Spread the word » Facebook Twitter

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

August 20, 2013

Lori Smetanka at the 2013 State LTC Ombudsman National Training Conference

NORC Director Lori Smetanka's 20th Anniversary with the Consumer Voice

The Consumer Voice Leadership and Staff wish to congratulate Lori Smetanka this month on her 20th anniversary with the organization.  Lori first came to the Consumer Voice (then NCCNHR) in 1993 on a public policy internship sponsored by the Leadership in an Aging Society Program at Duke University's Long-Term Care Resources Program.  Upon completion of that internship, Lori joined the Consumer Voice staff as Law & Policy Specialist, where she focused on issues related to the Nursing Home Reform Act and its regulations, with particular emphasis on the survey and enforcement system.  She was also a member of the Health Care Financing Administration's Enforcement Procedures Group, which monitored the implementation of the new federal enforcement system in nursing homes.  From 2002 until June 2004, Lori worked as Information Specialist for the National Long-Term Care Omubudsman Resource Center, where she provided technical assistance and support to state and local long-term care ombudsmen around the country on issues related both to quality of care and quality of life for residents of long-term care, and to ombudsman program management.  In June 2004, Lori became the Director of NORC where she provides support, technical assistance and training for 53 state and more than 600 local long-term care ombudsman programs.  Lori has a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law.

The Consumer Voice is grateful for Lori's service and commitment to long-term care issues.

Back to Top

Consumer Voice Presents at DoL Listening Session on Extending Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections to Home Care Workers

On Monday, August 19th, Consumer Voice staff were pleased to attend a listening session hosted by the Department of Labor (DoL) on the proposed rulemaking that would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers. This listening session, which was convened by newly-appointed Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, provided organizations the opportunity to share their thoughts with Secretary Perez and other DoL staff on the proposed rule. Consumer Voice was pleased to communicate our organization’s support for extending these basic labor protections to home care workers, as granting workers these protections is an integral step towards improving the quality of the direct care workforce and enhancing care for consumers.
Currently, direct care workers that provide services to older adults or individuals with disabilities are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s protections – protections that nearly every other American worker is entitled to. Advocates have been fighting for these workers to receive minimum wage and overtime protections under this law for years. In the listening session, Secretary Perez assured attendees that all feedback received on this important issue has been taken into account by the Administration, stating that all “comments and letters were read and heard.” We will keep our network informed of any further action by the DoL on this proposed rule.

Back to Top

Consumer Voice Submits Recommendations on Ways to Strengthen Post-Acute Care

Consumer Voice was pleased to submit recommendations on ways to strengthen post-acute care to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees this past Monday. These two Congressional committees recently called for feedback from stakeholders regarding proposed Medicare post-acute care reforms, including input on types of reforms that will help advance the goal of improving patient quality of care and care transitions. Our organization’s recommendations highlighted the expanding role of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in post-acute care and the subsequent need to enhance the quality of post-acute care beneficiaries receive in SNFs through better staffing, stronger oversight and enforcement, and greater transparency. In these recommendations, Consumer Voice also expressed opposition to a home health copayment and any caps on therapy services for Medicare beneficiaries, as well as support for the elimination of Medicare’s ‘observation status’ policy. To read our comments, click here.

Back to Top

Consumer Voice Submits Comments on Proposed Rule on State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

The Consumer Voice submitted comments to the Administration on Aging on the Proposed Rule Change for State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs.  The Consumer Voice commends the Administration on Aging for its work on these rules.  Overall, the proposed regulations would clarify long-standing issues facing the long-term care ombudsman program, strengthen the program’s ability to advocate at the systems level, and improve the program’s effectiveness. The comments have been submitted on regulations.gov.

Back to Top

Registration Open for 2013 National Aging and Law Institute

Registration is now open for the 2013 National Aging and Law Institute. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. has partnered with a coalition of national organizations to host a joint conference in Washington, DC from November 7-9.  For more informaation, click here.

Back to Top

Homeland Security Webinar on HIPAA Policy and Voluntary Registries

As part of their Capacity Building Webinar Series, Homeland Security is holding a webinar entitled "A Look at Voluntary Registries: Perspectives on HIPAA Policy and the Role of At-Risk/Special Needs/Medical/Functional Needs Registries." Presenters from local, state and federal emergency management and public health agencies will discuss their experiences with voluntary registries sometimes known as "at-risk," "special needs," or "medical," or "functional needs" registries.  Federal officials will provide national guidance and policy recommendations.

A Look at Voluntary Registries: Perspectives on HIPAA Policy and the Role of At-Risk/Special Needs/Medical/Functional Needs Registries
Thursday, August 22, 2013
1:00pm EST

Hour 1: Introduction and Overview of HIPAA Implications
Short Break
Hour 2: Panel Discussion-Local and State Examples of Voluntary Registries

The webinar is free to attend.  Access the webinar via this link. (Registration is not required.  You may log in as a guest.)

Back to Top

UN Survey on Needs of Those with Disabilities and Disasters

As a part of the UN International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13th, the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is conducting a survey to ascertain the needs of persons living with disabilities and disaster risks.  The findings from the survey and other information gathered during the observation of the International Day will be used to influence the remaining two years of the Hyogo Framework for Action - the global disaster risk reduction plan that was adopted in 2005 for 10 years.  The survey is only intended for persons living with diabilities.

Access the

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.

You have received this e-mail through your subscription to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care's e-mail list.

Recipients of this e-mail include all state long-term care ombudsmen, Consumer Voice members and other individuals who have subscribed to our e-mail list.

If you did not subscribe, or would no longer like to receive e-mail updates, unsubscribe here. By clicking the unsubscribe link, you will be removed from all Consumer Voice and NORC emails.

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