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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

November 8, 2011

Consumer Voice Signs onto Letter Opposing Repeal of CLASS

The Consumer Voice signed on to a letter opposing repeal of the CLASS Act. Although the Administration has said it is actuarially unsound and that it will not implement it, congressional repeal would leave no vehicle for continuing the public discussion of how to pay for long term care in the face of growing need for a national plan to alleviate pressure on Medicaid.

The letter states:

"Every American family faces the reality that an accident or illness requiring long-term care could devastate them financially. This issue affects the constituents of every U.S. Senator. CLASS is an effort to be part of the solution. The CLASS actuarial report established that CLASS can still be designed to be a “value proposition,” although development work was still needed. The actuarial report also noted that federal actuaries “…agreed that certain plans, designed to mitigate the adverse selection risk…can be actuarially sound and attractive to the consumers.” Rather than repeal CLASS, we urge continued dialogue and development of a viable path forward. The need to address LTSS and how these services will be paid for in a way that is affordable to individuals and society as a whole will not go away.

 "Families will continue to need a workable LTSS option to protect themselves, and a path forward is essential because the need for these services will only continue to grow. We appreciate your consideration of our views that are based on the experiences of millions of families across this country. We urge you to reject proposals to repeal CLASS, and instead focus on a constructive path forward."

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Join Us Tomorrow for the First of Two Free Conference Calls for Residents

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is hosting two free national conference calls for residents of nursing homes. Residents can join the call on their own, with their resident council or with another group of residents using speakerphone! These calls are only open to nursing home residents. Participation is limited and is on a first come, first served basis.

Join us tomorrow
Wednesday, November 9th from 2-3pm ET!

Call 1: Advocacy Basics for Residents of Nursing Homes – November 9, 2011 from 2-3pm ET

This call will provide a basic overview of Residents’ Rights under federal law, the role of the long-term care ombudsman, how to file a complaint and ways residents can be involved in advocacy for quality of care and life in a nursing home.

To join this call, simply dial: (800) 936-4761
Click on the links below to access the call agenda and handouts:

Join us again on December 6, 2011 from 2-3pm ET for the second call, Resident-Directed Care. This call will provide basic information for residents looking to be their own health care advocate and will include information on individualized care planning and other ways residents can be involved as active participants in their health and care.

Please direct any questions to Alia Murphy, program and development assistant, at amurphy@theconsumervoice.org or 202-332-2275, ext. 222.

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Oregon Ombudsman Program and Volunteer Awarded

The Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer program was recently awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Outstanding Statewide Program. The award was presented to Mary Jaeger, State Ombudsman, at the Oregon Civic Engagement Conference November 4, 2011 at the Salem Conference Center.

The award was given based on how the program strengthened Oregon communities, measurable outcomes and improvements, community collaboration, and reflected a dedicated and sustained commitment of time and effort. By utilizing nearly 200 volunteers in a variety of roles, the small State staff of ten is able to provide a trained and skilled volunteer in nearly half of Oregon’s long-term care facilities to be a presence, voice, and advocate for over 43,000 long-term care residents throughout Oregon. In existence for more than thirty years in Oregon, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides a confidential and free service for all of Oregon’s residents.  For more information, read the press release.

Bill Bard of Southwest Portland was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteer at the Oregon Civic Engagement Conference on November 4, 2011 at the Salem Conference Center. The award is given based on four parameters – how Bard has strengthened Oregon his local community, shown measureable outcomes and improvements, included community collaboration, and shown a dedicated and sustained commitment of time and effort.   Bard was also the recipient of another award - the Howard Hinds Memorial Award at the 2011 Consumer Voice Leadership Awards Ceremony.  For more information, read the press release.

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Older Americans Act Reauthorization Principles Available Online

In anticipation of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act in 2011, the Administration (AoA) began early in 2010 to conduct an open process to solicit input from throughout the country. To that end, more than 60 listening sessions were held and online input was received that represented the interests of thousands of consumers of OAA services. The principles gathered from this input are now available on AoA’s website. Read the reauthorization principles.

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Consumer Voice Signs on to Letter to Super Committee

The Consumer Voice, along with many other organizations, have signed on to a letter urging Members of the Super Committee to reduce the federal deficit in a fair and balanced way that does not take away essential services from those who depend upon them - often for their most basic needs in life. These services - the majority of which are funded by Medicaid and the Older Americans Act - include long-term services and supports for individuals both at home and in nursing homes, ombudsman program services that advocate for quality care for nursing home residents, federal and state regulation and oversight of nursing homes, and more.

The letter states: “Cutting Medicaid will have a devastating effect on older adults and persons with disabilities. Currently Medicaid is the single largest source of long-term care coverage in the nation. Nearly three million seniors and people with disabilities receive Medicaid services that allow them to stay in their own home or community. At the same time 70% of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid to pay for facility care which costs $75,000 a year, or substantially more. Reducing Medicaid funding will make it harder for the elderly and people with disabilities to qualify for the nursing home benefits or home and community-based services they need.”

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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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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org