Spread the word » Facebook Twitter

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

November 29, 2011

Dr. Donald Berwick Resigns

The Consumer Voice would like to express its regret that CMS Acting Administrator Donald Berwick has resigned effective this Friday. Dr. Berwick had held the position on an interim appointment because he could not get enough Republican votes to assure Senate confirmation.

He took a strong personal interest in ending overmedication and the abuse of antipsychotics, including asking the nursing home and pharmaceutical industries to provide him with a plan of action to address misuse of antipsychotics and asking his staff to review recommendations submitted to him by the Consumer Voice, Center for Medicare Advocacy, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, Long Term Care Community Coalition, and Community Partnership for Improved Long-Term Care in Charlottesville, VA.  

The Obama Administration has nominated his deputy, Marilyn Tavenner, to head the office. Tavenner is a nurse and former official with the Hospital Corporation of American and Virginia secretary of health and human resources. For more information, read the New York Times article.

 Back to top

Consumer Voice's Sarah Wells Writes Blog for Family Caregiver Alliance

It can be hard to ask for help. I know this first-hand. I’m one of those people who tend to always say “yes”, never “no,” and really want to do things myself. I find it incredibly hard to imagine that someday I might need assistance with tasks like bathing, toileting and eating. I don’t even like to burden people now with requests to help me with my new baby (which is silly because everyone wants to hold that gorgeous girl!), let alone support me with such intimate functions of my daily life.

Though the reality is, most of us are going to need to ask for help some day. Also, many of us will be a helper too. My organization, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, represents people who need and access long-term services and supports (or long-term care as we call it). This year, we launched a new project to provide those who need help and those who are the helpers to navigate the complicated long-term care system. Called, “Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care: A Consumer’s Guide to Choices and Advocacy,” the publication is both a resource tool and an advocacy tool. Through this project, we set out to inform and to empower – helping consumers, families and caregivers to effectively advocate for quality care. Our goal is not to just help people find services, but to find quality services and to advocate for quality services.

Read the rest of the blog here...

Back to top

Death of Frank Williams, former Director of the NIA

Franklin Williams, M.D., a founding father of the field of geriatric medicine in the United States and a mentor and model for dozens of geriatricians, died at his home in Rochester, N.Y., Friday, Nov. 25, the day before what would have been his 90th birthday. The cause was complications from pneumonia.

Dr. Williams is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Carter Catlett Williams. A medical social worker, Carter Williams accompanied her husband on his trips around the world, gathering information on model approaches to aging, including Scandinavian nursing homes' homelike, restraint-free environment. Carter Williams' pioneering work has played a major role in reducing restraints in U.S. nursing homes and making quality of life an equal focus with quality of care in law and regulations.

Back to top

Study Says Largest For-Profit Chains Have Lower Quality

A new study says the largest for-profit nursing home chains, which control about 13 percent of nursing home beds, "deliver significantly lower quality of care because they typically have fewer staff nurses than non-profit and government-owned nursing homes." The study says the facilities have "the sickest residents" but 30 percent lower staffing hours, as well as "36 percent more deficiencies and 41 percent more serious deficiencies."  Read a press release about this issue. The study's author is Charlene Harrington of the University of California School of Nursing, a leading researcher on long-term care nursing and quality who is a member of the Consumer Voice Leadership Council.  For more information about this issue, email Janet Wells, Director of Public Policy. 

Consumer Voice Public Policy Resolutions Approved

Two public policy resolutions were approved unanimously by voting member groups of the Consumer Voice: 1) Support a Federal Requirement for Long-Term Care Pharmacist Independence from Conflict of Interest and 2) Request the Department of Health and Human Services to Address the Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes.

Back to top

Action Alert: Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

Ending overmedication of nursing home residents and halting the misuse of antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints are on top of the national advocacy agenda this week for the Consumer Voice and its members.

There are two ways for you to take action on this issue:

1. Attend or Watch the Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2 p.m. ET

Advocates in the Washington, DC, area are encouraged to attend the hearing, “Overprescribed: The Human and Taxpayers’ Costs of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes," in Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Others can watch the webcast.

2. Group Sign-On Letter on Long-Term Care Pharmacist Conflict of Interest - COMING SOON!

If you represent a consumer advocacy group, ombudsman program, or other organization, please watch for and sign on to this important letter. In the meantime, educate yourself and your colleagues about this issue -- visit our website (look under the section called "Pharmaceuticals") for more information on this topic.

Back to top

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.

You have received this e-mail through your subscription to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care's e-mail list.

Recipients of this e-mail include all state long-term care ombudsmen, Consumer Voice members and other individuals who have subscribed to our e-mail list.

If you did not subscribe, or would no longer like to receive e-mail updates, unsubscribe here.

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