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October 15, 2014

Update on the 24-Hr RN Bill

We have reported that Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced critical legislation – H.R. 5373, the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act – on July 31st, 2014.  Her bill calls for nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on duty 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Currently, federal law requires nursing homes receiving Medicaid and/or Medicare funding to have a RN on duty only 8 hours a day/7 days a week.  This is not sufficient to meet the increasing care needs of residents and ensure that quality care is being provided within these settings. H.R. 5373 is an important component of the Consumer Voice Better Staffing, The Key to Better Care campaign.

As part of our efforts to support the bill, we reached out to our action network over the summer asking for individuals to write to their U.S. Representatives and request that they co-sponsor the bill. Thanks to our network, over 500 messages of support for the legislation were sent to members of the House of Representatives! Currently, H.R. 5373 has four Democratic sponsors.  The next objective in our advocacy efforts will be to make the legislation bipartisan so that it will have a greater chance of moving forward in Congress. We will be reaching out to members of our action network with Republican representatives on key House committees asking for their help in contacting their members about H.R. 5373, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, if you have not written to your U.S. Representative asking him or her to sponsor the bill, please do so by clicking here. Would you like to be a part of the Consumer Voice Action Network? Click here to sign up.

Advocacy to achieve round the clcok RN care in nursing homes is requiring a special effort at Consumer Voice.  You can show your support for our efforts by making your contribution here.

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Department of Labor Announces Non-Enforcement Policy for Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

A little over a year ago, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced a final rule that extended minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers.  The Department of Labor announced that the effective date for the home care final rule will remain January 1, 2015. The department also announced a time-limited, non-enforcement policy with respect to the requirements under the rule. For six months, from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, the department will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who fails to comply with a Fair Labor Standards Act obligation newly imposed by the rule.  For more information on the non-enforcement policy, click here.

Note: Consumer Voice advocated for the extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to all home care workers and opposed any delay in its implementation or enforcement.

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Possible Legislation Would Allow Cameras in Nursing Home Rooms

In Illinois, the attorney general is drafting legislation that would allow residents and their families to put cameras in their rooms in the state's nursing homes.  Supporters of the regulation believe that the presence of the cameras, installed by families, would help prevent abuse. The Illinois attorney general said, "When people know they're being watched, most will behave properly.  For too long, there's been nobody watching."  If the cameras don't deter abusers, the video recordings would be admissable in court.

Consumer Voice Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Robyn Grant was quoted: "I think there's a place for (cameras). But no one should think of cameras as a substitute for being there, communicating with the staff, monitoring, seeing things with your own eyes."  For more information, read the article in The New York Times.

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12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

This is the latest entry in our 12 week series.

#8: Attend special dialogues and breakout sessions on important issues

The Consumer Voice Annual Conference is a one-of-a-kind event that uniquely focuses on advocacy, policy and practical considerations to achieve quality long-term care.  Everyone there attends for this purpose and to share information, creating support for quality long-term care across the U.S.

During the conference, a variety of dialogues, meetings and breakout sessions will cover a wide range of long-term care topics.  Special events include:

Discussion with Dick Weinman - Meet the author and producer of The Thin Edge of Dignity, Dick Weinman - an assisted living resident from Oregon

LTCO Volunteer Management Dialogue - Speak with other ombudsmen about best practices for managing volunteers

Residents' Luncheon - Connect with long-term care consumers about issues that affect them

Find a complete updated agenda here.

Click here for more reasons to attend the Consumer Voice Conference.

Once you have registered for the conference, don't forget to make your hotel reservation in the Consumer Voice Annual Conference room block! The special room rate (as low as $149/night) is only available until Thursday, October 16 or until the group block is sold out, so book now!

For more information about the Annual Conference, click here.
We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!

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Extendicare Health Services to Pay Record $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Extendicare Health Services Inc. (Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (ProStep) have agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to resolve allegations that the company billed Medicare and Medicaid for substandard nursing services in its nursing homes as well as for medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services. The Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) jointly announced the resolution on Friday, October 11th, which is the largest failure of care settlement with a chain-wide skilled nursing facility in the department’s history. According to Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Daley: "Our seniors rely on the Medicare and Medicaid programs to provide them with quality care, ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable. It is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain ahead of the needs of their residents.” You can read more details of the settlement here.

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Annual Rights Rally Held in Arkansas

To celebrate Residents' Rights Month 2014, Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents held their 11th annual Rights Rally. Speakers were invited to share personal stories and attorney general candidates were given the opportunity to tell voters what they would do to ensure rights for nursing home residents if elected.  For more information, read the article in Arkansas Matters.

To see more photos from this event and to find more information and resources from Residents' Rights Month 2014, click here.

Send us details about your Residents' Rights Month news and events to info@theconsumervoice.org.

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Infection Prevention for LTC Consumers

Flu season is upon us again, and it is important be aware of special considerations for consumers of long-term care.  Individuals in long-term care settings are especially vulnerable to healthcare-associated infections.  Germs can be spread from resident to resident on unclean hands of long-term care personnel as well as through the improper use of equipment.  For resources on infection prevention, visit NORC's website.

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White House Conference on Aging Website is Live

The White House Conference on Aging website has gone live: whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.  The website includes descriptions of the issues that will be discussed, FAQs, ways to get involved, and a place to sign up for email updates.  The White House Conference on Aging has selected long-term care services and supports as a conference topic.

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Upcoming Webinars from the National Nursing Home Social Work Network

Tuesday, October 21st
2:00 - 3:00pm EST
Communicating with Families: Addressing and Documenting Outcomes
Presenters: Paige Hector, LMSW  (Paige Ahead Healthcare Education & Consulting, L.L.C)
Tra Beicher, RNC, ARM, HRM, CWS, Author of the book, “Defensive Documentation for Long-term Care:  Strategies for Creating a More Lawsuit-proof Resident Record”
Thursday,  December 11th
3:00 – 4:00pm  EST
Substance Abuse
Webinar will focus on residents but will also cover family and staff substance abuse
Presenter: Lori Nisson, LCSW (Behavioral Health Specialists)

Register for free here.

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In this Issue

Update on the 24-Hr RN Bill

Department of Labor Announces Non-Enforcement Policy for Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

Possible Legislation Would Allow Cameras in Nursing Home Rooms

12 Reasons to Attend the 38th Annual Consumer Voice Conference

Extendicare Health Services to Pay Record $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Annual Rights Rally Held in Arkansas

Infection Prevention for LTC Consumers

White House Conference on Aging Website is Live

Upcoming Webinars from the National Nursing Home Social Work Network

It's Residents' Rights Month!

In October, advocates across the country are celebrating Residents' Rights Month 2014.

  • Visit our website to find residents' rights resources and activities and to find updates on how advocates and consumers across the country are celebrating.
  • Purchase Residents' Rights Month products including this year's fantastic calendar!
  • Read what residents' rights mean to residents nationwide in our Resident's Voice Challenge.
  • Let us know how you are celebrating by emailing event details, photos and news stories to info@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

Featured supporter:

Consumer Voice Project Consultant Tina Steier

Calendar of Events

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

Tuesday, October 21: Communicating with Families: Addressing and Documenting Outcomes, 2:00pm EST, Webinar from The National Nursing Home Social Work Network

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

Thursday, December 11: Substance Abuse, 3:00pm EST, Webinar from The National Nursing Home Social Work Network

Your Consumer Voice Membership Shows Your Support for Quality Long-Term Care

The Consumer Voice envisions a world in which all consumers of long-term care, services and supports are treated with respect and dignity.  As we work to achieve this goal, we need friends and advocates like you to join us in our fight to achieve quality services for all long-term care consumers.  There is strength in numbers, and when there are many of us and our voice is strong, only then do we achieve our mission of empowering consumers and bringing about quality of life and quality care for all people receiving long-term care, services and supports.  That is why we need your help - become a member of the Consumer Voice!

Join now and receive a SPECIAL OFFER - your membership will not expire until December 2015 - That's 3 months FREE!

Go to www.theconsumervoice.org/join to become a member.
Questions about membership? Contact info@theconsumervoice.org

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.

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

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.

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.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Tuesday, October 7:
President Obama signed into law the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 which included $11 million to fund the development of a system for collection of nursing home staffing levels through verifiable payroll data. Read more.

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Tuesday, October 7
From the @nytimes, 'Medicare Revises Nursing Home Rating System'

Long-Term Care Resources & News

Read past issues of The Gazette here.

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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 below. 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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