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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

March 18, 2014

Music & Memory at BSU Delivers Individualized Music to Nursing Home Residents

Music and Memory at Ball State University (BSU) is a group of student volunteers that bring iPods and individualized music playlists to the elderly, with special emphasis on those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. After seeing a story about the New York-based "Music & Memory" intiative's success, BSU professor Dr. Mike Gerhard was inspired to bring the program to Muncie, IN. Gerhard had been a nursing home reform activist after his father had received substandard care in a long-term care facility, so the Music & Memory program resonated with Gerhard as a tangible way to improve the quality of life for nusing home residents.  Ongoing research of the Music & Memory initiative has shown that when provided with personalized music, individuals struggling from dementia and other chronic cognitive impairments are happier and more social and relationships among staff, residents and family deepen.  Growing evidence also points towards personalized music as a useful tool in reducing reliance on anti-psychotic medications.

In September 2013, Dr. Gerhard showed a short video about the Music & Memory initative to his freshmen digital media course and invited them to attend a meeting. "Not for extra credit," says Gerhard. "I just told them to show up and serve." A dozen freshmen showed up and planned a fundraising variety show which was attended by hundreds of individuals from the campus community.  Under Dr. Gerhard's guidance, the program has continued to grow, generating donations and visiting a local nursing home twice weekly since the beginning of February.  The volunteers bring individualized music to nursing home residents, particularly those suffering from cognitive disorders, to enhance their quality of life.  For more information on Music & Memory at BSU, visit their Facebook page, and for more information about the national initiative, visit Music & Memory's website.

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Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative's March Webinars

The Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative is holding a variety of webinars in March:

Got an Hour? Give it Back Campaign Webinar:
Are You Looking for New Volunteers? Ideas on How to Reach More People
March 25 1:00pm - 2:00pm EST
Register now.

This webinars will review new downloadable materials, webinars and a search tool (powered by VolunteerMatch.org). Learn more about the campaign.

Working with Volunteers: Getting More Done Via Leading, Not Managing
Presented by Coming of Age
March 19 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST
Register now.

Find more webinars on the Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative's website.

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Voices for Quality Releases 2013 Annual Nursing Home Reports for DC and MD

Voices for Quality has released two new reports on the state of nursing homes in Maryland and Washington, DC. The reports give a letter grade and overall ranking.  Washington, DC received a "C" and a ranking of 29. Washington, DC has the highest percentage of facilities with deficiencies at 100%, the worst when compared to other states. Maryland received a "D" and an overall ranking of 34. Maryland's nursing homes consistently underachieved, failing to score an above average grade in any reviewed measure. Read the full DC report and the full MD report.

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Center for Medicare Advocacy Webinar "Practical Tips for Arguing Your Case Before Administrative Law Judges"

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. is holding a webinar on Wednesday, April 16th at 2:00pm EST entitled "Practical Tips for Arguing Your Case Before Administrative Law Judges (ALJs)." The purpose of this webinar is to review the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing process and to provide practical tips for presenting a case in a concise and persuasive fashion.  Guidance and advice will also be given to help respond to a number of challenges in the process to maximize your chances of presenting a convincing case.  The webinar will be useful for attorneys, providers or suppliers, and beneficiaries representing themselves in a Medicare appeal. Cost: $99 per site. Register now.

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Consumer Voice Webinar on Medicare Observation Status and Improvement Standard in Skilled Nursing Facilities; Recording Available

On March 13, 2014, the Consumer Voice hosted a webinar entitled, Medicare Observation Status and Improvement Standard in Skilled Nursing Facilities: What Advocates and Consumers Need to Know.  Toby Edelman, Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., presented, discussing in depth how to overcome two obstacles to Medicare coverage of a stay in a skilled nursing facility – observation status and the myth of medical improvement. Observation status occurs when hospitals label patients as “outpatient” when they are hospitalized, often for multiple days, depriving them of the three-day inpatient status that is necessary for Medicare coverage in a SNF. Regarding the improvement standard, the settlement in the Vermont lawsuit Jimmo v. Sebelius confirms that Medicare pays for “maintenance” nursing and therapy for nursing home residents, dispelling the myth that Medicare pays for care only when a resident will “improve.” Through the presentation, participants learned how to advocate effectively for Medicare beneficiaries, and where advocates and consumers can get help.  
Contact Alia Murphy (amurphy@theconsumervoice.org) if you would like to purchase an mp3 recording of the webinar.  Recordings are $15.00 each.
Also, please contact us at info@theconsumervoice.org if you have experienced issues with observation status or the Medicare improvement standard.  We need your stories to help inform our work.

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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 info@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2014.

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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