised that strategies are needed to ensure that facilities offer vaccination to all residents and to make vaccination more acceptable to black residents and their families.  For more information, read the full report.

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End "Observation Status": Tell Congress to Support the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2011

“Observation status” refers to the increasingly common hospital practice of putting patients in beds and providing them with medical and nursing care but referring to them as outpatients, not inpatients. The difference in terminology is important because inpatients qualify for Medicare coverage of their nursing home care following a hospital stay while outpatients do not.

Tell your member of Congress that you support the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2011 (H.R. 1543 and S. 818) which will ensure a full and fair Medicare program for today and tomorrow.

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National Family Caregivers Month 2011 Theme is Identifying Family Caregivers

The National Family Caregivers’ Association (NFCA) has established Identifying Family Caregivers as the theme for National Family Caregivers Month 2011. This November, NFCA wants to make patient and family centered care the norm in America. 

Despite the huge role family caregivers’ play in the care of their loved ones, despite the fact that family caregivers are the only people consistently present across all of their loved ones’ care settings, family caregivers are invisible in American healthcare. The problem does not require legislative action; rather it can be addressed by having a space on all medical intake forms and electronic medical records to capture information on who is or who has a family caregiver. One form at a time can make a difference and gain recognition for the important job of being a family caregiver. For more information, visit NFCA's website.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to swells@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2011.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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