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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

May 13, 2014

OWL Releases Report on Future of Long-Term Care

OWL – The Voice of Women 40+ dedicated its annual Mother’s Day Report to a study of long-term care.  OWL declares that “In 2014, long-term care continues to be one of the biggest risks Americans face to their financial solvency, independence and quality of life.”  The report highlights the fragmented systems of long-term care in the United States and contrasts the American approaches to financing care to those used by other nations.  Many countries, like Japan, have a larger aging population proportionately than the U.S., yet they have financed long-term services and supports (LTSS) using social insurance; in the U.S., Social Security and Medicare are examples of social insurance, but that system is not used for long-term care.  

The following chart from the OWL report identifies five different LTSS financing methods used by different countries and provides examples of nations using each of them.  All nations have smaller economies than the U.S. and some with lower standards of living provide as much or greater protection for their citizens against the financial threat posed by LTSS.

OWL held a well-attended briefing on Capitol Hill to announce and release their report.  Consumer Voice Executive Director, Richard Gelula, MSW, spoke at the briefing.  You can read his remarks and the OWL report.

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Communicate Your Support of the Older Americans Act

Advocates need your help this week in communicating support for the Older Americans Act! Several members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a 65-member association comprising the country's leading aging organizations, are planning call-in days this week to generate calls of support for important Older Americans Act programs.
Call in Wednesday May 14th.  Tomorrow, individuals can call 888-277-8686 and follow the prompts to be connected with their legislator’s office. Once patched through, callers can deliver the following message:
“I understand decisions are being made about funding for programs serving older adults.  I urge Rep/Sen. XXX to restore funding for all Older Americans Act programs, create funding for the Elder Justice Initiative, and continue development of Aging and Disability Resource Centers. I also urge him/her to support the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, as it is an important opportunity for Congress to renew its commitment to older adults. Thank you for your consideration.”
The Older Americans Act (OAA), which was enacted in 1965, is the primary vehicle for services and funding in every state and supports the dignity and welfare of individuals age 60 and older. These services include home-and-community based services; nutritional programs; health promotion and disease prevention activities for seniors; and programs that protect vulnerable seniors, such as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. To read more about why the OAA is important to older adults and the need to reauthorize this law, click here.

See a report from AARP's Public Policy Institute highlighting OAA funding deficiencies and their effects on older adults.

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Consumer Voice Continues Advocacy to Support Elder Justice Funding

Consumer Voice is in the process of meeting with key Congressional members to share our organization’s support of the President’s FY 2015 budget request of $25 million for an Elder Justice Initiative. This critical initiative stems from the Elder Justice Act (EJA), and although the EJA was enacted and signed into law in 2010, funding for the Elder Justice Act provisions has never been appropriated by Congress.
The President’s Budget request would include $13.8 million in funding for Adult Protective Services and would help create an APS National Data System and technical assistance, as well as national demonstration grants to both enhance data systems and develop program standards and evaluation. It would also provide $11.2 million for research, including research on elder abuse screening, and would establish a better knowledge base about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. For more information, you can access our fact sheet for consumers on the initiative here and our issue brief for legislators here.
Many in the Aging Network have serious concerns that if money is not appropriated for the Elder Justice Initiative this year, it is very likely the Elder Justice Act and its activities will never receive funding. This means no funding for APS services, improving the long-term care ombudsman program’s ability to respond to abuse complaints, ombudsman training, and much more.  

Help us advocate for Elder Justice funding by sending a letter of support to your legislators here, and asking your friends, family and colleagues to do so too! Thank you for your advocacy!

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Consumer Voice to Co-Host Tweet Chat on 5/14 in Honor of Older Americans Month

This Wednesday, May 14th from 2-3pm Eastern the Consumer Voice will be partnering with the Direct Care Alliance (DCA) and the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) to host a tweet chat in honor of Older Americans Month.  The focus of the chat will be on person and family-centered long-term services and supports and a strong, well-trained and supported eldercare workforce.  We’ll be asking questions about what quality person and family-centered care and services for older adults means to you and your loved ones, as well as how you think the eldercare workforce can support older adults’ quality care and quality of life across all settings.  To participate in the tweet chat, log onto twitter.com at 2:00pm Eastern.  In the search bar at the top, type in #OAM2014.  @ConsumerVoices, @DCAorg and @ElderCareTeam will be using the #OAM2014 hashtag in all of our tweets so you can follow the conversation.  If you have any questions, contact Sara Cirba, Advocacy and Development Associate, at scirba@theconsumervoice.org.  We look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday!

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CMS Extends Deadline for Long-Term Care Facilities to Install Sprinklers

CMS announced that it will allow long-term care facilities additional time to comply with the automatic sprinkler requirement that went into effect August 13, 2013.  CMS has indicated that facilities can apply for an extension for the deadline to install sprinklers:

"Based on public feedback, we understand that some facilities were not able to meet the 2013 deadline.  In order to maintain access to LTC facilities, and in recognition of financing difficulties faced by some providers, we are allowing LTC facilities the opportunity to apply for a deadline extension, not to exceed 2 years, if certain conditions apply.  An additional extension may be granted for up to 1 year, depending on the need and particular circumstances."

The final rule was published on August 13, 2008 and gave facilities five years to achieve full sprinkler status.  The delay in implementation was to provide time for nursing homes to find the funding and complete installation.  Consumer Voice believes that five years was sufficient time and expressed concern last August when CMS said it would not cite a facility for failure to comply with the regulation until a facility's next Life Safety Code survey.  This gave many nursing homes more time to come into compliance, thereby allowing residents to remain at risk.  According to Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Consumer Voice is very troubled that CMS is putting the financial difficulties of providers before resident safety by permitting extensions.  Consumer Voice Executive Director, Richard Gelula, said, "This is a matter for which there should be no delay."

ACL Provides Guidance Regarding Supreme Court's Decision on United States vs. Windsor

The Administration for Community Living provided guidance for ACL grantees regarding the Supreme Court Decision on United States v. Windsor.  The purpose of this guidance is to advise ACL grantees of the Federal government's policy regarding same-sex marriages, in light of the Supreme Court's ruling.  In Windsor, the Court struck down as unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages and spouses. In keeping with the Supreme Court's analysis and reasoning in that decision, ACL's post-Windsor policy calls for treating same-sex marriages on the same terms as opposite-sex marriages to the greatest extent reasonably possible.  Thus, ACL programs should recognize as family members individuals of the same sex who are lawfully married under the law of a state, territory or foreign jurisdiction.  For more information, read the full guidance.

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Ohio State LTC Ombudsman Featured in Long-Term Living Magazine

Recently, Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Beverley Laubert was honored as a Leader of Tomorrow in Long-Term Living Magazine.  Beverley began her career as a social worker in home health and nursing home environments before accepting a position with the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.  She has now been with the program for nearly three decades, advocating on behalf of seniors. Beverley is a former member of the Consumer Voice Leadership Council.  She says, "There's just so much in their daily lives that people just sort of accept as the best that they can get, and a big part of our ombudsman work is helping people to elevate their expectations."  Read the full article.

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Save the Date! - Consumer Voice Annual Conference

November 15-18, 2014
Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport

Save the Date - the Consumer Voice Annual Conference will be back and in the Washington, DC-region once again in 2014!

We were thrilled to re-launch our conference last year with great success and look forward to having many of you join us again for another phenomenal event this year.

Attending the Consumer Voice annual conference is an excellent opportunity for you to network with advocates and colleagues from across the country; interact directly with long-term care consumers; hear from the best speakers in the field; receive the latest long-term care policy updates from key experts; and acquire tools and resources that will reenergize your work and help you put advocacy into action!

Be on the lookout for registration and the conference agenda details coming soon. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!

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Kansas Advocates for Better Care Honored with Liberty Bell Award

Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC) received the 2014 Liberty Bell Award by the Douglas County Bar Association.  On May 1st, Mitzi McFatrich, Executive Director of KABC, was presented with the award. Mitzi is the Vice Chair of the Consumer Voice Leadership Council.  KABC is a statewide, non-profit organization founded in 1975 which advocates for improved quality long-term care. When accepting the award, Mitzi stated: "The work Kansas Advocates for Better Care does for improved care is critically important in the current environment of highly-politicized healthcare, deregulation, reduced resources for enforcement, and shrinking access to justice especially for those of low income.  Even more so, as these challenges collide with the unprecedented rise in numbers of individuals entering old age."  Find out more about KABC on their website: www.kabc.org.

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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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