Spread the word » Facebook Twitter

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

November 5, 2013

Consumer Voice Leadership Council Members Release Report on Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs

Consumer Voice Leadership Council members Toby Edelman, Center for Medicare Advocacy, and Dean Lerner, Dean Lerner Consulting, have released a report entitled Examining the Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs, which delves deeper into the the pervasive problem of antipsychotic medications being wrongly prescribed to nursing home residents. This report contains three parts, the first of which analyzes deficiencies given for the misuse of antipsychotic medications in nursing and skilled nursing facilities located in seven states during 2010 and 2011. The second part of the report focuses on the perspectives of state surveyors on the nursing home survey (inspection) process in general as well as their perspectives on the citing of the misuse of antipsychotic medications specifically. Lastly, the third and final part of the report puts forward recommendations to improve the citing of this issue, serving to better protect the health and safety of residents.
Click here to read Part I, here for Part II, and here for Part III of this highly informative report.

Back to Top

American Association for Justice Publishes Report on Arbitration Clauses

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has published a new report on the dangers of pre-dispute, mandatory arbitration clauses, entitled License to Steal: How the U.S. Chamber Forced Arbitration on America. This report details the common use of these clauses in a growing number of contracts and the negative impacts they can have on consumers, including those entering into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Pre-dispute arbitration agreements have become increasingly common in long-term care facility admission contracts that consumers or their families must sign in order for the consumer to be admitted as a resident. Once signed, these agreements bar individuals from seeking justice in court should they or their loved ones suffer harm or injury while residing in the facility. Consumer Voice supports prohibiting the use of pre-dispute, mandatory arbitration agreements in long-term care facility contracts, as consumers and their loved ones deserve the right to hold facilities accountable for poor care or abuse in a public court of law.

Click here to read a McKnight’s Long-Term Care News article with further information on the AAJ report. For more on how this issue impacts long-term care consumers (and information on pending legislation – the Arbitration Fairness Act - that would bar the use of these agreements), visit our website here.

Back to Top

Consmer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Booklets for Financial Caregivers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office for Older Americans released four easy-to-understand booklets to help financial caregivers. The Managing Someone Else’s Money guides are for agents under powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and government benefit fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries). Read the CFPB blog article.

Back to Top

FEMA Holding Webinar on People with Disabilities and Disasters

FEMA is holding the next session in their Emergency Management and Preparedness – Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series with a session entitled “Communication with People with Disabilities in Disasters”.  This webinar on Tuesday, November 12th will focus on communicating with people with disabilities during and after an emergency or disaster including warnings, emergency public information, and disaster recovery information using experiences and observations from the May 2013 Severe Weather, Tornadoes, and Flooding in Oklahoma. Register here.

Back to Top

FATE Sues California for Delayed Investigations of Nursing Home Complaints

Last week, Foundation Aiding The Elderly (FATE), an advocacy group for elderly individuals, filed a lawsuit agianst the California Department of Public Health for failing to promptly investigate complaints at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities in the state.  In the lawsuit, FATE argues that DPH staff "have been extremely delinquent" in responding to complaints by "taking months and sometimes years" to complete an investigation.  For more information, read the article in California Healthline.

Back to Top

2013 Residents' Rights Month a Succcess!

Across the country, organizations and individuals celebrated 2013 Residents' Rights Month.  This year's theme "Speak Out Against Elder Abuse!" encouraged residents and others to be educated about and speak out against elder abuse.  Visit the Consumer Voice's Residents' Rights Month website for resources on this year's theme and news and events from around the country.

Back to Top

NJ Governor Signs Resident Bill of Rights

On October 17, 2013, Governor Christie signed into law a bill of rights for independent residents living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The bipartisan legislation, bills S2052 / A3132, will ensure that residents of independent living sections of CCRCs have an active role in decisions that impact their daily lives. It clarifies that a resident has the right to express a complaint without fear of interference, discharge or reprisal and has the right to contact the New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman (known in the state as the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly). It also enumerates certain legal, medical and financial rights. New residents will receive a written copy of the resident's rights prior to the execution of a continuing care residency agreement and a statement of resident's rights entitled "Bill of Rights for Continuing Care Retirement Community Residents in Independent Living" must be posted in a conspicuous place and distributed to all residents. The Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs may levy and collect penalties in the amount of not less than $250, and not more than $50,000, for each violation of the act. The act shall take effect May 1, 2014.

Back to Top

Johnson & Johnson Fined for Illegal Marketing of Medications

Johnson & Johnson has been fined $2.2 billion for the illegal marketing of three medications, including the marketing of Risperdal – a schizophrenia drug – for the treatment of elderly persons with dementia. The U.S. Department of Justice has alleged that the drug manufacturer inappropriately promoted these medications for uses that were never approved as safe and effective and also that the company gave kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies for prescribing and promoting these drugs. Antipsychotic medications, such as Risperdal, are all too commonly prescribed to elderly persons with dementia, despite not being approved to treat dementia and increasing the risk of mortality in this population. For more information on the Johnson & Johnson settlement, click here.

Back to Top

Hand in Hand Tip Sheet for Ombudsman Now Available

A new tip sheet for ombudsmen on using the Hand in Hand materials from CMS is available.  Long-term care ombudsmen can benefit from Hand in Hand, a new resource on caring for individuals with dementia and preventing abuse.  The tip sheet provides information about this resource and ideas for ombudsman use.

Back to Top

CMS Releases Clarified Definition of "Homebound"

CMS released a clarified definition of "homebound" regarding eligibility for Medicare-reimbursable services.  Individuals can be considered homebound if they meet two criteria that more closely align the Benefit Policy Manual to the Social Security Act's definition.  For more information, read the article on Home Health Care News.

Back to Top

National I&R Support Center to Hold Call on Veteran's Mental Health

The National Information and Referral Support Center is holding a technical assistance call on Thursday, November 7th at 3:00pm EST.  The call will cover access to mental health services and supports for both younger and older veterans.  The call is aimed at I&R professionals who come into contact with older adults, veterans of any age and their caregivers. The call in number is: 888-346-3659 with Passcode: 382574.  The PowerPoint presentation will be available prior to the call on the Support Center's website.

Back to Top

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