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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

October 31, 2012

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy - Highlight on Emergency Preparedness

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we'd like to take the opportunity to let you know that the members of Consumer Voice staff are safe and sound, and we hope all of you are too!

We'd like to point out a number of resources concerning emergency preparedness that may be useful to you and your loved ones - especially in light of the aftermath of the storm for those of us on the east coast:

1.) Identifying Vulnerable Older Adults and Legal Options for Increasing Their Protection During All-Hazards Emergencies

This guide was released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and provides examples from states, communities, and existing programs that demonstrate practical options for addressing the gaps in preparedness planning. These examples cover topics such as developing plans for rural areas, building community partnerships, leveraging the influence of area agencies on aging, and using technology to plan for older adults' needs. These examples also serve as models for action and highlight existing resources that might be helpful to professionals working with vulnerable older adults.

Developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), these checklists are designed to help individuals or organizations be better equipped for handling emergency situations when they arise by identifying how they can prepare in advance and steps to take once an emergency situation occurs.

This National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care fact sheet is intended to provide consumers with information related to emergency planning. A nursing home, assisted living, or other long-term care facility should have a comprehensive emergency plan. Consumers - including residents and their families - should inquire about the facility's emergency preparedness and evacuation plans.

This useful tool and poster on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website provides contact information for federal programs, including mental health services, and pull down lists with contact numbers for state administered programs TANF, Medicaid and SCHIP

We hope that you find these resources helpful and that everyone in the path of this storm stayed safe!

Advocates Across the Country Make Residents' Rights Month a Success!

October 2012 has been a very successful Residents' Rights Month. Advocates across the country have held events to celebrate residents' rights. Highlights include:

  • Residents' Rights Month proclamations have been made in Kentucky, Delaware, Ohio, and New Mexico and by many other state and local governments across the country.
  • Articles on Residents' Rights Month were featured in Radio Iowa, KY Forward, The Daily News in Kentucky, and many other advocates sent articles and letters to their local newspapers.
  • Many ombudsman programs and other advocates held celebratory events. Read about local and state events here.
  • Residents across the country shared their thoughts and stories about voting and the political process in the Resident's Voice.

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Residents' Rights Month Products Still Available

Do you need a volunteer ombudsman appreciation gift? Do you want to thank an advocate who has helped you or who you work with? Do you want something to have around your home or office as a reminder of residents' voting rights this election season?

Residents' Rights Month products are still available! Visit the Consumer Voice store to order a mouse pad, mug or poster now!

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November's Facebook First Friday - We're Discussing Medicare and Medicaid

Facebook First Friday is a fun and interactive way to chat monthly with advocates, consumers and others about hot topics in long-term care. To get involved in the discussion, head to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theconsumervoice and “Like” our page. You can check in throughout the day to comment on our wall. Feel free to jump into one of the questions we pose, pose your own question, or just observe.

The Consumer Voice will hold their next Facebook First Friday on November 2, 2012 from 9:00-3:00 pm ET. November's topic will focus on a major, front and center topic of this Presidential election - Medicare and Medicaid. After the election, policy issues related to Medicare and Medicaid will be a priority for either administration, with differing approaches. Throughout the day we'll discuss Medicare and Medicaid as it relates to long-term care consumers, as well as what's most important to you on these issues.

Until then, please spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues about our monthly events so that we can continue to grow this wonderful dialogue!

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Residents Share Stories About Voting

As a part of Residents’ Rights Month, the Consumer Voice held the annual Resident’s Voice Challenge where residents from across the country submitted stories, artwork, poems, videos and photos representing this year’s theme. We received many thoughtful responses which can be viewed on our website.

Alice Mawson, resident of Bergen Regional Medical Center Long-Term Care in Paramus, NJ, shared her memories of the first time she voted and what she thinks it means to be politically active:

"I think the most memorable election I voted in was my first election right after I turned eighteen. I remember rushing my father to go with me when I got home from school… I think it was so important to me because this meant that I had grown into being an active part of making decisions not only in my community, but in the state, federal government, regulations, laws and leadership.

I think to be politically active is not only to vote, but politically active is to know what is going on in your community, state and federal government. Although your voting is very important, you also need to read about or attend community meetings, rallies, debates and forums on issues that affect you, your family, community and friends. I have, and you can also write letters or sign petitions to your community, state and federal leaders. If you happen to be computer-literate you can email, text, twitter and some even have a Facebook page. It has become so easy not only for you to contact/connect to your leaders, it is so easy for them to let you know their opinions and where they stand on issues."

To read Alice's full story and to view more submissions to Resident's Voice, visit the Consumer Voice's website.

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ALCA Hosts Webinar on Medicare and Medicaid

On October 30, the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance held an excellent webinar, “Integrating Medicare and Medicaid: What’s Happening Now, and What It Means for Assisted Living and Other LTSS” presented by Georgia Burke and Eric Carlson, both with the National Senior Citizens Law Center. During the webinar, the dual integration process was explained, as was how the new systems could affect long-term services and supports. At the state and federal levels, consumer advocacy will be vital in assuring that the new systems fulfill their potential and properly protect consumers’ rights to quality health care. To download the webinar recording and powerpoint, go to: http://www.assistedlivingconsumers.org/webinars/digest.2012-10-09.3141001952/

NSCLC has started a website www.dualsdemoadvocacy.org which tracks the state Dual Integration Projects and provides resources for advocates.

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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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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org