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This issue of The Gazette is sponsored by consumer Liz Tidyman to promote awareness of the CMS NEMB-SNF form (CMS 20014).
When there is no three-day qualifying hospital stay, this form notifies residents of the amount of noncovered charges and the right to have all charges billed to Medicare.  A Medicare denial may be needed to activate other insurance benefits.

September 23, 2014

Government Goals Do Too Little to End Misuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

The Consumer Voice has published a press release in response to the CMS announcement of new goals for reducing antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.  The Consumer Voice, along with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, California Advocates for Nursing Home Care, and Long Term Care Community Coalition, stated that CMS's incremental goals to reduce rampant misuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes are doing too little to protect elderly residents.  In a July 28 letter to CMS, the advocacy groups say that the goals, which many nursing homes ignore with impunity, will "not meaningfully improve current drugging practices."  

CMS challenged nursing homes to reduce antipsychotics by 15 percent by the end of 2012.  While the goal was not reached until December 2013, a full year after the target date, CMS did not step up enforcement against facilities that violate long-standing regulations that prohibit the use of unnecessary drugs and chemical restraints.  Instead, it announced it would initiatie a new round of goal-setting.  The consumer groups said when CMS set the initial 15 percent goal and extended it by a year when providers failed to meet that goal, it sent a message that a great deal of misuse is acceptable.  The advocates asked, "How much more time do nursing homes need to learn how to provide basic care to residents?  Every day we go without significantly greater antipsychotic reductions is a failure to the hundreds of thousands of residents whose lives are diminished and curtailed by the continued, well-documented overuse of antipsychotics."

Read the press release here.  Read the letter here.

Earlier this month in California, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a civil False Claims Act complaint against two nursing homes for overmedicating residents.  The complaint alleged that the for-profit entities that own the nursing homes "persistently and severely overmedicated elderly and vulnerable residents of the nursing homes."  For more information, read the press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The Consumer Voice is actively fighting to end the misuse of antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints.  For more information, visit our website.

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Residents' Rights Month Begins Next Week!

Residents' Rights Month is an annual event designated by the Consumer Voice and is celebrated in October to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, sub-acute units, assisted living, board and care and retirement communities. It is a time for celebration and recognition offering an opportunity for every facility to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the value of each individual resident. The theme for Residents' Rights Month 2014 is, "Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care" with the goal of encouraging residents and others to be educated about staffing and long-term care. 

Resources available on our website:

Each year, the Consumer Voice develops a packet to help you plan your Residents’ Rights events. The packet is completely downloadable and features ready-to-use items, including promotional materials, activities to celebrate Residents' Rights Month, training tools and resources.  Find this year's Residents' Rights Month packet on our website.

Send a letter-to-the-editor:

Promote Residents' Rights Month awareness in your state by sending a letter-to-the-editor to your local media outlet.  Use our easy tool to urge your state to get involved!

Purchase Residents' Rights Month Products:

Residents' Rights Month products are available for sale in our online store.  This year's products include:

Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care Keychain

"I Love Residents' Rights" Bumper Sticker

Stay tuned for other products, including this year's Residents' Rights Month calendar. 

Send us details about your events:

If you are planning Residents' Rights Month activities or your activities have been featured by your local media, let us know! Please send details on events, photos, and news articles to info@theconsumervoice.org and your info will be featured on our website.

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Special Opportunity to Help Advance the 24 Hour RN Bill

An opportunity has occurred to improve nursing home quality.  Congresswoman Jen Schakowsky’s bill, the “Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act" - H.R. 5373 would require nursing homes to have a RN on duty around the clock, not just eight hours a day, the current government standard.

The 24 Hour RN Bill is an excellent opportunity for all long-term care advocates because after years of playing “defense,” it gives us an opportunity to go on the offense and expand recognition of what it takes to achieve quality care.

To advance the 24 Hour RN bill, we need to ask you to please make a special contribution to Consumer Voice.  We are putting our time into this effort – working with Rep. Schakowsky’s staff, communicating about the bill, reaching out to organizations that should support the bill, drumming up grassroots and media support, and much more.

Take Action by making a special donation to our effort to advance the bill and asking your representative to support 24 hour RN coverage in nursing homes.

For more information:

  • Read a message from our Founder, Elma Holder
  • Read Rep. Schakowsky’s concise press release announcing the bill
  • Visit the Consumer Voice's website

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IOM Releases Report on Quality of Life Near the End of Life

The Institute of Medicine has released a report entitled "Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life."  In the report, a committee of experts finds that improving the quality and availability of medical and social services for patients and their families could not only enhance quality of life through the end of life, but may also contribute to a more sustainable care system.  The report's findings and recommendations include information on: delivery of person-centered, family oriented care; clinician-patient communication and advance care planning; professional education and development; policies and payment systems; and public education and engagement. Read the report.

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Today is National Voter Registration Day

September 23rd is National Voter Registration Day! Residents of long-term care facilities have the right to participate in the American political process.  Residents do not lose their right to vote because of where they live.  Residents can participate in elections nationally, state-wide and locally.  During National Voter Registration Day, be sure you are registered to vote and encourage residents and consumers in your community to register as well.

The theme of Residents' Rights Month 2012 was "My Voice, My Vote, My Right."  As a part of RRM 2012, the Consumer Voice developed several helpful fact sheets regarding residents and voting:

For more information about residents and consumers voting, visit the Residents' Rights Month 2012 page.

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Upcoming Webinar:

Suicide Prevention and Older Adults, September 29th 1:00pm EST - Older adults die by suicide at a higher rate than the national average and when older adults attempt suicide, they are more likely to die.  Prevention is key to reducing suicide risk among older adults.  This webinar from the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging will discuss risk factors for suicide, screening tools, and effective prevention interventions.

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12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

This is the latest entry in our 12 week series.

#6: Engage in one-on-one dialogue with consumers

At the Consumer Voice Conference, you will have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with consumers of long-term care services and supports.  Engage personally with those who you advocate for everyday.  Learn personal stories to inform and fuel your advocacy work once you return home.

#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.

#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 6 more reasons to attend the Consumer Voice Annual Conference...

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Order "Nursing Homes: Getting Good Care There"

This helpful guide to nursing home care is available as an e-book or as a print publication with a soft cover.  The e-book (or Kindle version) is available for download anytime from the Consumer Voice Store.  However, we just sold out of the soft cover version so if you, your agency or class would like to consider making a bulk order (25 or more), please let us know as we are planning our next printing.  The deadline is September 30, 2014.  And remember, CV members are entitled to a discount.  Contact info@theconsumervoice.org with questions.

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In this Issue

Government Goals Do Too Little to End Misuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

Residents' Rights Month Begins Next Week!

Special Opportunity to Help Advance the 24 Hour RN Bill

IOM Releases Report on Quality of Life Near the End of Life

Today is National Voter Registration Day

Upcoming Webinar

12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

Order "Nursing Homes: Getting Good Care There"

Free Webinar for LTC Ombudsmen on LGBT Aging

Long-term care ombudsman, join us Wednesday, October 1 at 3:00pm EST for a 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

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:

NORC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program & Policy Associate Alia Murphy

Calendar of Events

Monday, September 29: Suicide Prevention and Older Adults, 1:00pm EST, Webinar from NCOA Center for Healthy Aging

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.

Making Charitable Contributions At Work?

If you are making charitable contributions through payroll deduction, please ask how you can "designate" your contribution to Consumer Voice.  Even if Consumer Voice is not listed as part of a workplace campaign, there is often an option to make a contribution to the charity of your choice.  All you have to do is ask how you can make a contribution to Consumer Voice.

If you are giving to the Combined Federal Campaign, the charity number for Consumer Voice is #10552.

Sometimes, you will have to use "NCCNHR" instead of Consumer Voice as your designated charity since that is how our organization is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.  In either case, the contribution should reach our organization.

Thank you for considering making a payroll contribution in support of our efforts of achieving quality long-term care.  If you have any questions or suggestions, contact us at info@theconsumervoice.org or by phone at 202-332-2275.

September is 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." Download the 2014 National Preparedness Month toolkit here and learn more at: www.ready.gov/september.

Also, check out the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center's a many emergency preparedness resources available online.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Monday, September 22:
Consumer Voice founder, Elma Holder, endorses our campaign to "put a registered nurse in every nursing home" Read her letter. Make a contribution to the campaign.

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Thursday, September 18:
New @theIOM report: Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life

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.

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