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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

June 25, 2013

Now is the Time - Help End the Harmful Practice of Medicare Observation Status!

As you may know, Medicare beneficiaries who stay at the hospital for one or more days are increasingly being placed on observation (outpatient) status. This may feel like a hospital stay and look like a hospital stay, but it is not because, under observation status, individuals needing care are never officially admitted as inpatients.  
Why does the difference between observation status and inpatient status matter? Because Medicare will only pay for care in a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay if a beneficiary spends at least three consecutive days in the hospital as an inpatient (not counting the day of discharge) – the so-called three midnights rule. So while a beneficiary may spend three days or more in the hospital, none of that time counts if he or she is placed on observation status. The result – these consumers do not qualify for Medicare coverage in a skilled nursing facility after leaving the hospital and must pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets or return home without receiving the therapy and nursing services they need to recover.
The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2013 (H.R. 1179; S. 569), which would end the harmful practice of observation status once and for all, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. However, we need your help in getting this vital legislation passed! The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) has set up a webpage here where you can reach out to your members of Congress and share your support of the bill, as well as experiences where you or someone you know has been a victim of observation status. Afterwards, let CMA know you’ve taken action on this important issue.

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Senior Advocates Promoting More Ways to Prevent Financial Abuse

To help seniors guard against elder abuse, the federal government – in a joint effort by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – has produced a new tool to help prevent financial exploitation. The tool, a stand-alone training module that's part of FDIC's Smart Money guide, provides information to increase awareness among those 62 and older and their caregivers on how to prevent, identify and respond to elder financial exploitation.

For more information, read the article in Consumer Affairs.

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Encourage Residents to Participate in the 2013 Resident's Voice Challenge!

The Resident’s Voice is an opportunity for residents from facilities across the country to share their ideas about this year’s Residents’ Rights Month theme with other residents, ombudsmen, families, community members and nursing home staff.

Residents are encouraged to think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. Have you ever experienced having to speak out against elder abuse?
  2. Why do you think it's important to speak out against elder abuse?
  3. How can you encourage others to speak out against elder abuse?
  4. What could facilities, families and communities do to make residents feel safe and know that their right to be free from abuse is supported?

Residents can respond to the questions in writing (poems, stories), through art of any kind or with video’s/recordings. We encourage facilities/families to frame resident entries and hang them in residents’ rooms or other areas of the facility.  We also will be displaying selected submissions on the 2013 Residents' Rights Month website.  Send submissions to: info@theconsumervoice.org.

For more information, visit the Consumer Voice's website.

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Residents' Rights Month Tote Bags, Key Chains and Magnets Now Available for Purchase!

The theme for Residents' Rights Month 2013 is "Speak Out Against Elder Abuse" with the goal of encouraging residents and others to be educated about and speak out against elder abuse. Resources for this year's theme are available on the Residents' Rights Month 2013 page of the Consumer Voice website. In addition, products for Residents' Rights Month 2013 are now available for purchase in the Consumer Voice Store.  This year's products include the following:

Tote bag
$15 (plus shipping and handling)

Key chain
$4 (plus shipping and handling)

$1.50 (plus shipping and handling)

Plus, we're offering discounted packages when multiple products are purchased! Visit the Consumer Voice online store to view available packages and to purchase.

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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