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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

September 3, 2013

Introducing the Consumer Voice Clearinghouse

In May 2012, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care was awarded a grant to develop the first-ever clearinghouse for long-term care information geared toward promoting effective advocacy and consumer-directed care.

We know that advocates and others who work with and for consumers of long-term care, services and supports frequently need information quickly to support and enhance their advocacy work. Information-sharing is core to our mission, and the Clearinghouse provides a way to coordinate and compile information. The Clearinghouse’s purposes are twofold: 1) Reduce the time advocates and others spend searching for credible information on a wide range of long-term care topics; and 2) Establish a one-stop-shop of information on a range of long-term care issues, particularly for those who wish to advocate for consumers.

The Clearinghouse is free to use. Sign up now!

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HHS Issues Memo Clarifying Guarantee of Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries In Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives.  This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Under current law, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan are entitled to care in the SNF where their spouse resides. The guidance clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to all married couples.  The guidance specifically clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to couples who are in a legally recognized same-sex marriage, regardless of where they live.

For more information, read the press release.

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Florida LTCOP Issues Statement

Last week, the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program issued a statement responding to their recent negative press.  In the statement, the program states, "Contrary to the recent characterization of the Ombudsman Program as "weakened" and "crippled," the program has continued to thrive and succeed in its mission to advocate for long-term care residents."  For more information, read the full press release.

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CMS Releases Data Showing Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes is Down

Last week, CMS released new data showing antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes.  The release stated that nursing homes are using antipsychotics less and instead pursuing more patient-centered treatment for dementia and other behavioral health care. In 2012, CMS launched the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, and since its launch, national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long stay nursing home residents has been reduced by 9.1 percent by the first quarter of 2013, compared to the last quarter of 2011.  For more information, read the press release.

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Podcast on Elder Abuse Risk Factors Available from NCEA

A research podcast is now available from the National Center on Elder Abuse entitled "Elder Abuse Risk Factors."  These recordings were designed for busy professionals and highlight key research findings that practitioners can use when working with or designing programs for older adults.  For more information, click here.

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Webinar Series on the Disability-Competent Care Model

The CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office is facilitating a webinar series for interested providers and health care professionals, front-line staff with health plans and practices, and stakeholders to introduce and explore the many uses of the Disability-Competent Care (DCC) Model.  The DCC model is a resource for providers, health plans, and healthcare organizations to enhance capacity to integrate care for adults with disabilities.

Defining and Delivering "Disability-Competent Care"
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 (Followed by weekly presentations on Tuesdays)
2:00pm EST

Register here.

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Vermont Advocacy Groups and Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Reach Settlement

In December 2011, Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont sued the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, alleging the state routinely failed to carry out timely and adequate investigations of complaints of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly and disabled adults.  On August 13th, they reached a settlement in which the groups will jointly select several people from outside government to serve on a panel that will meet quarterly to review a sample of case files to determine if adult protective staff have responded to complaints within new time limits, made the right decisions about rejecting or pursuing complaints and implemented appropriate remedies.  For more information, read the article in the Burlington Free Press.

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Florida LTCOP Job Opportunity

The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has posted a job opportunity for the State Ombudsman.  Find the complete posting on NORC's website.

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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