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February 24, 2015

Announcing Residents' Rights Month 2015: CARE Matters

The Consumer Voice is pleased to announce the theme of Residents' Rights Month 2015: "CARE Matters."  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.

For this year’s Resident’s Voice Challenge, residents are encouraged to pick up their pens, dust off their typewriters or use a computer to display their writing or artistic skills by submitting essays, poems, artwork, drawings, or videos related to the theme for Residents' Rights Month 2015 "CARE Matters". Entries submitted for the Resident’s Voice Challenge will be compiled and shared in a variety of formats.  We are asking residents and consumers to submit 40 words of wisdom to coincide with the celebration of Consumer Voice’s 40th anniversary.  Some entries may appear in our “40 Words of Wisdom” book (on sale this summer).

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Consumer Voice Welcomes Changes to Nursing Home Compare Rating System; Calls for More Improvements to the System

Consumer Voice and the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) commend CMS for improvements it is making to the Nursing Home Compare Five-Star Rating System - which went live on the Nursing Home Compare website last week - and urge the agency to continue to implement additional changes needed to enhance this resource and to use its authority to improve the quality of nursing home care in the United States. Consumer Voice, LTCCC and other advocacy organizations have long been concerned that inaccuracies of the Five-Star Rating System mislead consumers who are making critical decisions about which nursing home to choose for their own care or for a loved one. Data about staffing levels, a critical factor affecting the quality of care provided to nursing home residents, and quality measure “stars” are both currently self-reported by the nursing homes and have been unaudited. CMS itself has acknowledged that the staffing data are unreliable and has been concerned about the accuracy of the information used to calculate quality measures.

For further information, read Consumer Voice's press release and read the article in USA Today, which includes quotes from Consumer Voice Director of Public Policy & Advocacy Robyn Grant.

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LTC Ombudsmen - Register Now: Webinar on Long-Term Care Ombudsman Final Rule

Join NORC on March 2, at 3:00 p.m. ET for a webinar on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman final rule. This rule guides implementation of the portions of the Older Americans Act governing grants to states for operation of Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman programs.
Presented by the Administration on Community Living staff, this webinar will provide an opportunity to review sections of the rule including:

  • Responsibilities of key figures in the system, including the Ombudsman and representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman;
  • Responsibilities of the entities in which LTC Ombudsman programs are housed;
  • Criteria for establishing consistent, person-centered approaches to resolving complaints on behalf of residents;
  • Appropriate role of LTC Ombudsman programs in resolving abuse complaints; and
  • Conflicts of interest: processes for identifying and remedying conflicts so that residents have access to effective, credible ombudsman services.

Register now.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs final rule now can be found online in the Federal Register, here.

Questions? Contact NORC at ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org.

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Resources and Recording Available from First National Advocacy Webinar

The full recording, powerpoint and related resources are now available from the February 12th webinar - Strategizing and Crafting an Effective Advocacy Message - the first in a series of four free national advocacy webinars to be conducted by the Consumer Voice. This webinar, hosted by Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, and Marybeth Williams, Public Policy Associate, taught participants how to form strategy around an advocacy issue and craft and tailor the delivery of an advocacy message to key individuals. To access the recording and resources, click here. For information on the additional upcoming free advocacy webinars, go here.

**Please note that the date has changed for the next advocacy training webinar:

Delivering Your Message in Person: The Nuts and Bolts of Meeting with a Key Decision Maker
April 29, 2015

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Elder Justice Reauthorization Act Reintroduced in Congress

Legislation has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the Elder Justice Act (EJA). H.R. 988, the Elder Justice Reauthorization Act of 2015, was introduced February 13th, 2015 by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and would extend the EJA for an additional five years. This vital law, which expired in October of 2014, was enacted by Congress in 2010 as the first federal comprehensive legislation to address elder abuse in our nation. It authorizes the development and management of federal resources to prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. It includes important requirements such as the establishment of a national Advisory Board on Elder Abuse and the establishment of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Forensic Centers, as well as the authorization of grants to long-term care ombudsmen programs and funding to state and local adult protective service offices. Unfortunately, the EJA remained unfunded by Congress until the passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget last year, which provided $4 million in funding to begin implementing some of the law's requirements.

The limitations in funding the Act have prevented most of the provisions of the EJA from being carried out, but the Fiscal Year 2015 budget was a critical step towards helping to secure additional funding for the law. The next step is to now reauthorize the Elder Justice Act's provisions so that the law will have the best chance of being further funded by Congress in the future. Stay tuned for further information from Consumer Voice on this important matter. For more information on the Elder Justice Act's provisions, visit our website here.

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Materials Available from National Legal Resource Center Webinar on Involuntary Discharge

The recording and Powerpoint are now available from National Legal Resource Center's webinar entitled "Involuntary Transfer and Discharge from Nursing Homes: Prevention, Advocacy, and Appeals."  The webinar discussed strategies and best practices for preventing and advocating for residents facing involuntary discharge from a nursing home. Consider how those strategies, best practices change/stay the same if the resident is in assisted living and reviewed best practices for supporting residents and families, identifying legal support, appealing discharge notices, and more.  Presenters included Eric Carlson, Co-Directing Attorney, National Senior Citizens Law Center, Mary Ann Parker, Attorney, DC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Lori Smetanka, Director, National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.  Access the materials here.

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Simple Thanks

At Consumer Voice, we do our work whether we are praised and thanked or not, but it’s always nice to  know that our efforts are appreciated and to receive notes like this one handwritten on a page torn from a small spiral note pad simply saying, “Thank you for the information you provide.” It was enclosed in a small envelope with a handwritten address and was accompanied by a $20 contribution.  We thank this donor.  Your thoughtfulness made our day.

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Spotlight on Giving: A Gift of Stock

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.

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Spotlight on Educational Resources

The Consumer Voice and the National Ombudsman Resource Center have a multitude of resources available online covering a wide range of long-term care topics.  Visit the Consumer Voice website and the NORC website to explore all the available resources.  Take a look at this week's highlighted resource:

Advocacy Toolkit  - The Consumer Voice has developed a useful and informative advocacy toolkit.  The toolkit includes tips on participating in town hall meetings and meetings on the Hill, builiding an action plan, and resources for developing an advocacy strategy.  Interested in learning more about advocacy? Participate in one of our national advocacy training webinars.

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In this Issue

Announcing Residents' Rights Month 2015: CARE Matters

Consumer Voice Welcomes Changes to Nursing Home Compare Rating System; Calls for More Improvements to System

LTC Ombudsmen - Register Now: Webinar on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Final Rule

Resources and Recording Available from First National Advocacy Webinar

Elder Justice Reauthorization Act Reintroduced in Congress

Materials Available from National Legal Resource Center Webinar on Involuntary Transfer and Discharge

Simple Thanks

Spotlight on Giving: A Gift of Stock

Spotlight on Educational Resources

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!

Calendar of Events

Wednesday April 29: Delivering Your Message in Person: The Nuts and Bolts of Meeting with a Key Decision Maker, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Tuesday, June 30: Delivering Your Message: Utilizing Both Traditional Approaches and Social Media, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

Thursday, August 27: How to Grow, Support, and Activate Your Network, Advocacy skills training webinar from the Consumer Voice

October: Residents' Rights Month, CARE Matters

Your Car Can Help Promote Quality Care

Do you, a loved one or friend have a car that you or they would like to dispose of?  Now, Consumer Voice can help – and your used car can help Consumer Voice!  By working with our car disposal agency, Vehicle Donation to Any Charity (V-DAC), the proceeds from the sale of your car become a contribution to Consumer Voice.  

Note: We are actually registered with the service as “NCCNHR” so when asked which charity you would like to benefit, just say or type in “NCCNHR.”

Here is a link to our page on the V-DAC site http://v-dac.com/org?id=52-1122531 and you can get started there – or just call 877-999-8322 toll free.   And to discuss your donation with Consumer Voice, just write to us at info@theconsumervoice.org or call (202) 332-2275 x209

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Thursday, February 19:
Texas State Ombudsman, Patty Ducayet, speaking today at the first regional forum in Tampa, FL for the 2015 White House Conferenc eon Aging.

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Thursday, February 19
Rep. Schakowsky has introduced H.R. 952 to require round-the-clock RN coverage in nursing homes. Help us support it!

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

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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 © 2015.

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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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