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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

May 21, 2014

Federal Judge Rules that Nursing Home Resident Cannot Sue Over Involuntary Discharge

A federal court ruled last week that a woman involuntarily discharged from an Illinois nursing home does not have the right to file suit under the federal law regulating Medicaid providers.  After a verbal dispute with a nurse and another resident, nursing home resident Theresa Schwerdtfeger was sent to a behavioral health hospital.  The nusing home administrator signed an Emergency Notice of Involuntary Transfer or Discharge, stating that Schwerdtfeger posed a danger to individuals in the nursing homes.  Schwerdtfeger sued claiming the nursing home had violated the Nursing Home Reform Amendments (NRA) that states that Medicaid-certified facilities "must permit each resident to remain in the facility and must not transfer or discharge the resident" except under special circumstances.  A federal judge dismissed the suit saying that the NHRA does not grant residents the right to sue nursing homes in federal court.  For more information, read the article in McKnight's.

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New Smartphone App Stores Health Care Advance Directives

A new smartphone app called My Health Care Wishes from the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging gives older adults and their family members the ability to store health care advance directives, key health information, and health care contacts on Apple or Android smartphones and to send advance directive documents and other key information directly to health care providers by email or Bluetooth.  The Lite version of the app is free and designed to store one person's advance directive information and one document.  A Pro version is available for $3.99 and offers unlimited storage of documents and people profiles, the ability to email stored documents to a health care providers, the ability to store additional details like insurance and emergency contacts, and more.  For more information, visit www.myhealthcarewishes.org.

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Consumer Voice to Offer FREE State-Based Advocacy Skills Training

As part of our Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where initiative, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) will be offering FREE state-based, in-person advocacy trainings for groups with the capacity to make an impact on policy and contribute to the Consumer Voice's national efforts. We welcome anyone and everyone - long-term care ombudsman programs, consumer advocacy groups, family/caregiving groups, consumer alliances, and community and senior organizations - to apply to receive these trainings. It doesn't matter how much or how little advocacy you've done in the past - all are welcome to apply!

Applications will be accepted from June 2-23.

What's next?

  • We'll be sending out more details about the application process and the trainings in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
  • In the interim, put together a group of individuals who want to receive these trainings. You'll need at least 20 individuals to qualify. Priority will be given to applicants who will be joined by other advocates outside their organization or program.
If you are interested in receiving our advocacy skills training or have any questions, please contact Sara Cirba, Advocacy and Development Associate, at scirba@theconsumervoice.org or 202-332-2275 ext. 221.

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NORC Director Lori Smetanka Quoted in Article on Lack of Funding for the NY LTCOP

Director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center Lori Smetanka was recently quoted in an article in the Syracuse Post-Standard. The article reported that because of insufficient funding, the number of complaints that the New York Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is investigating is declining.  Lori agreed that the minimal funding New York allocates for its ombudsman program affects the ability of ombudsmen to respond to complaints.  She said, "The issues and problems nursing home residents face are more complex so the need for a strong ombudsman program is greater than ever."  Read the full article at syracuse.com.

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CPSC Introduces Senior Safety Initiative

On May 19, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) introduced the Senior Safety Initiative. The initiative includes the expansion of CPSC's integrated teams to include a Mechanical & Seniors Hazards Team; publication of a wide ranging Hazard Screening Report focusing on seniors;  joining the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics; continued work with voluntary standard organization and the FDA on rule-making activity and educational materials relating to adult portable bed rails; and participation in Older Americans Month 2014: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow. Read the statement from CPSC.

New website: HCBSadvocacy.org

The National DD Network Partners - NDRN, Association of University Centers on Disability, and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities - have launched a new website to help advocates get involved in their states and improve the implementation of the new Medicaid rule regarding the settings of home and community-based services. The site, HCBSadvocacy.org, provides links to official CMS resources, national advocacy resources, and information for each state on their transition/compliance process. The website features an Advocates Checklist which offers ideas and steps on how to get involved in a state's assessment and transition plan process, and the HCBS Worksheet for Assessing Services and Settings, which is intended to help State agencies, community members and other stakeholders in reviewing HCBS are currently provided in their states prior to submission of the State's transition plan.  These and other resources for advocates, are on the National Resources page.

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Consumer Voice Tweet Chat in Honor of Older Americans Month

Last Wednesday the Consumer Voice, the Direct Care Alliance and the Eldercare Workforce Alliance hosted an Older Americans Month Tweet Chat.  The focus of the chat was on person and family-centered long-term services and supports and a strong, well-trained and supported eldercare workforce.  During the chat we touched on issues such as what quality person and family-centered care and services for older adults means to consumers and their loved ones, as well as how people think the eldercare workforce can support older adults’ quality care and quality of life across all settings.  Here are the highlights of last Wednesday's chat, including tweets of moving testimonials, useful resources, and tips about how you can help!  https://storify.com/EliseNakhnikian/how-to-improve-elder-care  Do you follow us on twitter?  If not, make sure to follow @ConsumerVoices today!

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Upcoming Opportunity:

  • National Teleconference from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America) and the Diverse Elders Coalition, May 28, 2014 2:00pm EST - Teleconference will cover issues facing older adults with HIV and will include an update on the state of the AIDS epidemic among older people, as well as a discussion on policy opportunities that would improve the health and overall wellness of older people with HIV.  Leaders from the aging, LGBT and HIV/AIDS fields will also discuss how providers can best support people with HIV as they age. Dial in: (559) 726-1300; Passcode: 292757#. RSVP via email to Bryan Pacheco bpacheco@diverseelders.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.

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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