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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

March 12, 2013

Kansas Advocates Fight for Minimum Staffing Standard

Kansans for Better Care (KABC) has been actively campaigning to pass a bill, HB 2348, that would raise Kansas’s minimum staffing standard to 4.26 hour per resident per day over the course of three years. The current Kansas minimum standard is 1.85 average hours per resident per day, which was put in place roughly 30 years ago and is significantly below the minimum 4.1 hours per resident per day recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) study. The legislation would also enact a civil monetary penalty for every subsequent day in which a nursing home fails to adhere to this standard following a correction order.

On February 26th, Mitzi McFatrich, KABC Executive Director and Consumer Voice Leadership Council member, testified before the Kansas State Legislature’s House Children and Seniors Committee in support of the bill. Ms. McFatrich highlighted the harm nursing homes resident are subject to due to poor staffing, as well as the cost-savings that could be achieved from increasing the ratio of daily nursing care to residents. To read her testimony, click here. KABC has also produced a PowerPoint presentation on the bill and the need for increased staffing, as well as a list of all KS nursing homes, their deficiencies with detail about immediate jeopardy and actual harm citations, and the most recent staffing data they provided to the KS Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Although this legislation was tabled by the committee (members expressed needing more time to understand the issues at hand), it may potentially be considered during this session of the legislature under other means. Furthermore, the committee will likely hold an interim hearing for further discussion concerning the bill. Consumer Voice applauds the efforts of KABC and other advocates to establish a much improved minimum staffing standard.

Mitzi McFatrich Receives Open and Accessible Government Award

Mitzi McFatrich has been named this year's recipient of the Lawrence-Douglas County League of Women Voters' annual Helen Fluker Open and Accessible Government Award.  The award is given each year to recognize an individual promoting open and accessible government on all levels.  As Executive Director of KABC, Mitzi works on issues such as long-term care and elder abuse.  She also works with groups such as the Douglas County Coalition on Aging and Kaw Valley OWL.  She helps coordinate the annual legislative forum on senior issues, provides legislative progress reports and assists seniors in participating in the governmental process.

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Paul Ryan Released House Republicans' Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Today, March 12th, Chairman and Former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan released the House Republicans’ proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014, entitled The Path to Prosperity. This plan, which can be read here, regrettably raises the same concerns as previous budget proposals put forth by Chairman Ryan. The provisions of this proposal – which again include the transformation of Medicaid into a block-grant program and Medicare into a voucher system, as well as extensive tort reform – pose particular risk to long-term care consumers. Stay tuned for further information regarding the 2014 budgetary proposals as the Consumer Voice continues to review the impact such plans would have on access to, and the quality and affordability of, long-term care.

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OMB Reviewing ACL's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for States' Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

Last Friday, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) made a critical step forward in the rulemaking process announcing that HHS had transmitted, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing, ACL’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for States’ Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs.

 Since 1992, the functions of these programs have been statutorily delineated in 42 U.S.C. 3058g, but regulations were never promulgated. With no official regulatory guidance, there has been substantial variation from state to state in interpreting and putting these provisions into practice, as well as challenges in determining state compliance with the program.

 The federal rulemaking process is very complex, so there are many procedural and administrative requirements with which HHS still must comply before the NPRM may be published in the Federal Register. Over the next months, ACL will respond to any comments and questions from OMB, and, assuming any outstanding issues are resolved, the NPRM could be published in the Federal Register later this year.

 For more information about the NPRM, click here.

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Sequester Tables for AoA Programs Available Online

Sequester Tables for Administration on Aging Programs are available online. Several PDFs are available including tables showing the amount of Federal grant funds, provided to each state, under Title III of the Older Americans Act – Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging.

View all of the tables.

View the Administration for Community Living Estimates of Sequester Impact for State Formula Grant Programs Under the Older Americans Act.

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Genesis to Enhance Care for Deaf Individuals As Part of Settlement Agreement

As a part of a recent settlement agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, Genesis HealthCare will enhance care for deaf individuals, including providing interpreters. The agreement lays out action points that Genesis must adopt at all of its skilled nursing and assisted living facilities including notifying deaf residents that aids and services, including interpreters, are available.

For more information, read the article in McKnight’s.

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Webinar on Modernizing Your Volunteer Program

Join us to discuss recruitment, training and retention strategies to help you attract and retain “today’s” volunteer as well as find out what it means to "modernize" your program. We will review current volunteer demographics, why volunteers serve, what volunteers want from their experience and how to best utilize their time, skills and expertise.

Your colleagues from three LTCO programs will share their experience regarding a variety of volunteer management practices that help them recruit, train and retain volunteers, including the following:

  • Successful recruitment using traditional approaches and free, online resources
  • The value of assessing your program and conducting volunteer satisfaction surveys
  • Working with volunteers that are employed full-time
  • How to match a volunteer’s skills, knowledge and experience with their role and responsibilities
  • Creative uses of technology to enhance training and communication

This webinar is for Ombudsmen that manage volunteers. Space is limited, so register today! If you have any questions, please email Amity Overall-Laib at aoveralllaib@theconsumervoice.org.

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FTC Warns of Scheme Related to the Affordable Care Act

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently heard about a scheme related to the Affordable Care Act. Scammers are calling consumers and asking them to provide personal information in order to receive a (nonexistent) national medical card from the government. These types of scams are expected to appear more frequently as the public starts to hear more about health care reform.

For more information, read the article from the FTC.

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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CRE) Prevention Strategies for Facilities

According to a March 7th letter from lawmakers, the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee should hold hearings on deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) kills about half of all people it infects, is resistant to antibiotics and spreads the resistance to other germs. The number of CRE infections grew in the last 10 years with hospitals and long-term care facilities in 42 states reporting cases.

The CDC released a toolkit for guidance for control of CRE. Prevention strategies for facilities include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Contact precautions for patients in acute care settings who are colonized or infected with CRE
  • Educating healthcare personnel about preventing transmission of CRE
  • Housing patients infected with CRE in single patient rooms
  • Conducting active surveillance testing by screening high-risk patients and patients transferred from facilities known to have CRE

For more information, read the article in McKnight’s and view the toolkit from the CDC.

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Protect the Elderly from Dangerous Bed Rails

THANK YOU to those individuals and groups who have signed our petition which calls for safety standards for adult bed rails. Haven’t signed yet? Please take the time to do so today by clicking here. We have a goal of 1,000 signatures and we need your help to reach that goal!

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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 © 2013.

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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