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August 25, 2015

Appeals Court Decision Guarantees Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

Last Friday, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia confirmed that home care workers will now qualify for minimum wage and overtime protections.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has led an implementation program to help employers prepare for compliance, including offering an extensive and individualized technical assistance program, providing a 15-month period before the effective date, and adopting a time-limited non-enforcement policy.  The rule will benefit home care employees whose work merits fundamental wage guarantees and for recipients of services, who deserve a stable and professional workforce allowing them to remain in their homes and communities.  Read the full statement by DOL here.

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Sign the petition to ban the use of arbitration agreements in nursing homes!

We need your help! Public Citizen – a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization – has drafted a petition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), asking for the agency to ban the use of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. The petition is gaining support swiftly. Please add your voice to the thousands of others who have already spoken out on this critical issue!

As you may be aware, CMS recently released its proposed revisions to the federal nursing home regulations.  As part of its proposed rule, CMS asked for comments on the issue of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

Arbitration is a process in which a dispute – such as a dispute regarding poor care, abuse or neglect – is settled by one or more arbitrators who decide the outcome instead of a jury made up of members of the community. “Pre-dispute” arbitration means that the consumer must agree to arbitration before any dispute arises.

Pre-dispute arbitration agreements force individuals to make a decision without any information at all about the dispute, even in cases of alleged severe neglect, serious injuries or death.  This decision must be made at the time of admission, a very stressful time for consumers and their families, when it is difficult to anticipate or even imagine the occurrence of serious harm or poor care. Once signed, pre-dispute, forced arbitration agreements strip individuals of their constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Click here to sign Public Citizen’s petition calling on CMS to ban the use of pre-dispute, forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts as part of its revisions to the federal nursing home regulations.

Thank you for your advocacy!

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Join Our Leadership Council and Make a Difference

Consumer Voice is accepting applications for its Leadership Council!

The Leadership Council is a part of the organization's governing structure that focuses on public policy and program agenda development and implementation.  The Consumer Voice also has a Governing Board, which focuses on organizational oversight, fiscal management, and fund development.

For the Leadership Council, Consumer Voice is looking for thoughtful leaders who can help us expand our influence and achieve goals such as raising the voice of long-term care consumers in national policy discussions, advancing quality in nursing homes and other long-term care settings, and expanding our expertise in home and community based care settings.

To be eligible for the Leadership Council, an individual must fall into one of three categories:

  • Consumer Representative - including current and former residents of long-term care facilities, recipient of home care services, family members of individuals receiving services, consumer advocacy organization representative
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman
  • Issue/Policy Expert

Leadership Council Member terms are for 3 years.  Meetings are held every other month by conference call, with one in-person meeting a year at the Consumer Voice Conference.  

Leadership Council members are also expected to be members of the Consumer Voice.  Information about membership can be found on our website.  A description of Leadership Council roles and responsibilities can be found here.

Applications are due no later than September 8, 2015.
Click here for the application.  
Please also send a resume to info@theconsumervoice.org.

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New "Managing Someone Else's Money" Guide for Virginia from CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released state-specific guides for Virginia as additional help to their 2013 guide "Managing Someone Else's Money."  These state guides will make it easier for caregivers to follow Virginia’s unique rules and to find help close to home. Following the release of the Virginia guides, the Bureau has plans to follow up with similar guides for five other states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Oregon. Access the Virginia guides online here or order free print copies here (search "Managing Someone Else's Money Virginia").

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Register Today for Thursday's Free Advocacy Skills Training Webinar

How to Grow, Support and Activate Your Network
August 27, 2015 2:00-3:30 pm EST

As part of our Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where initiative, Consumer Voice will be conducting four FREE advocacy skills training webinars throughout the year. This will be our fourth and final advocacy skills training webinar within the series. We welcome anyone and everyone to participate - long-term care consumers, family members, individual advocates, long-term care ombudsmen, members of consumer advocacy groups, family/caregiving groups, consumer alliances, and community and senior organizations.

Participants in this session will learn about networks. We'll teach participants how to use their advocacy to grow their network by assessing their current pool, setting targets for growth, and using advocacy tactics to recruit additional people and mobilize both current and existing members. We'll also teach participants how to support their network by being a resource their network looks to for information and education.   

Registration is first come, first served, so register now! To register, click here.

*While the webinars are free, your contribution of $10 or more - or your membership in Consumer Voice - will help support our Public Policy and Advocacy programs. You can join the Consumer Voice here  or make a contribution here.

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CDC Unveils Tool to Look at How Bacteria Resistance Has Changed from 1996-2013

The CDC unveiled a new interactive tool that makes it easy to see how antibiotic resistance for four bacteria transmitted commonly through food has changed during the last 18 years. Using data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), "NARMS Now: Human Data" allows users to filter resistance data by antibiotic, year (1996-2013), and geographic region for Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella. Access the tool here.

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Briefly Noted...

  • Residents' Rights Month in October is quickly approaching.  Do you have any events planned?  Send event details, photos, news articles and media coverage to info@theconsumervoice.org

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Spotlight on Giving: 40th Anniversary Special Gifts Campaign

A critical focus of the Consumer Voice board of directors is ensuring that the organization is able to address effectively the long-term care challenges affecting people today and in the years ahead. A key focus is to fully fund Consumer Voice public policy and advocacy initiatives which are critical at a time like now when new rules are being written and when cost pressures further threaten the commitment to quality, person-centered care and the rights of long-term care consumers. The board has started the year with its own fundraising campaign seeking double the level of annual contributions from each member and now it is reaching out to all members of the Consumer Voice constituency to ask that each person consider making a special contribution to the organization this year.  Contributions can be made online here, monthly, as a gift of stock, in recognition of an individual, organization, or in other ways.  To discuss your gift and how you would like it recognized, please contact Richard Gelula at rgelula@theconsumervoice.org or (202) 332-2275 x209.  And for more information about the 40th Anniversary Campaign, click here.

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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:

Nursing Facilities, Staffing, Residents and Facility Deficiencies, 2009 Through 2014  - This report, published earlier this month by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, analyzes nursing home data from 2009 to 2014, including rates of deficiencies, staffing levels as well as resident and facility characteristics.

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In this Issue

Appeals Court Decision Guarantees Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

Sign the petition to ban the use of arbitration agreements in nursing homes!

Join Our Leadership Council and Make a Difference

New "Managing Someone Else's Money" Guide for Viriginia from CFPB

Register Today for Thursday's Free Advocacy Skills Training Webinar

CDC Call Unveils Tool to Look at How Bacteria Resistance Has Changed from 1996-2013

Briefly Noted...

Spotlight on Giving: 40th Anniversary Special Gifts Campaign

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Participate in the Nursing Home Staffing Campaign

As part of our nursing home staffing campaign, Better Staffing: The Key to Better Care, Consumer Voice is advocating to have a registered nurse on duty in a nursing home 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  To show your support of this campaign, ask your Congressperson to support H.R. 952, the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act.  To learn more about staffing issues, visit www.theconsumervoice.org/betterstaffing.

Calendar of Events

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

November 4-7, 2015: Consumer Voice 39th Annual Conference, Crystal City, Virginia

Register Now for the Consumer Voice Annual Conference
November 4-7, 2015

New Resources Available on Nursing Home Transitions

  • Quality Care, No Matter Where: Successful Nursing Home Transitions Report - examines nursing home transitions and how they can be improved from the perspective of both consumers who have moved back into the community and the agencies that assist them.
  • Consumer to Consumer: Tips for a Successful Nursing Home Transition - provides steps nursing home residents can take to make their move go as smoothly as possible
  • How-To Guide for State and Local Advocates - equips advocates with strategies, ideas and materials to use in working in their state.

View all resources here.

Your Car Can Help Promote Quality Care - It's Easy!

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.

Donating your car is easy - V-DAC comes to the location of the car and picks it up (whether the car can be driven or not).  Provide the car's registration and title, and V-DAC will send you a contribution letter with the amount of the donation that was made.

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:

Saturday, August 22:
Resources now available on our website regarding the proposed changes from CMS to the federal nursing home regulations!

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Wednesday, August 19
Moving out of a nursing home can be difficult. For resources on how to make a smooth transition, visit our website.

Long-Term Care Resources & News

  • Stand Up for Senior Rights Public Citizen, Petition to CMS to stop nursing homes from suing forced arbitration to deny residents' rights

Read past issues of The Voice here.

Support Consumer Voice While You Do Your Back-to-School Shopping!

About The Voice

The Voice is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. 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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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. Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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