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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

April 9, 2013

Confirmation Hearing for Obama's Nominee for CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner

Today, the Senate Finance Committee began its hearing to consider President Obama's nomination of Marilyn Tavenner for the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The previous Administrator of CMS, Dr. Donald Berwick, stepped down from the position in December of 2011. Ms. Tavenner has been the Acting Administrator of CMS since Dr. Berwick's resignation. Before her appointment to CMS, Ms. Tavenner served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services of Virginia and the Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital Corporation of America - the largest provider of health care facilities globally. The hearing for Ms. Tavenner's confirmation began at 10 a.m. ET. Additional information concerning the hearing, including statements from Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch as well as Ms. Tavenner's testimony, can be found at the Senate Finance Committee's website here.

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Memorandum to State Survey Agency Directors Details Reductions to Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Funding

On April 5th, 2013, the Survey and Certification Group at the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality (OCSQ) - housed within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - released a memorandum to State Survey Agency Directors detailing changes to be made in Fiscal Year 2013 due to the federal funding reductions required by sequestration. Sequestration, which was mandated by the Budget Control Act and went into effect last month, enacts across-the-board budgetary cuts to nearly all federal agencies. This memorandum from OCSQ stated that the Fiscal Year 2013 budget for Survey and Certification (S&C) will be reduced by 5% from the previous fiscal year's budget, amounting to a total budget of $19 million; state allocations for S&C operations, however, are only expected to be reduced by 2.5 - 3%. The memorandum also provides details for a number of adjustments to be made to S&C operations to meet these budgetary reduction goals. To read the memorandum, click here. The Consumer Voice is concerned about the impact such adjustments may have on the health and safety of residents in long-term care facilities, as well as consumers of home health services, and will keep our network informed of any additional actions concerning this issue.

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Resources for National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is approaching (April 21-27) and the theme is "Celebrate Service." The National Volunteer Week 2013 Resource Guide and downloadable logos are available on the HandsOn Network website. The Resource Guide includes media outreach tips, social media tips, press release and media advisory templates and additional information to help promote National Volunteer Week and recognize your volunteers.

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Study Finds U.S. Dementia Care Costs Up to $215 Billion

In a recent study, researchers at RAND Corp. and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor found that costs of caring for people with dementia in 2010 were between $159 billion to $215 billion, and these costs could rise dramatically in coming decades with the increase in the numbers of older people. The researchers found that these costs were comparable to, if not greater than, those for heart disease and cancer. Director of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, which funded the analysis, Richard J. Hodes, M.D. said, “These findings reveal that the enormous emotional and physical demands of caring for people with dementia are accompanied by the similarly imposing financial burdens of dementia care.”

For more information, read the release from NIH.

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Special Reports Focus on Medicaid Managed Care in FL, NJ and NY

Two special reports from the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) deal with how plans approved by the federal government will provide Medicaid long term services and supports using managed care. In Florida, NSCLC warns that while the move to managed care is promoted as a way to provide more coordinated care, the plan may limit access to care for many Medicaid beneficiaries.

Read Summary of Florida’s Long Term Care Managed Care Program.

Read A Review and Analysis of Recent CMS Waiver Approvals in New Jersey and New York.

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Older Americans Month "Unleash the Power of Age in Your Community Challenge"

As a part of Older Americans Month (OAM) in May, the Administration for Community Living is sponsoring the “Unleash the Power of Age in Your Community Challenge.” This challenge invites organizations to use the 2013 OAM theme, “Unleash the Power” and recognize older Americans by nominating people 60 or older who are putting their talents and expertise toward inspirational accomplishments in their communities and beyond. Examples of activities include civic engagement, creative arts, and technology. The submission deadline is Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:00pm.

For more information on the challenge, visit OAM’s website.

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Dementia-Related Innovation is One Winner of the HHSinnovates Program

In March, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that one of the winners of the HHSinnovates program is an initiative that links the Administration for Community Living’s aging network and National Institute on Aging’s researchers in a dementia-related innovation. The initiative is meant to increase access to support for individuals with dementia and their caregivers and increase participation in dementia research.

For more information, visit HHS' website.

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Immigration Reform Panel and Advocacy in Washington, DC; Brief on How Immigration Reform Affects the Aging Network

Caring Across Generations, the National Council on Aging, and the National Hispanic Council on Aging are holding an event on immigration reform. The event on Tuesday, April 16th in Washington, DC will include a morning panel on immigration, aging and disability rights. Then, in the afternoon, consumers, advocates, workers, people of faith and coalition members will come together to visit with legislative staff.

These organizations also recently released an issue brief reviewing how immigration reform matters to the aging network.  It describes how reform will impact workers who provide direct care to seniors, as well as affecting the stability of critical programs like Social Security.

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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