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July 22, 2014

UPDATE: Tell the Department of Labor - Don't Delay Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

As we mentioned a few weeks back, the Department of Labor (DoL) is being pressured to delay the January 1, 2015 implementation date of a final rule that would extend basic labor protections to our nation's home care workers. We put a call out to our network to submit a letter to DoL Secretary Perez telling him not to delay further implementation of this critical rule. We asked for help, and you responded! We were so pleased with the response from our network and would like to give a big thank you to everyone who submitted a letter to Secretary Perez. Implementation of this final rule is so important because home care workers provide vital services and supports to elders and people with disabilities. Giving these workers minimum wage and overtime protections will result in better quality care for the consumer through attracting additional workers to the job; reducing the turnover rate in the profession; and enhancing the overall quality and professionalism of this ever-growing workforce.

Again, thank you for your advocacy!

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Massachusetts Passes Written Informed Consent Legislation for Psyochactive Drugs for LTC Residents

Advocates in Massachusetts are celebrating a success as the state passed written informed consent legislation for pyschoactive drugs for long-term care residents.  The law affects residents in nursing homes, rest homes, and other long-term care facilities. It also mandates that the Department of Public Health create a standardized consent form which must include, at a minimum: purpose for administering the psychotropic drug, prescribed dosage, and any known effect or side effect of the psychotropic medication.  Advocates in Massachusetts still hope to expand written informed consent for psychoactive drugs to hospitals and other healthcare settings.  The next step is meaningful regulations.  Draft regulations will be written by the Department of Public Health and presented before the Massachusetts Public Health Council.  Then public comment will be solicited and followed by final revisions.  It could be a lengthy process and state advocacy group, Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (MANHR) will stay abreast of the progress.  For more information, visit www.manhr.org

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Today is the LAST DAY to get an Early Bird Discount on the Consumer Voice Annual Conference!

Today is the last day to receive $50 off the conference rate. Register now!

Join the Consumer Voice for a truly one-of-a-kind experience that will include the best speakers in the field, many opportunities to network with your colleagues and time to interact directly with long-term care consumers.

At the 2014 Conference, you will:

  • Engage in one-on-one dialogue with consumers of long-term services and supports;
  • Get the latest policy updates directly from key experts at the federal level;
  • Learn about best practices nationwide;
  • Attend skills trainings and acquire tools and resources;
  • Leave the meeting with specific information and takeaways to help you put your systems or individual advocacy into action!

Click here for more information on the conference including the program, hotel reservations, sponsorship, awards and more!

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CMS Launches Next Phase of Quality Improvement Program

Last week, CMS awarded additional contracts as part of a restructuring the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program to create a new approach to improve care for beneficiaries, families and caregivers.  QIOs are private, mostly not-for-profit organizations staffed by doctors and other health care professionals trained to review medical care and help beneficiaries with complaints about the quality of care and to implement improvements in the quality of care available throughout the spectrum of care.  The new contracts being awarded to fourteen organizations represent the second phase of QIO restructuring. The awardees will work with providers and communities across the country on data-driven quality initiatives. These QIOs will be known as Quality Innovation Network (QIN)-QIOs. For more information, read the press release.

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Medicaid and Medicare Beneficiaries Experiencing Difficulty with CMS DMEPOS Program

People with disabilities and seniors who are on Medicare and Medicaid are experiencing difficulty getting their manual, motorized wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment repaired with the new competitive bidding process through CMS.  The Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) is charged with the implementation and oversight of the Delivery and Set-Up Guidelines for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) program. Since the rollout of the DMEPOS competitive bidding program (CBP) in July 2008, there has been confusion over what constitutes delivery and set-up of specific DMEPOS items.  In some instances, beneficiaries have experienced delays in obtaining the necessary DMEPOS items, and in other instances, beneficiaries have received items through the mail that have not been set-up or assembled. The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. is asking that anyone who has had problems or whose clients are experiencing problems send statements of their problems to: DMEPOS@medicareadvocacy.org.  For more information, read this alert from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.

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Can Good Sleep Practices Benefit Elders & Their Care?

A webinar offered next week on Tuesday, July 29 through the Pioneer Network addresses this important question.  Good sleep practices are both a day and night consideration and include getting exposure to lots of daylight and exercise as well as careful management of stimulants like caffeine, which is contained in many beverages and also in chocolate, other foods and medications.  

According to Richard Gelula, who, before he was Consumer Voice executive director, was CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, “Regular daytime sleepiness may be an effect of too much medication.  Daytime napping can help improve alertness, but too much sleep during the day reduces the drive for overnight sleep and can result in more nocturnal awakenings.”  He also said that consistent bed and wake times and eliminating unnecessary or scheduled nocturnal sleep interruptions can result in improved daytime alertness and reduce disruptive or challenging behaviors.  Gelula added that all of the same advice is also important for staff to heed for their own sleep, particularly those working overnight shifts.  He said sufficient sleep can help everyone to feel calmer and less reactive to stress.

Information on Upcoming Sleep Webinar:

Ensuring Residents Get a Good Night's Sleep, Tuesday, July 29th 2:00pm EST, Cost: $99

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Upcoming Webinars:

Meaningful Consumer Engagement: Training the Consumer, Wednesday, July 30th 2:00pm EST - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in collaboration with The Lewin Group and Community Catalyst is hosting the third webinar in the Meaningful Engagement Webinar Series.  More and more, delivery systems, including health plans and provider groups, are expected to develop consumer engagement strategies to elicit and act upon ongoing feedback from consumers and their family caregivers. The consumer voice is critical for these delivery systems to fully understand the diverse needs of its consumers as they coordinate a complex web of person-centered health care services and social supports.  This webinar will focus on the training approaches, tools and content needed to help consumers “on-board” to their new role on their health care delivery system’s consumer advisory committee. Register by Friday, July 25th.

The Changing Landscape of Assisted Living: Developments in the States, Thursday, July 31st 2:00pm EST - National Senior Citizens Law Center and the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance is holding a webinar that will present the results of a 12-state study on assisted living laws.  It will also include remarks from advocates engaged in state efforst to improve assisted living through the legislative process and an announcement about a new California-focused reform project.

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In this Issue

UPDATE: Tell the Department of Labor - Don't Delay Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

Massachusetts Passes Written Informed Consent Legislation for Psychoactive Drugs for LTC Residents

Today is the LAST DAY to get an Early Bird Discount to the Consumer Voice Annual Conference!

CMS Launches Next Phase of Quality Improvement Program

Medicaid and Medicare Beneficiaries Experiencing Difficulty with CMS DMEPOS Program

Can Good Sleep Practices Benefit Elders & Their Care?

Upcoming Webinars

A Special Thanks...

To all those who contributed to the 2014 Jackie Koenig Memorial Fund. Your donation sustains our internship program throughout the year, which provides a special contribution to the Consumer Voice's advocacy.

4.1 It CAN Be Done!

As part of our newly launched nursing home staffing campaign, Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care, Consumer Voice is advocating for a minimum of 4.1 hours of nursing care per resident per day.  To show your support of this campaign, individuals can send us a photo with the slogan "4.1 - It CAN Be Done" by tweeting us pictures @ConsumerVoices, posting on our Facebook or emailing your photos to info@theconsumervoice.org.  Get the word out and encourage consumers to participate by sending in their photos too! 

You can join the Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care campaign, learn more about the campaign's goals, access the campaign advocacy toolkit, and take action at: www.theconsumervoice.org/betterstaffing

Most recent supporters:

Nailah Newsome, Consumer Voice Intern

Calendar of Events

Tuesday, July 29: Ensuring Residents Get a Good Night's Sleep, 2:00pm EST, Cost: $99, Webinar from The Pioneer Network

Wednesday, July 30: Meaningful Consumer Engagement: Training the Consumer, 2:00pm EST, Webinar from CMS with The Lewin Group and Community Catalyst, Register by Friday, July 25th

Thursday, July 31: The Changing Landscape of Assisted Living: Developments in the States, 2:00pm EST, Webinar from the National Senior Citizens Law Center and Assisted Living Consumer Alliance

Friday, August 1: Facebook First Friday, Topic: Resident to resident altercations

Friday, August 1: Submissions due for the 2014 Resident's Voice Challenge, Email submissions to info@theconsumervoice.org

September 13-18, 2014: National Home & Community Based Services Conference, Arlington, VA

October: 2014 Residents' Rights Month, Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care

Monday, October 20: Discussing POLST with Persons with Early Alzheimer's Disease, 3:00pm EST, Webinar in yearly series from the National POLST Paradigm

November 15-18, 2014: Consumer Voice Annual Conference at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA Register now.

Provide a Scholarship to the Consumer Voice Annual Conference

Many advocates are not able to afford to attend the Consumer Voice Annual Conference to experience the best speakers in the field, opportunities to network with colleagues and time to interact directly with long-term care consumers.  This year, we have created a special giving opportunity for Scholarships.  If you are able, please give as many scholarships as you can.  We would be delighted to obtain support for an additional 50 people.  Provide a scholarship by making a donation of $295 x the number of scholarships you would like to give.  Contributors to the Consumer Voice Annual Conference receive many benefits.  For more information about contributing to the conference, click here.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Wednesday, July 16:
Experts Speak About Antipsychotic Drugs in AARP Bulletin

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Tuesday, July 15:
Former First Lady Laura Bush speaking at the US of Aging Town Hall streamed live on USATODAY.com

Long-Term Care Resources & News

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Sponsor the Gazette - Consumer Voice is now accepting sponsorship for each weekly issue of The Gazette.  As a benefit of sponsorship, the contributor may honor, remember, or thank an individual or organization.  For more information, contact Richard Gelula at rgelula@theconsumervoice.org

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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