April 16, 2013
Consumer Voice Brief on Ways Immigration Reform Benefits Home Care Consumers
On Monday, April 15th, the Consumer Voice released its new brief entitled 5 Ways Immigration Reform Benefits Home Care Consumers. While we know consumers recognize that a strengthened workforce is a critical component of quality care, many may not be aware of the role immigration reform plays in enhancing the home care workforce. To better inform consumers and their advocates on this topic, this new brief discusses the following five distinct ways in which immigration reform could benefit home care consumers:
- Ensuring Access to Care by Addressing the Workforce Shortage
- Creating Stability for Consumers by Reducing Worker Turnover
- Improving Safety and Transparency for Home Care Consumers
- Improving Quality and Scope of Care for Consumers by Training Workers
- Creating a Positive Home Care Experience through Career Ladders for Workers
The Consumer Voice will be holding a free webinar on Why Immigration Reform is Important to Home Care Consumers May 1st, from 2:30 to 3:30 PM ET. In addition to discussing in detail how ways immigration reform would benefit home care consumers by ensuring access to needed services and improving the overall quality of care, we will also be providing participants with the latest policy updates concerning immigration reform. Speakers will include Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, and Marybeth Williams, Public Policy Associate, from the Consumer Voice, as well as Robin Shaffert, Policy Director from Caring Across Generations. We would love to have you join us for this important discussion. Click here to register for this event.
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President Obama Releases Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, April 10th, President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, which can be read at the White House website here. There are several positive aspects to the President’s budget, including the elimination of sequestration. Sequestration – a collection of federal spending cuts mandated through the Budget Control Act of 2011 – went into effect in March, triggering automatic funding reductions for key programs and services that are essential to long-term care consumers. The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 also preserves funding for Medicaid, our nation’s long-term care safety net, and would maintain or increase funding for various elder abuse and mistreatment programs – including a 20% increase in funding for Adult Protective Services (APS) that would allow local APS agencies to better protect elderly and/or disabled consumers.
However, there are certain provisions of the President’s proposed budget that may raise concerns among certain long-term care consumers. For example, the President’s FY 2014 includes a home-health co-payment of $100 for new Medicare beneficiaries per home health episode beginning in 2017. Furthermore, the proposed budget includes increases to Medicare income-related premiums for higher-income beneficiaries and higher part B deductibles for new Medicare beneficiaries in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The President’s budget also supports tying annual increases in Social Security to a Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI), which would result in benefit cuts for Social Security recipients. As many consumers rely on their Social Security benefits to fund needed long-term services and supports, this provision in the President’s Budget is especially troubling. To read more about why the use of a Chained CPI would be harmful for consumers, visit AARP’s webpage on the issue here.
In addition, Administration on Community Living (ACL) hosted a separate budget hearing on Thursday, April 12th in which Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee detailed ACL’s FY2014 budget request. The total budget request is $2.14 billion and maintains FY2012 funding for key Older Americans Act programs, including the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Significant changes include a $68.3 million reduction from FY12 level to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which the ACL is requesting be transferred from the Department of Labor to the ACL. ACL stated that it will make improving program performance a priority, targeting the SCSEP program to people with the greatest need. An additional $5.5 million is requested to partially restore funding for the Alzheimer's Disease Supportive Services program. This will complement the Alzheimer's Initiative first announced last year by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under which a total of 14.7 million is requested from Prevention and Public Health funds in FY14 for caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure. Lastly, $8 million is requested in discretionary funding for APS, which is an increase of $2 million from FY12. The hearing was attended by Consumer Voice staff and other members of the aging and disability networks. Visit the ACL website to view the FY2014 budget summary and tables.
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Janet Wells and Cynthia Rudder Honored with Award from CMS
Former Consumer Voice Director of Public Policy Janet Wells and Cynthia Rudder, formerly with the Long-Term Care Community Coalition, have been awarded by CMS with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Both lifelong advocates were recognized for their many years of tireless service, supreme dedication and effective advocacy on behalf of our nation’s nursing home residents.
Janet Wells joined the Consumer Voice in 1986 as Director of Publications after a 15-year career in civil rights and women’s rights advocacy. From 1992 until 2000, Janet was a long-term care specialist with AARP, where she was team leader of the Association’s Long-Term Care Team. In 2000, she returned to the Consumer Voice as Director of Public Policy to oversee the organization’s legislative and regulatory initiatives and special projects to improve the quality of care in nursing homes. Janet retired from the Consumer Voice last April but has continued to advocate for long-term care consumers.
Cynthia Rudder, Ph.D. was recently the Director of Special Projects and is the former Executive Director of the Long-Term Care Community Coalition, formerly the Nursing Home Community Coalition of NYS. She has published a number of reports and articles on nursing home issues, including reimbursement systems, profits and losses, subacute care and quality issues, as well as reports on how well the state is conducting its complaint and enforcement systems. She was or is a member of a number of state and federal advisory committees.
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Update on MDS 3.0 Quality Measures User's Manual V7.0 Available
CMS released an updated MDS 3.0 Quality Measures User’s Manual V7.0 on its website. The new version accommodates MDS item set changes for assessments on or after October 1, 2013 as well as earlier assessments.
The manual is available in the download section of the CMS website.
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NCOA Webinar on Policy Change to Advance Falls Prevention Provides Tools and Resources
The recent NCOA webinar titled, “Implementing Policy Change to Advance Falls Prevention: Training, Examples and Resources” reviewed NCOA’s new State Policy Toolkit for Advancing Fall Prevention, provided examples of falls prevention policy changes, discussed advocacy strategies and shared resources regarding falls prevention policy. The toolkit includes 8 goals and outlines policy changes, strategies and examples for each goal.
The toolkit and other advocacy tools mentioned during the webinar could help LTCO and other advocates in developing an advocacy plan regarding falls prevention or another issue. One of the goals in the toolkit is to “improve fall prevention activities in places where older adults live,” which includes working to improve falls prevention in nursing homes, assisted living and other congregate living settings (pg. 25). The toolkit provides suggestions for policy changes and strategies for achieving this goal. Another goal is to “enhance data surveillance collection, analysis and system linkages” which includes creating “an easy to read, annual falls report for the legislature” and the toolkit provides examples (e.g. Florida Injury Facts: Unintentional Falls- Seniors) of these reports that could serve as models for annual reports for a variety of long-term care issues and used for systems advocacy and education (pg. 18).
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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 email@example.com. 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.