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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

April 17, 2012

Brief Detailing Characteristics of Residents of Residential Care Facilities Released

The Division of Health Care Statistics (DHCS) and the Long-Term Care Statistics Branch (LTCSB) recently released a data brief entitled “Residents Living in Residential Care Facilities in the United States: 2010.” The brief used data from the first nationally representative survey of residential care facilities (RCFs) with four or more beds to present national estimates of RCF residents by select resident characteristics. 

Some key findings include: Each day in 2010, there were 733,300 residents of RCFs nationwide. The majority of them were white and female, and more than half of them were 85 years old and older. Nearly two in ten residents were Medicaid beneficiaries.

Read the full report on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

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Home Health Face-to-Face Physician Requirement Challenges

As a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health providers are required to have a face-to-face meeting with patients as a Medicare payment requirement for home health and hospice care. The Face-to-Face requirement is intended to be a tool for reducing fraud, waste, and abuse by assuring that physicians or other healthcare providers have actually met with potential home health patients to ascertain their specific care needs. A major challenge facing beneficiaries is that some physicians find the certification requirement burdensome. The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) acknowledges that the requirement goes too far. Rather, CMA suggests that the requirement should be scaled back and should call for the physician to certify that he or she has had a face-to-face encounter with the Medicare beneficiary within a reasonable time frame.

For more information, visit CMA’s website.

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Grants Available for Michigan and Virginia Family Councils

The Consumer Voice is pleased to announce it is making pass-through grants available to independent family councils in Michigan and Virginia!

Independent family councils in nursing and skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities in Michigan and Virginia are invited to apply for funding to support family council activities, programming and other costs associated with running a family council. This is an opportunity for family councils to be creative, strengthen and empower their group!

Learn more and apply for a grant on the Consumer Voice website.

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Senator Kohl Holding Hearing on Cost Savings and Long-Term Care

This Wednesday Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) is holding a hearing entitled “The Future of Long-Term Care: Saving Money by Serving Seniors.” The hearing will focus on the long-term care system and opportunities for improving the quality of care while at the same time achieving significant cost savings.

Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing – The Future of Long-Term Care: Saving Money by Serving Seniors
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 2:00pm EST
Hart 216, Washington, DC

The hearing will also be webcast live from the committee webpage: www.aging.senate.gov. For more information, visit the committee’s website.

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Report Shows Gaps in Nursing Home Preparedness for Natural Disasters

A report released on Monday by the office of the Health and Human Services Department found that there are still gaps in nursing home preparedness and response in the event of a natural disaster. The report stated “Emergency plans lacked relevant information…Nursing homes faced challenges with unreliable transportation contracts, lack of collaboration with local emergency management, and residents who developed health problems.” The report goes on to recommend that in addition to the existing federal requirement that nursing homes have a plan in case of events like a hurricane, tornado or flood, Medicare and Medicaid should improve specific emergency planning and training steps.

For more information, read the Washington Post’s article.

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HHS Announces New Organization - Administration for Community Living

On Tuesday, Secretary Sebelius announced the creation of a new organization. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) will bring together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of those with functional needs into one coordinated entity. The ACL will bring together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that is focused on the unique needs of individual groups, such as children with developmental disabilities or seniors with dementia.

For more information, read the press release.

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Johnson & Johnson Fined for Downplaying Risks of Antipsychotic Drug

An Arkansas judged fined Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary more than $1.1 billion for downplaying and hiding risks associated with the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, a ruling that could affect dozens of pending lawsuits over the drug. Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug introduced in 1994, earned Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars in sales. In 2004, the FDA forced Johnson & Johnson to modify the drug’s labeling to show increased risk of strokes and death in elderly dementia patients, seizures, major weight gain, onset of diabetes and potentially fatal high blood sugar.

Many states have filed lawsuits making claims similar to those in Arkansas. A South Carolina judge fined Johnson & Johnson a civil penalty of $327 million. In Texas, a $158 million settlement with the company was reached in January.

For more information, read the Washington Post article.

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Materials Available from Managed Long-Term Services and Supports Webinar

Materials are now available from the last Friday Morning Collaborative webinar, Managed Long-Term Services and Supports: Overview of Key Issues and Guiding Principles. Access the recorded archive of the webinar and power point presentation on NCOA’s website.

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CMS Gives States Another Chance to Apply for Criminal Background Check Funds

Seventeen states are currently implementing national criminal background check programs to screen applicants for jobs in long-term care, and CMS recently announced it is giving remaining states another opportunity to apply for three-year grants. The deadline for applications is June 30.

The National Background Check Program was passed in the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and enables states to set up programs to check applicants for jobs with direct access to persons who receive long-term care at home or from nursing homes, home health agencies, hospice, LTC hospitals, ICF-MRs, and other entities. The federal government pays 75 percent of the states’ costs up to $1.5 million. 

CMS has solicited applications from states five times since 2010 and will post another request for proposals before the end of 2012. The states that have received grants are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.

For more information, see the following links.

National Background Check Program Sixth Solicitation (PDF, 446 KB) [PDF, 440KB]
National Background Check Program Memo (PDF, 82 KB) [PDF, 81KB]
National Background Check Program Solicitation FAQ - Updated 05/11/2011 (PDF, 327 KB) [PDF, 160KB]
Solicitation Deadline Extended [PDF, 123KB]

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Participate in Consumer Voice's May 4th Facebook First Friday - Topic: Elder Abuse

The first Friday of every month, the Consumer Voice hosts “Facebook First Friday,” a lively and interactive discussion on various long-term services and supports topics; please join us for our next Facebook First Friday, taking place May 4th on the topic of elder abuse. Elder abuse is a challenging and important issue for discussion; the Consumer Voice hears about concerns of abuse through our daily work with consumers, family members, ombudsmen and other advocates, and we are specifically involved in work to reduce abuse as part of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) Information Clearinghouse.

In August 2011, the Consumer Voice was named a sub-grantee of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as part of the NCEA Information Clearinghouse. Throughout the three-year grant, the Consumer Voice is developing educational resources (i.e. webinars, factsheets, etc.) for consumers, family members, ombudsmen and other advocates to raise awareness of elder abuse and increase and enhance prevention, intervention and response efforts. We encourage you to join the May 4th Facebook First Friday conversation to share your experiences and ideas on the topic. The conversation is open to the public; anyone can pose questions or comments on our Facebook page.

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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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