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December 16, 2014

Congress Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Including Funding to Benefit Long-Term Care Consumers

Late Saturday night, Congress passed the omnibus spending bill,  H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2015, and sent it to the President to be signed. This fiscal spending bill continues funding for the federal government through Fiscal Year 2015 and includes a first time  appropriation for the Elder Justice Initiative and increased money for the survey and certification program.  While there are controversial provisions in the bill, Consumer Voice had urged its network to support the bill for its benefits to long-term care consumers. Many thanks to all of you who contacted your members of Congress last week.

This legislation appropriates $4 million for Elder Justice Initiative activities including the creation of an Adult Protective Services (APS) National Data System, the development of APS program standards, and the support of evidence-based research regarding elder abuse. This work will assist in strengthening adult protective services nationwide. As many may know, the Elder Justice Initiative is part of the Elder Justice Act that was signed into law in 2010 but has never been funded. Obtaining $4 million for these critical elder justice activities is an important step in helping to secure additional funding in the future. In addition, the final bill increases funding for state survey and certification activities at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by roughly $22 million, which includes oversight and inspection of nursing homes. Currently, state survey activities are woefully underfunded and have not been granted additional funding by Congress for a number of years. This additional funding is greatly needed in order to better protect nursing home residents.

Consumer Voice commends Congress for the inclusion of vital funding to aid long-term care consumers in its final budget for Fiscal Year 2015 and will continue to advocate for increased funding for programs benefiting long-term care consumers in the upcoming year. We also thank our network for your continued support of these critical issues!

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The Time Is Now

Your support makes the difference, the difference in whether there is a voice for consumers of long-term care services, and  whether there is an organization to fight for the rights, dignity and well-being of millions of long-term care consumers.  Your support determines how many issues Consumer Voice can address, how hard we can fight and how long we can stay in the fight.

Please make the most generous contribution that you can to Consumer Voice.

The Combined Federal Campaign has been extended at many federal agencies.  To contribute to Consumer Voice, use CFC# 10552.

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Advocate's Guide to Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud Available

The National Center for Victims of Crime has released "Taking Action: An Advocate's Guide to Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud." This guide is designed to provide advocates with practical victim-centered resources to help navigate the various options available for reporting crimes, protecting other assets and preventing re-victimization. It also offers advice on how to assist with mental and – where possible – financial recovery. This guide is free and available to download or to order a hard copy.

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Share Best Practices During the Holidays

Recently, we asked our supporters on Facebook to share their best practices for making the holidays a positive experience for those who depend upon long-term services and supports.  Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions.  If you would like to add to the discussion, visit our Facebook page.

  • Make plans that are inclusive of everyone, including caregivers.
  • Plan ahead and ask the person what their preference for activities would be - Would they like to stay home or go out? Would they like to have a quiet place to rest or would they like to be a part of the hustle and bustle?
  • The best gift is your time - Sitting and talking (or listening) can be the best way to make time together positive and special.
  • If you take your loved one out of their community, be especially aware of extra care needs, including precautions to prevent falls.
  • Gift ideas: Good quality socks with grippers; good lotion in small bottles; nice hairbrushes, combs and toothbrushes; good quality pillows, blankets, sheets and pajamas; music with headphones; a bulletin board for cards and pictures; photo albums.

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AARP Blog Hightlights Family Caregiving Changes, Challenges

Not only are more people living longer than ever before, but as they age and become frail, many have healthcare needs that are much greater than helping someone to dress and be safe. What's more, with the majority of women in the workforce and lower birthrates, there are far fewer potential family caregivers at the very time that the number of people needing support is increasing.  In her AARP blog, Lynn Friss Feinberg reviews these trends and calls for new policies that establish community-based long-term care and family support options, including a larger and high-quality paid workforce to provide supportive services, and programs that provide the means to help working families to pay for necessary care.

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Consumer Voice 2015 Calendar Makes a Great Holiday Gift!

The Consumer Voice  has created a unique and one-of-a-kind 2015 calendar.  The calendar would make a great gift to show your appreciation to friends, family, residents, staff members, volunteers, co-workers and anyone else who shares your passion for quality care and supports residents' rights.  The 12-month calendar (beginning January 2015) supports the Consumer Voice's "Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care" campaign with photos, quotes, poems and artwork from long-term care consumers and staff members.  The focus of the calendar is better staffing with resident comments centering around what staffing means to them, how staff members have helped them, and how staffing can be improved in their facility; plus special focus on nursing home regulations that highlight quality care.

Buy now!

Peek inside -

These calendars make great holiday gifts!
Buy now - the special price of $14 has been extended through the holidays!

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Study Finds that Alzheimer's-Related Costs Will Explode as Baby Boomers Get Older

In a recent study from the University of Southern California Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics found that as baby boomers get older "the financial burden of Alzheimer's disease on the United States will skyrocket from $307 billion annually to $1.5 trillion." The study also found that the number of individuals 70+ with Alzheimer's will increase from 3.6 to 9.1 million from 2010 to 2050.  Annual per-person costs of the disease is expected to double by 2050. Find out more.

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Collect Nursing Home Campaign Staffing Postcards!

The deadline for our contest to see who can collect the most nursing home campaign staffing postcards has been extended to January 31, 2015.  While we will continue to collect staffing postcards after that date, the contest will end.  So this is your chance to win a $100 gift card!

The Nursing Home Staffing Campaign postcards feature brief information on why nursing homes need more staff and federal law that needs to be changed.  Advocates, consumers, family members, staff, and volunteers can fill out the backside of the postcard to add their voice to the cause.

You can obtain staffing postcards from the Consumer Voice office by contacting Amanda Celentano at acelentano@theconsumervoice.org or at 202-332-2275, ext. 204, or by going online at  http://theconsumervoice.org/uploads/files/issues/Staffing-Campaign-Postcard.pdf.  Postcards are free, but there is a shipping charge (100 postcards -  shipping $10; 300 postcards - shipping $13; 500 postcards - shipping $13).  

Staffing postcards will be sorted by members of Congress and hand delivered by Consumer Voice staff.

Help us tell Congress that nursing homes need more staff!

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In this Issue

Congress Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Including Funding to Benefit Long-Term Care Consumers

The Time Is Now

Advocate's Guide to Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud Available

Share Best Practices During the Holidays

AARP Blog Highlights Caregiving Changes, Challenges

Consumer Voice 2015 Calendar Makes a Great Holiday Gift!

Study Finds that Alzheimer's-Related Costs Will Explode as Baby Boomers Get Older

Collect Nursing Home Campaign Staffing Postcards!

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

Calendar of Events

Thursday, December 25-Thursday, January 1: Consumer Voice offices are closed.  If you need immediate assistance, contact your local ombudsman office.

Support Consumer Voice While You Shop Online During the Holidays

You can now shop on Amazon while supporting the Consumer Voice!  Consumer Voice is now listed as a part of AmazonSmile, an easy and automatic way to support Consumer Voice every time you shop, at no cost to you.  The Consumer Voice receives a donation of a portion of the purchase price every time you make a purchase.  All Amazon purchases cost the same as they normally would.  

To shop at AmazonSmile, click this link or go to smile.amazon.com and input "NCCNHR" as your charity of choice.  For simpler shopping, you can install a one-touch button on your browser, so you can easily return to AmazonSmile to shop and support the Consumer Voice. For more information about AmazonSmile, click here.  Begin shopping now at smile.amazon.com!

Planning on shopping online on Cyber Monday? Continue in the spirit of giving and donate to Consumer Voice on Giving Tuesday! After you contribute, use #GivingTuesday on Facebook and Twitter to encourage others to give too!

Did You Know?

If you make a tribute contribution in honor of an individual or organization, or in memory of a person, we will send the appropriate contact an acknowledgment recognizing your contribution (but not the amount).  All you have to do is supply their mailing address.  And you will also receive a donation receipt, too.

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 31, 2015!

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

A Gift of Stock is a Win-Win for the Donor and for Consumer Voice

It is great when the value of an asset increases, but when such assets are owned outside of a retirement plan people are subject to capital gains tax on the asset’s appreciation or increase in value.  Making a gift of the asset – often a stock or other security – to Consumer Voice eliminates the capital gains tax on the holding.  Additionally, the gift may be recognized as a charitable donation and may result in a tax deduction for the full appreciated value of the asset. 

So, the donor wins in two ways – by avoiding capital gains tax and receiving a charitable gift deduction.  And Consumer Voice wins by obtaining your contribution and using it to support our programs of long-term care advocacy and education. If you would like to make a gift of stock or other security, contact rgelula@theconsumervoice.org.

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Tuesday, November 9:
The second of two NPR reports on overuse and unwarranted use of antipsychotic drugs to treat behavioral symptoms of nursing home residents with dementia and other conditions.  "Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized for Oversedating Patients"

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Thursday, December 11
H.R. 83 includes important funds for elder justice activities & nursing home surveys (inspections). Ask your members to support today!

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.

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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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