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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

This issue of the Gazette was made possible by a generous contribution from Gail MacInnes in memory of Robert MacInnes.

"Robert MacInnes was intelligent, funny, kind - and he was my dad!  He is missed and remembered lovingly."

June 11, 2014

Introducing the New www.theconsumervoice.org!

The Consumer Voice is excited to announce the launch of its new and improved website - www.theconsumervoice.org - that will provide consumers, advocates and family members with enhanced access to resources and information on how to achieve quality long-term care.

The new Consumer Voice website includes the following enhancements and improvements:

  • Improved Graphics and Greater Interactivity: Created with the user experience in mind, the re-launched Consumer Voice website is visually appealing and permits individuals to be more interactive with the organization
  • Enhanced Structure and Easier Site Navigation: The new website enables individuals to have clearer access to the many resources available throughout the Consumer Voice site
  • Get Help: Consumer Voice has updated and enhanced its popular ‘Get Help’ resource map, which permits individuals to locate ombudsmen, Citizen Advocacy Groups (CAGs), or other long-term care resources in their state or territory.
  • Frequent Updates: The new website enables Consumer Voice to add information more easily so we can change its content and highlight new developments.  You should visit the website often!

“The Consumer Voice is a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual in all settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home and community-based care. Our newly launched website greatly improves our organization’s ability to provide such information to the public in a more interactive and easily accessible fashion,” said Richard Gelula, Executive Director of Consumer Voice.

Visit the new www.theconsumervoice.org now!

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Join us for the Virtual Kickoff of the Consumer Voice's Nursing Home Staffing Public Awareness Campaign

Join us for a webinar/teleconference kicking off the official launch of Consumer Voice's Nursing Home Staffing Public Awareness Campaign.  During the kickoff event, you will learn about the campaign and its goals, the history of nursing home staffing policy and Consumer Voice advocacy, why more staffing is needed and the impact of understaffing on residents, the research that supports increased staffing levels, and how you can be part of hte campaign and what you can do.  You will also hear how you can use the Consumer Voice's new Staffing Campaign toolkit and have the opportunity to take important action right away to help get the campaign off to a strong start.


  • Brian Capshaw, Resident Council President Aurora Senior Living of East Hartford, CT; Executive Board Member Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Resident Councils Connecticut; Consumer Voice Leadership Council Member
  • Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
  • Sarah Greene Burger, RN, MPH, FAAN, Coordinator, Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations
  • Karen Guice, Lead Ombudsman, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Jefferson County Council on Aging, AL 
  • Marybeth Williams, Public Policy Associate, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
Registration is required.  Click here to register.

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Progress on the Elder Justice Initiative in the Senate, but your help is still needed!

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education concluded the markup of its Fiscal Year Appropriations bill. This legislation, which puts forth funding amounts for all programs under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education, included $10 million for the President's Elder Justice Initiative, which would create an Adult Protective Services (APS) National Data System, develop APS program standards, and support evidence-based research regarding elder abuse. You can read a summary of the bill here.

Consumer Voice has been active in advocating for the inclusion of funding for the initiative in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget and commends the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for making elder justice a priority in its proposed legislation. However, the Subcommittee failed to provide the full $25 million in funding that was requested for the Elder Justice Initiative in the President's FY 2015 budget request, and, while the $10 million provided in the appropriations bill is an integral first step in implementing provisions under the Elder Justice Act, we still believe the full funding of this request is critical.

The appropriations process in Congress is far from complete, and we still need YOUR help in advocating for this critical funding. The full Appropriations Committee, in addition to the full Senate, has yet to vote on this appropriations legislation, and furthermore the House of Representatives still must markup an appropriations bill of their own. The Elder Justice Initiative still needs your support! Individuals can send a letter to Members of Congress in support of the President's FY 2015 request for funding for an Elder Justice Initiative by clicking here. We also have a draft letter for organizations to send to Members of Congress in support of this request, which can be found here. Thank you for your advocacy!

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Applications Now Available for FREE 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) is offering FREE state-based, in-person advocacy trainings for individuals and groups with the capacity to make an impact on policy and contribute to the Consumer Voice's national efforts. We welcome long-term care ombudsman programs, Citizen Advocacy Groups, family/caregiving groups, consumer alliances, disability groups, community organizations, senior organizations and others to apply to receive these trainings. It doesn't matter how much or how little advocacy you've done in the past to apply!

What will the trainings involve?

  • A pre-training conference call where participants will learn how to strategize around a particular issue.
  • On-site training with Consumer Voice staff coming directly to YOU. You can choose a half-day or full-day training.
  • A full-day training will cover all topics listed below; a half-day training will include two out of the four following topics of your choice:
  1. How to craft an effective advocacy message.
  2. Delivering your message in person: the nuts and bolts of meeting with a key decision maker.
  3. Delivering your message: utilizing both traditional approaches and social media.
  4. How to grow, support, and activate your network.
  • A post-training webinar which will focus on skills not covered during the in-person training, elaborate on topics needing more depth, and address additional questions or concerns.
How do I apply?
  • We'll be accepting applications from June 3rd, until 5:00 pm ET on June 23rd.
  • For more information about the project itself and the application process, click here.

If you 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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Something New in The Gazette

Did you notice something new in this week’s issue of The Gazette?  Right under the masthead at the top of this week’s edition, The Gazette features our first-ever sponsorship statement.  Consumer Voice is now accepting sponsorship contributions for each weekly issue of The Gazette.  As a benefit of this  sponsorship, the contributor may honor, remember, or thank an individual or organization – or highlight a birthday, anniversary, a good deed, a book, publication or even a piece of legislation.  We welcome the creativity of our donors.

Consumer Voice will be publishing Gazette sponsorship guidelines shortly, but in the meantime you may inquire about making a sponsorship contribution by contacting Richard Gelula at rgelula@theconsumervoice.org or by calling (202) 332-2275x209.

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Joint Commission to Certify Nursing Home Memory Care

The Joint Commission's nursing care center accreditation program will begin offering a new memory care certification in July to recognize organizations that provide memory care services for those with dementia and other cognitive impairments. Developed with feedback from the Alzheimer’s Association and others, the program builds on new accreditation requirements addressing memory care services that also take effect in July for all nursing homes that are accredited or are seeking accreditation.  To achieve memory care certification, nursing homes must comply with accreditation and certification requirements and meet strict criteria.  For more information, read the Joint Commission's release.

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Michigan Ombudsmen to Receive Awards at N4A Conference

Region 9 and 10 of Michigan's Area Agencies on Aging are recipients of the 2014 Aging Achievement Award in the health-LTSS integration category for their Best Practices of Northern Michigan Program.  Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Sharon Greenhoe and Nancy Turner work collaboratively to bring together 40 nursing homes across northern Michigan to share best practices, provide education and training, and bring about culture change to facilities in the region to provide more person-centered care.  The award will be presented at the N4A Conference in Dallas in July.

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CDC Study Shows Nursing Homes Are #1 Setting for Norovirus Outbreaks

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week, long-term care facilities are the most common settings for norovirus outbreaks.  Between 2009 and 2012, more than 2,000 outbreaks of noroviurs originated in a long-term care facility and only about 120 outbreaks occurred in hospitals.  The CDC report focused largely on outbreaks caused by contaminated food because restaurants were the second most-common setting associated with outbreaks.  However, poor food preparation practices are not behind the norovirus problem in nursing homes.  The report did not offer explanations as to why long-term care facilities see so many more norovirus outbreaks than hospitals.  Norovirus is known to spread rapidly through "closed places" and is highly contagious; it can be transmitted via person-to-person contact.  For more information read the CDC's report, CDC's overview of norovirus, and the article in McKnight's.

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Upcoming Opportunities:

Implementation of the Home and Community Based Services Settings Rule, Friday, June 20th 2:00pm EST - Friday Morning Collaborative is holding a webinar covering CMS's final rule and guidance on the requirements of characteristics for settings in Medicaid Home and Community Based Services programs operated under sections 1915(c), 1915(i), and 1915(k) of the Act.  The rule requires every state to develop and submit to CMS an implementation plan within the year.  This process provides multiple opportunities for consumer stakeholder input.  This webinar will provide information about the rule and provide tools and resources for state advocates to assist with implementation.

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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.

Read past Gazettes here.

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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