Spread the word » Facebook Twitter

For more information on how to sponsor an issue of The Gazette, contact rgelula@theconsumervoice.org

September 16, 2014

Consumer Voice Calls on CMS to Enforce Nursing Home Laws, Regulations that Protect Residents and Promote Quality, Humane Care

The Consumer Voice has called upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enforce the nation’s laws and regulations that require nursing homes to ensure the provision of quality and humane care. In a letter sent to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Consumer Voice identified key problems with the current enforcement system that negatively impacts the health, safety and well-being of residents.

In its letter to CMS, Consumer Voice made four recommendations to improve the nursing home enforcement system and requested a meeting with Administrator Tavenner to address its concerns and recommendations. 
The recommendations include:

  • Creating an Office of Enforcement at CMS headed by an “Enforcement Czar” and staffed with enforcement experts.
  • Requiring an entity outside of CMS to conduct periodic, independent audits of surveys from across the country.
  • Changing State Operations Manual guidance and state standard performance guidance to hold states more accountable for their survey and enforcement duties.
  • Significantly increasing transparency and disclosure of enforcement information.
For more information, read the letter and Consumer Voice's press release.

Back to Top

Reminder: Help Increase RN Staffing in Nursing Homes; Ask Your Congressperson to Co-Sponsor 24-Hr RN Bill

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has introduced a bill  - H.R. 5373 - calling for nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on duty 24 hours a day/7 days a week! Currently, federal law only requires nursing homes receiving Medicaid and/or Medicare funding to have a RN on duty 8 hours a day/7 days a week.

Thanks to everyone who has written into their U.S. Representative to ask for his or her co-sponsorship of this important bill! The bill currently has four co-sponsors and continues to need your advocacy. For those who have not taken action, please ask your member of the House of Representatives to sponsor H.R. 5373 today!

Getting as many cosponsors as possible will help the legislation get off to a strong start. The more sponsors there are – particularly when they are both Republicans and Democrats – the more likely other House members will be to support the bill as it moves forward.

You can ask your Congressperson to support the bill by just clicking here. It’s quick and easy.

Back to Top

FTC Launches Pass It On Campaign

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission officially launched its Pass It On campaign.  Pass It On encourages older adults to help raise awareness about fraud by talking to their family, friends, and neighbors about avoiding common scams. The updated website now features “campaign materials” which make it easy to promote Pass It On.  In addition, the website now includes PowerPoint presentations on each of the six scams – imposter scams, identity theft, charity fraud, health care scams, “paying too much,” and “you’ve won” scams.  It still has all of the bookmarks, activities and articles that you can order in bulk, for free.  For more information, read the press release.

Back to Top

The Fenwick Foundation Provides Ways Residents Can "Get Out of the House"

The Fenwick Foundation is a non-profit organization, started in 2011 by Tom Fonseca.  It provides recreational, social and educational activities, events, and support programs to organizations and facilities in Northern Virginia that provide care for seniors, physically or intellectually challenged individuals, veterans, and/or other individuals who might benefit from its efforts. The Foundation sponsors event opportunities by "adopting" an organization and sponsoring 1-3 events per month, every month. Some sponsored activities include attendance at sporting events, performing arts events and educational events.  The Foundation also brings programs to facilities for those who are unable to get out to an event.  For more information visit www.thefenwickfoundation.org or visit them on Facebook.

Back to Top

Free Webinar for LTC Ombudsmen on LGBT Aging

Note that this webinar is only available for long-term care ombudsmen.

Long-term care ombudsman, join us Wednesday, October 1 at 3:00pm EST for a free webinar entitled "Introduction to LGBT Aging."  Hear Tim Johnston, PhD, Manager of Education and Training for SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders), provide an introduction to LGBT aging. Attendees will learn about the culture, needs and concerns of LGBT older adults, consider why LGBT older adults are less likely to access health and social services, and identify best practices and tools for helping LGBT older adults to feel more included.

This webinar is free and open to State and Local Long-Term Care Ombudsmen only. Registration is limited.  To maximize participation, we ask that individuals from the same organization share a phone line and only register one person.

Register Today!

Can’t make this webinar? It will be recorded and posted on the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center website.  Questions? Contact us at ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org.

Back to Top

Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass Contracted to Operate Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) has contracted with the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass (NHOA), based in Lexington, KY, to operate the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program throughout the state.  Sherry Culp has been named State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, effectively immediately. The Kentucky DAIL stated that the Administration for Community Living recently clarified conflict of interest requirements within the Older Americans Act.   The state unit on aging (DAIL) is required to ensure the long-term care ombudsman program can exercise independence in action, free from significant influence by any organization which may intefere with an impartial investigation and/or resolution of complaints.  Since DAIL provides guardianship services to many residents of long-term care facilities and other agencies within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services regulate, investigate and pay long-term care facilities, the DAIL is placing the long-term care ombudsman program outside of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Back to Top

12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

This is the latest entry in our 12 week series.

#5: Learn About Best Practices Nationwide

Connect with advocates from across the country and learn best practices and tips you can integrate into your own advocacy.  Advocates, residents, ombudsmen, and others come from all over the nation to share their strategies and words of advice on dealing with a variety of long-term care issues.  Attend the Consumer Voice Conference to network and gain important knowledge.

#4: Attend a White House Conference on Aging Listening Session

White House Conference on Aging Executive Director Nora Super has been invited to a listening session during the Consumer Voice Conference.

#3: Meet Elma Holder

Meet Consumer Voice Founder Elma Holder! Elma will be holding two dialogue sessions with conference participants.  Refer to the conference agenda for more information.

#2: Visit Legislators on the Hill

The Consumer Voice's Marybeth Williams, Public Policy Associate, will lead a group of advocates on Hill visits. Register for the conference, then sign-up for the Hill visits by emailing Marybeth at mwilliams@theconsumervoice.org

#1: Get Advocacy Training

Attend the Consumer Voice Annual Conference and experience one of a kind advocacy skills training and acquire important resources and tools.

Find more information and register for the conference.

Stay tuned for 7 more reasons to attend the Consumer Voice Annual Conference...

Return to Top

Resources Available for CDC's National Preparedness Month

Many resources are available online for this year's National Preparedness Month.  This year's theme is "Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare."  Find a list of CDC's online disaster preparedness materials here.  Download the 2014 National Preparedness Month toolkit here and learn more at: www.ready.gov/september.  Plus, follow the CDC's Facebook, Twitter and blog during September for information on National Preparedness Month happenings.

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center has a slew of emergency preparedness resources available online including emergency planning checklists, resources for ombudsman and advocates, ombudsman activities, information from other states and ombudsman best practices.  Click here for those resources.

Back to Top

In this Issue

Consumer Voice Calls on CMS to Enforce Nursing Home Laws, Regulations that Protect Residents and Promote Quality, Humane Care

Reminder: Help Increase RN Staffing in Nursing Homes; Ask Your Congressperson to Co-Sponsor 24-Hr RN Bill

FTC Launches Pass It On Campaign

The Fenwick Foundation Provides Ways Residents Can "Get Out of the House"

Free Webinar for LTC Ombudsmen on LGBT Aging

Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass Contracted to Operate the Kentucky State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

Resources Available for CDC's National Preparedness Month

Special Alert: RN Bill - What You Can Do

On July 31st, Rep. Jan Schakowsky introduced legislation to require nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on duty around the clock, not just eight hours a day.  She noted that hospitals are releasing patients to nursing care with more medical needs than ever – and qualified healthcare is necessary around the clock.  Her Bill, HR 5373, would fix a problem that goes back decades and long before the 1987 Nursing Home Reform law: nursing homes need nurses!

Adequate staffing is critical to achieving quality long-term care – and Consumer Voice is dedicated to that goal.  We are doing all we can to focus on staffing and particularly to support Rep. Schakowsky’s bill.  This is a great opportunity.  Please help us help all long-term care consumers by making a contribution today to our Special RN Campaign.  Your help will make a difference.

4.1 It CAN Be Done!

As part of our 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:

Consumer Voice Public Policy Associate Marybeth Williams

Calendar of Events

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

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

Wednesday, October 1: Introduction to LGBT Aging, 3:00pm EST, Free NORC webinar for long-term care ombudsmen

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.

Support the Consumer Voice While You Shop Online!

Enroll in Amazon Smile and benefit Consumer Voice every time you shop online.  Signing up is easy.  Simply go to smile.amazon.com and input “NCCNHR” as your charity of choice.

The shopping experience at Amazon Smile, the selection of products and their prices are all exactly the same as on Amazon.com.  Your Amazon Prime discounts are carried over, too.  The only difference is that once you enroll and select “NCCNHR” .5% of every purchase will be donated by the company to Consumer Voice.

Note: A one-touch button is offered for your browser so you easily go to the Amazon Smile website.  For more information about Amazon Smile, click here.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Wednesday, September 10:
CMS Memorandum emphasizes that a discharge assessment must be completed when a resident is transferred to a non-certified bed, Read the memorandum

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Friday, September 12:
U.S. Attorney in California Files Complaint Against Nursing Homes for Overmedicating Residents

Long-Term Care Resources & News

Read past issues of The Gazette here.

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 below. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to info@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2014.

If you did not receive The Gazette through a subscription, but would like to join our mailing list to receive future issues, click here.

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.

Click here to unsubscribe