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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

February 21, 2012

Will the Nation Go Broke Paying for Senior Housing and Long-Term Care?

A recent article from Senior Housing News asked “Will the nation go broke paying for senior housing and long-term care?” The costs of long-term care are steadily rising while government benefits programs are dwindling, and a recent study showed that seniors aren’t financially prepared for long-term care costs. Nearly half of the oldest baby boomers are thought to be “at risk” of not having enough resources to pay for “basic” retirement expenditures. Meanwhile, costs of long-term care continue to rise. Nursing home care costs an average of $87, 235 a year. These issues are compounded by reports that two key government programs, Social Security and Medicare, are dwindling and would be exhausted faster than previously expected.

These issues bring up lingering questions about retirees and the senior living industry. How will upcoming generations of retirees be able to afford their long-term care costs? How will facilities combat further cuts to Medicare, and state shortfalls for Medicaid matching?

For more information, read the full article.

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LTCC Materials Help Consumers Participate in Medicaid Reimbursement Policymaking

The Long Term Care Community Coalition has completed a study, conducted with the University of Massachusetts, that produced a series of webinars to help consumers across the country understand Medicaid reimbursement and participate in reimbursement policymaking in their states. The LTCCC did a special presentation on the project in conjunction with the Consumer Voice’s conference in Grand Rapids last October, and the LTCCC website includes a series of webinars on the material they presented.

Materials on the website include:

(1) A Primer for Consumer Involvement in Medicaid Nursing Facility Reimbursement: Lessons from New York and Minnesota

(2) Consumer Involvement in Medicaid Nursing Facility Reimbursement: Lessons from New York and Minnesota for State Policymakers

(3) Final Report: Increasing Consumer Involvement in Medicaid Nursing Facility Reimbursement: Lessons from New York and Minnesota

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Two Presidential Candidates Respond to Survey on Long-Term Care But Many Stay Silent

Tell your family, friends and colleagues that voters deserve to hear the candidates engage in a dialogue about an issue so central to the future of our country and the lives of millions of individuals and families!!

Send a postcard (for free!) through the Consumer Voice website!

Every day, over 10 million frail seniors, younger people with disabilities, and their families struggle to find and pay for long-term care to stay independent and remain at home, and the need for care is expected to grow to over 15 million Americans by 2020.

Yet, the issue of long-term care has been completely absent from this year’s presidential campaign. No questions have been asked during the debates. The candidates have not posted any views or positions on their websites, and only two candidates have responded to a national survey on their views to address this growing national challenge.

To help raise this critical issue among the presidential candidates, 15 national aging and disability organizations, including the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, invited each candidate to answer five questions about their views on long-term care. The questionnaire was distributed in November to all major candidates for President, regardless of political party affiliation.

So far, only two presidential candidates—Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich—have responded to the questionnaire.

For more information, visit the Consumer Voice's website.

Read the questionnaire and responses from President Obama and Newt Gingrich.

Send a postcard (for free!) through the Consumer Voice website!

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House Bill in Kentucky would Victimize Nursing Home Residents

House Bill 361 in Kentucky would victimize abused or neglected nursing home residents. The legislation would create “medical review panels” that would make it harder for residents and their families to go to court when residents are abused or neglected. These panels would be made up of three doctors who would review written statements from both sides and decide if the evidence indicates that the nursing home violated care standards. They would not talk to any witnesses. If members of the panel determine that the nursing home did follow the standards, their decision can be used against the resident in the trial.

The Consumer Voice sent out an Action Alert urging Kentuckians to send a letter to the Kentucky House Standing Committee on Health and Welfare telling them to stop House Bill 361. In response, over 1500 messages were sent to 16 key legislators in Kentucky.

If you live in Kentucky, take action now on this important issue.

For more information on this issue, read Nancy Trentham’s guest column in the Lexington Herald.

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Protect the Older Americans Act

Each day, more than 13 million older adults struggle just to pay for food, medicine, and a place to live. Older Americans Act (OAA) programs – meals, preventative services, senior centers, caregiver support, job training, and more – help these vulnerable seniors avoid financial crisis.

With Congress debating OAA reauthorization and funding this fall, now is the time to protect the Act for today’s seniors and strengthen it for tomorrow. Ask your members of Congress to show their support for the OAA!

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Senate Aging Committee Director Whitman Takes AARP Policy Job

Debra Whitman, staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will become executive vice president for policy at AARP April 16. Whitman has headed the committee during its oversight of numerous issues critical to long-term care residents, including nursing home transparency, misuse of antipsychotic drugs, and assisted living quality. She was a plenary speaker at the 2010 Consumer Voice conference in Orlando.

For more information, read the press release.

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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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