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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

May 8, 2012

The Consumer Voice Introduces Two New Staff Members

It is with great pleasure and excitement that the Consumer Voice would like to announce the addition of two new members to the team! We received nearly 200 applications from across the country, conducted 21 first-round phone interviews and 7 second in-person interviews to reach our final decision.

Marybeth Williams – Public Policy Associate

Marybeth comes to the Consumer Voice with three years of experience on the Hill in a variety of legislative positions in two different Congressional offices. In her most recent role, she managed the Congressman’s health and senior issue portfolios and was the lead staffer on bipartisan legislation introduced concerning specialty medications in Medicare Part D. She managed outreach to outside patient advocacy and health organizations on that piece of legislation, secured more than thirty other representatives as original co-sponsors of this legislation and prepared letters to CMS. Furthermore, her most recent legislative initiative involved drafting legislation that would provide medical schools with grants through the Higher Education Act to establish elder abuse prevention and treatment programs for students training to become primary care physicians. In 2009, she was named a “Rising Star on the Hill” alongside other influential female Congressional staffers.

Sara Cirba – Advocacy and Development Associate

Sara received her law degree in 2010 with a concentration in health law, following several years of work as a paralegal. Most recently, she finished a prestigious legislative fellowship with the New York State Legislature. Furthermore, Sara gained a diverse set of experiences in the legal and health policy arenas working with the New York State Health Insurance Department and through interning on the Hill since she’s moved to Washington, DC. Sara’s proudest accomplishment was her coordination of a NY State Reproductive Rights and Health Information Fair, where she did significant outreach with advocates and secured support of a bipartisan group of state legislators committed to women’s health.

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Study Finds that Scarcity of Caregivers May Cause More Deaths Among Elderly

Research conducted a decade ago found that mortality rates actually increased when employment rates increased. A new analysis by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College sought to identify the cause of this phenomenon. The study came to the conclusion that “an expanding economy generates a greater scarcity of front-line caregivers in nursing homes, which may cause more deaths among the elderly…Rising mortality during good economic times is largely driven by additional deaths among people over age 65 in nursing homes, particularly women.”

For more information, read the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Toby Edelman’s report on the study.

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AARP Joins Lawsuit Accusing California Nursing Home of Unlawful Antipyschotic Drug Use

The AARP has joined a class-action lawsuit accusing a California nursing home of using antipsychotic drugs without the informed consent of residents or family members. Lawyers from AARP will serve as co-counsel in the case. California state law requires nursing homes to confirm that a doctor has received a patient’s or family member’s consent, the lawsuit maintains that the nursing home did not acquire such consent.

For more information, read the article in the Ventura County Star.

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Resident Evicted After Speaking About Neglect on TV

A Texas resident of a group home will be evicted after she appeared on a television news broadcast and spoke of neglect at the facility. Her accusations were substantiated by the state. Texas State Ombudsman Patty Ducayet says that the resident could appeal her eviction, but the proceedings and its findings are controlled by the facility. 

“As an advocate I think that is a real weakness when it comes to protecting the rights of people who live in assisted living facilities. This is specifically something that ombudsmen really want to see changed…so that there is some real protection for somebody being threatened with discharge,” said Ducayet in an article on the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS affiliate’s website.

For more information, read the CBS News article.

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New Website is a Resource for Volunteer Management

A new website, www.agingnetworkvolunteers.org, is a great resource for volunteer management. The National Volunteer Resource Center for Engaging Volunteers in the Aging Network (the Resource Center, for short) will share the latest updates about volunteering by older adults and effective practices and tools on volunteering and serve as the central place for sharing the most effective practices and tools across the Aging Services Network. The Resource Center is also offering a free webinar series beginning in May.

For more information, visit the Resource Center’s website.

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Caring Across Generations Holding Informational Meetings in Washington, DC

Caring Across Generations is holding an informational meeting and a legislative Town Hall meeting in May. On May 14th, the meeting will provide more information on the campaign’s policy recommendations to create new quality jobs and to make home and community based services more accessible and affordable.

Monday, May 14, 2012
10:00am-11:00am EST
SVC 201, Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, DC

On May 21st, a legislative Town Hall meeting will allow constituents to share their personal stories about the importance of long-term care funding and the need for a complete legislative answer.

Monday, May 21 2012
11:00am-12:00pm EST
902 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC

For more information and to RSVP email Christina Weaver at cweaver@rabengroup.com

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Obama Administration Funds Health Care Initiative in Oregon

The Obama administration has tentatively agreed to give $1.9 million in funding over five years for a health care initiative in Oregon. The initiative would invest in preventive care to keep patients healthy so they don’t need expensive hospitalizations. “If this works, I think other states are going to be looking at this as a way to manage that patient population, “said Gov. John Ktzhaber (D).

For more information, read the article in the Washington Post.

CA SLTCO Supports Bill

California State Ombudsman Joseph Rodrigues announced his support for SB 345 last week. SB 345 aligns state and federal law regarding the ombudsman’s office which will emphasize the ombudsman’s ability to advocate on behalf of long-term care recipients. “If we have these requirements in state law, it removes any doubt that the State Ombudsman can do his job,” said Rodrigues.

Karen Jones, director of San Luis Obispo County Long Term Care Ombudsman Services, said, “When you think of the state ombudsman, that should be the great advocate. It’s about the office. The state ombudsman needs to be the loudest and best advocate of all.”

For more information, visit NORC's website.

Take Action! Tell Your Representative to Vote NO to Funding Cuts for Essential Programs!

A bill that is expected to reach the House floor on Thursday will cut programs for low-income people like children, families, seniors and people with disabilities. The bill will cut $261 billion over 10 years, hurting people who receive food stamps, free school meals for low-income children, and people who depend on Medicaid or subsidies to help pay their health insurance premiums. Plus, abused or neglected children and seniors will lose essential care and protection. This bill would eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) – a major source of funding for adult protective services as well as community services for APS clients.

Take Action!
Contact your representative now and urge him/her to say NO to these cuts!

For more information, read this article about the cuts.

Global Health Care Company to Pay $1.5 Billion for Criminal and Civil Liability

Global Health Care Company Abbott Laboratories Inc. pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle criminal and civil liability resulting from the company’s illegal promotion of the prescription drug Depakote for uses not approved by the FDA. This resolution is the second largest payment ever by a drug company. “Today’s settlement shows further evidence of our deep commitment to public health and our determination to hold accountable those who commit fraud. We are resolute in stopping this type of activity and today’s settlement sends a strong message to other companies,” said James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General.

For more information, read the press release.

New Resources Available from CMS

In a recent conference call, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided several resources about the new Section 1115.

CMCS Informational Bulletin – April 27, 2012 – Affordable Care Act Section 1115 Demonstration Transparency Rules

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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