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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

August 21, 2012

Participate in CMS Open Door Forum on Long-Term Care Issues, Thursday, August 23

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting another Skilled Nursing Facilities / Long-Term Care Open Door Forum, conducted via conference call, on Thursday, August 23rd from 2 pm to 3 pm ET. The purpose of the forum is to promote open dialogue between CMS and key players in the long-term care community on important issues and concerns.

For Thursday’s scheduled event, CMS will be discussing the following topics:

SNF Notice
MDS Manual Update
Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes State Coalition Calls (part of CMS’s antipsychotic campaign)
MDS Version 3.0 Frequency Report

There will also be time for questions from participants after these agenda items are discussed. This is a great opportunity to receive feedback from CMS on nursing home issues you care about! 

You do not need to RSVP for Thursday’s open door forum. The call-in information is included below:

Conference Call #: 1-800-837-1935
Reference Conference ID # (which you will be asked to enter): 76251655
CMS recommends calling into the conference call 15 minutes prior to 2 pm ET.

More details are included in the full agenda (such as speakers, order of topics, information on how to access a recording of the forum) available here.

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Ohio Offers Incentives to Nursing Homes to Encourage Better Services

For years, states have struggled to improve the quality of care in nursing homes by using penalties like citations, fines and sanctions when serious problems are found. Ohio has recently adopted a distinctly different approach by using financial incentives that promote better services. Under Ohio’s new approach, almost 10% of the Medicaid payments to nursing homes will depend on factors including residents’ satisfaction, frequency of medical complications and the amount of nurses on staff. Some approaches similar to this have been short-lived, but this may indicate design deficiencies rather than the failure of the underlying concept.

For more information, read more on NORC's website.

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Film Exposes Problem of Financial Elder Abuse

A new documentary by Terra Nova Films entitled “Last Will & Embezzlement” exposes the problem of financial elder abuse. This film highlights two stories of exploitation including that of Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney who lost millions of dollars to a family member. It shows why many older adults fall victim, tactics used to victimize seniors and ways families and professionals can protect older adults.

For more information, visit www.terranova.org.

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Reminder: National Memory Screening Day is November 13th

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is supporting National Memory Screening Day on November 13, an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in which qualified healthcare professionals at local sites nationwide provide free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to the public. The face-to-face screening is administered by a qualified healthcare professional (e.g., physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists); consists of a series of questions and tasks; and takes about five to ten minutes. Screening sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, assisted living residences, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, senior centers, Ys, libraries, pharmacies and other community venues. The screening results do not represent a diagnosis; individuals with below-normal scores or those who still have concerns are encouraged to pursue further medical evaluation. To sign up as a screening site or for more information, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org or call 866-AFA-8484.

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Medicare.gov Unveils Redesign

Medicare.gov has unveiled its redesign, making content more user-friendly and simpler for beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to understand. On the new site, the most frequently accessed content is available directly from the homepage. Features include: a search feature for whether a particular test, item or service is covered under original Medicare; the ability to get personalized information based on a beneficiary’s specific situation; and links to replace a lost Medicare card, find a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan, and get help with health care costs.

For a visual explanation of the new features, view this document provided by CMS. To start using the new features, go to www.Medicare.gov.

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Former Consumer Voice President Norma Atteberry Provides Comments to HHS

The Consumer Voice was pleased to have Norma H. Atteberry, R.N. B.S., longtime consumer advocate and former President of the Consumer Voice Governing Board, provide comments on behalf of our organization to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the proposed Long-Term Care chapter in its five-year National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections: Roadmap to Elimination. Ms. Atteberry, a professional knowledgeable on the issue of healthcare-associated infections and an important member of the aging advocacy network, was given the opportunity to review this chapter, along with other key long-term care stakeholders, before its publication. To read the feedback she submitted on behalf of the Consumer Voice, please click here. Ms. Atteberry also participated in HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion/Office of Healthcare Quality stakeholders meeting, held on Friday, August 17th, to specifically discuss the Long-Term Care chapter of the administration’s action plan.

The Consumer Voice commends the Department of Health and Human Services for its commitment to preventing the spread of healthcare-associated infections in long-term care settings and will continue to monitor the development of the Long-Term Care chapter of its action plan closely as it awaits publication. Furthermore, we would like to express our gratitude to Norma for her willingness to lend her expertise on this matter.

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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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