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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

September 6, 2012

Remembering Governing Board Member Marilyn Thomas

The Consumer Voice was saddened to hear of the passing of Governing Board Member, Marilyn Thomas. Marilyn was a nursing home resident in Dodge City, Kansas. She came to know the Consumer Voice through participation in a number of events, such as our resident conference call series, resident’s rights month activities and other programs. Marilyn once said, “The Consumer Voice is important to me because after being in a nursing home for seven years I have become deeply interested in seeing residents treated fairly.” On behalf of the organization, we send our condolences to Marilyn’s family and friends and will miss her passion for quality of care for consumers.

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Remembering Consumer Advocate Gilbert Cruz

The Consumer Voice is saddened by the passing of Gilbert Cruz. He began his career in 1998 in a long-term care facility in Richmond, Kansas. After working in several other long-term care facilities, he was appointed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the Kansas State Long-Term Care Ombudsman in 2006. Cruz served as vice-chair of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Health Care Association, co-founder of the Indigent Transportation Program for Community Health Coalition, founded the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and Professionals, Chamber’s Multicultural Task Force, and GCCC Nursing Advisory Board. Gilbert Cruz’s commitment to consumer advocacy will be remembered.

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Consumer Voice Signs On to Letter with Public Citizen to Federal Trade Commission on Deceptive Advertising of Bed Rails

Consumer Voice was pleased to sign on to a letter by Public Citizen, a leading national non-profit consumer advocacy organization, to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the deceptive advertising used by Bed Handles, Inc. to market its Bedside Assistant bed handles. In its advertising, Bed Handles, Inc. marketed these products as "[making] any bed a safer bed," despite the fact that they pose risks of injury to consumers and have been responsible for at least four adult deaths. Click here to read the letter sent by Public Citizen and Consumer Voice to the FTC on this matter.

Our organization looks forward to continuing to work with Public Citizen to bring greater national attention to the issue of bed rail safety. As you may know, Consumer Voice has been a leader in advocating for federal adult bed rail safety standards. To read more about bed rail safety and to view testimony given by our Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Robyn Grant, on this issue to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, click here.

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Webinar Introducing a "Readiness Assessment Guide for Volunteer Engagement" Available

The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative recently hosted a webinar titled, “Are You Ready? Readiness Assessment Guide for Your Agency’s Volunteer Engagement.” The webinar focuses on preparing your agency for the “next generation” of volunteers as baby boomers often have skills and experience that could be maximized in their volunteer position. Since this generation of volunteers may have different motivations and personal goals for volunteering than previous generations of volunteers, the webinar introduces three stages to engage the new volunteer workforce: READY- learning and change, SET- structure set and plans laid, and GO- implement strategy and plan. The webinar also shares the four dimensions of organizational readiness in order to assist you in preparing to recruit and engage the “next generation” of volunteers. Use the following link to access the webinar PowerPoint, supporting materials and register to receive announcements of upcoming training opportunities and resources: http://agingnetworkvolunteercollaborative.org/resources/1380/

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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $181 Million Settlement for Consumer Fraud Claims

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $181 million to settle consumer fraud claims that it improperly marketed its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, for unapproved uses. Funds will be divided among 36 states and the District of Columbia. The company has also been targeted for separate but similar allegations, including improperly promoting the drug for use in nursing homes. Though the company says the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, it says it will not promote any of its newer antipsychotics for off-label uses or make any false or misleading claims related to those products.

For more information, read the article in the Chicago Tribune.

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Brief Released on Healthcare Costs and Utilization of Services by Self-Neglecting Elderly People

The National Adult Protective Services Resource Center, in conjunction with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, released a new Research to Practice (R2P) Brief. The brief, entitled “Healthcare costs and utilization of vulnerable elderly people reported to Adult Protective Services for self-neglect,” retrospectively examined the costs of providing care to self-neglecting individuals before APS intervention and referral to a geriatrics team versus a control group of non-self-neglecting individuals who also received care from the team. The study found that the self-neglect group had higher rates of diagnoses of depression and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Before referral to the team, the self-neglect group used health care services at a lower rate, but after referral, the self-neglect group used services at about the same rate and costs as the non-self-neglect group.

Read the report at apsnetwork.org.

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September 25th is National Voter Registration Day

Every election year, millions of Americans do not vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Register to vote and encourage long-term care consumers to register. 

Register to vote on September 25th as a part of National Voter Registration Day by visiting nationalvoterregistrationday.org or visit registertovote.org to use their easy three step process to register.

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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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