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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

May 21, 2013

Marilyn Tavenner Confirmed as Administrator of CMS

Last Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, the United States Senate officially confirmed Marilyn Tavenner as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), with a vote of 91-7 in favor of her approval. Ms. Tavenner has been the Acting Administrator of CMS since Dr. Berwick's resignation from the position in 2011. She will now be the first confirmed administrator the agency has had since 2006. To read more regarding Administrator Tavenner, click here.

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GA Advocates Successfully Postpone Consideration of Georgia Senate Bill on Mandatory Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements

In March of 2013, leading long-term care advocates in Georgia were victorious in postponing the consideration of Georgia Senate Bill 202, legislation that would make it easier for long-term care facilities to bind consumers to mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements. Georgia Senate Bill 202 would have allowed long-term care facilities greater ability to bind consumers to arbitration agreements by allowing almost any family member admitting a resident into a long-term care facility to enter into an arbitration agreement on the resident’s behalf, even if that family member was not the agent under a health care power of attorney or guardian. Furthermore, it would have limited the number of fact and expert dispositions that could have been presented on behalf of the consumer during the arbitration process.
The Georgia State Senate adjourned on March 28th, 2013.  No further action can be taken on Senate Bill 202 until January 2014, when the Georgia General Assembly convenes for its 2014 legislative session.
The Consumer Voice strongly opposes pre-dispute arbitration agreements and continues to advocate for the Arbitration Fairness Act, federal legislation that would bar the use of such agreements in nursing home and other long-term care facility admission contracts. For further information on this topic, please go to www.theconsumervoice.org/advocate/arbitration. In addition, if you or a family member has experience with an arbitration agreement, please contact Marybeth Williams at mwilliams@theconsumervoice.org or 202-332-2275 ext.225.

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Consumer Voice Hosts Webinar on Home Care for Ohio Residents

Last Thursday the Consumer Voice hosted a free webinar for individuals in Ohio titled, "Home Care in Ohio - An Informational Webinar."  The purpose of the webinar was to educate and empower individuals to let them know that they have the power to receive the best possible home care.  This webinar covered the following topics:

  • How to access home care services and supports
  • What good home care looks like
  • How to be proactive at getting good home care
  • How to solve problems with your home care
  • Personal experiences from a home care consumer

During this webinar, participants heard from leading experts in the field as well as a family caregiver of a home care consumer.   To access the recording, PowerPoint slides, and webinar materials, click here.

Free Webinar on Brain Injury and the Veteran Population

The Brain Injury Association of New York State is offering a free webinar entitled “Brain Injury and the Veteran Population: Utilizing Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) Supports to Promote Positive Outcomes.”  This webinar will provide an overview of the latest traumatic brain injury surveillance report from the Department of Defense, as well as the many areas in which DVBIC and other organizations are working to improve outcomes for service members and veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.

Brain Injury and the Veteran Population: Utilizing Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center Supports to Promote Positive Outcomes
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:00pm EST

Register here by Tuesday, May 28th.

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Elder Justice Coordinating Council Holds 2013 Spring Meeting, Views Proposals for Actions to Address Elder Abuse

On October 11, 2012, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius held the first meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council.  On May 13, 2013, Assistant Secretary for Aging Greenlee was joined by Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West in convening the 2013 Spring Council meeting. Nine proposals for federal action to address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation were presented by Elder Justice Interagency Working Group members. In developing implementation strategies for each of the proposals, the Working Group will incorporate comments and directions expressed by the Council.

Read the proposals and view the full presentations.

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Medicare Interactive Features Information on Veterans' Benefits and Medicare

May 18th was Armed Forces Day.  Celebrate by learning more about veterans' benefits and Medicare.  Medicare Interactive features important information about VA benefits, Medicare and having both types of coverage:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) covered services
Can I have both Medicare and veterans benefits?
Can I drop Medicare and just use VA benefits?

More information on NORC's website.

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Senator Sanders Introduces Older Americans Act Bill Language

Senator Bernie Sanders and bill co-sponsors have released the Older Americans Act bill language that will be introduced on Thursday, May 23rd.  The Consumer Voice and NASOP provided comments as the bill was drafted.  In celebration of the bill's introduction and Older Americans Month, several Senators and Deputy Assistant Secretary Edwin Walker from the Administration on Aging will be speaking a the Older Americans Summit on Thursday, May 23rd in Washington, DC.

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NORC Webinar for State and Local Ombudsmen on Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness: What's an Ombudsman To Do?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 3:00pm EST
Meeting Description:
NORC is hosting a webinar for State and Local Ombudsmen to gain knowledge, information and resources regarding the role of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program in advocating for and supporting long-term care residents before, during and after emergency situations.  We will discuss model policies and procedures to guide Long-Term Care Ombudsman processes and activities, and you will also be given the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss your experience, and identify areas for further work.
You will also hear local ombudsmen from across the country discuss how their programs provide emergency preparedness trainings, and creative solutions they have developed around issues that arise during emergency situations.

This webinar is open to State and Local Ombudsmen!
Registration is limited.  To maximize participation, we ask that individuals from the same program please share a phone line and only register one person.  We reserve the right to decline registration requests from multiple individuals from one ombudsman program. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the NORC website. If you have any questions, please contact Alia Murphy at

Register here.

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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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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