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October 13, 2015

News from Consumer Voice

Consumer Voice Members, Supporters, Partners, and Friends,
As the Consumer Voice (CV) celebrates its 40th Anniversary of amplifying the voices of long-term care consumers, the CV Governing Board announces an important leadership transition - embarking on a search for new executive leadership to lead CV into its fifth decade. Richard Gelula has left CV, and Lori Smetanka has assumed the role of Interim Executive Director starting Monday, October 12.  The Board would like to express its appreciation for the energy, service and insight RIchard has provided to CV during his tenure.

We hope to see many of you at the annual conference in November. If you haven't already, please plan to celebrate with us - through sponsorship, conference registration, or dancing the night away at our 40th Anniversary Party.  Whether at the conference or beyond, we look forward to your continued engagement as we move into our fifth decade of being a strong voice for long-term care consumers in the shifting long-term care landscape.

With appreciation for your commitment and support,

Michael Koenig
President, Consumer Voice Governing Board

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Comments on Proposed Regulations Are Due Tomorrow

Comments on the proposed federal nursing home regulations are due tomorrow, October 14 by 5:00pm ET.  If you haven’t already taken action, now is the time! We’ve made it as easy as 1-2-3.

  • 1 - Sign onto Consumer Voice's comments by clicking on the links below to view our comment letter and enter your information to sign on. Anyone can sign on – local, state, national organizations AND individuals. Please consider signing on even if you’ve submitted your own comments. The more groups and individuals listed, the louder our message to CMS.

 - If you are signing on as an individual, please click here.
 - If you are signing on as an organization, please click here.
 - Hit "submit" and sign on by no later than 12:00 PM ET tomorrow, October 14th!

  • 2 - Send us comments using our system  - we will then submit to CMS on your behalf.

- For individuals, access the sample letter here and enter your information.
- For groups, access the sample letter here and enter your information.
- Personalize the comment letter if you can.
- Hit "submit." Your comments will come to us and we will send them to CMS for you by the October 14th deadline! Please get us your comments by 10 am ET tomorrow!

  • 3 - Submit comments yourself - go here to access a short or longer sample comment letter and directions for how to send them to CMS. Warning: the federal site for submitting comments is currently not working properly. We’ve reported this to CMS and are hoping it will be fixed shortly.
    A little action on your part can make a big difference for residents.

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Materials Available from Webinar on Commenting on the Proposed Federal Nursing Home Regulations

Slides and the audio recording are now available from the October 6th webinar "Understanding and Commenting on the Proposed Federal Nursing Home Regulations." The proposed federal nursing home regulations published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in July will shape nursing home care for decades to come. CMS needs to hear what consumers, their families and advocates around the country think about the rule. This is one of the most important opportunities you will ever have to impact what these new federal nursing home regulations look like. Comments are due October 14 by 5:00pm ET.

This webinar was designed to assist advocates in understanding the proposed changes and in participating in the comment process.

Eric Carlson,
Directing Attorney
Justice in Aging

Robyn Grant,
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Consumer Voice

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ACL Announces Grants for States' Adult Protective Services Systems

The Administration on Community Living has announced the first-ever federal grants specifically designated to improve states' Adult Protective Services (APS) systems.  These grants, which total up to $2.8 million for up to two years, are being awarded to Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

ACL also is awarding a contract of up to nearly $850,000 to Walter R. McDonald & Associates, Inc. to provide support to grant recipients and to manage ACL’s National Adult Protective Services Resource Center. Formed in 2011, the resource center compiles and disseminates best practices and provides targeted technical assistance to APS programs across the country.  For more information, read the news release.

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Save the Date: Free Webinar

Put a STOP to Poor Care: Advocating for Quality Care

Save the date (November 18, 2015, 3:00-4:15 ET) for a free webinar titled, Put a STOP to Poor Care: Advocating for Quality Care, hosted by Consumer Voice in collaboration with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). Please share this save the date with long-term care consumers, family members, Resident Councils, Family Councils, and advocates as webinar attendees will learn how to advocate for quality, individualized care. Regardless of where an individual receives long-term care services and supports they are entitled to receive quality, person-centered care. During this webinar we will identify indicators of quality care and warning signs of poor care, provide communication tips, and share advocacy strategies to help consumers, family members, advocates, and others advocate for individualized care. Participants will learn about resources available to assist in their advocacy, including advocacy with, and on behalf of, individuals with limited capacity. Additionally, presenters will review the role of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) Program and how and when to seek LTCO assistance. Registration information will be available soon.

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Full Consumer Voice Conference Agenda Now Available

There's still time to register for the Consumer Voice Annual Conference!

Check out an updated agenda on the Consumer Voice website.   The agenda now features all session titles, descriptions and speakers.  Check out some of the highlights:

  • PRE-CONFERENCE INTENSIVE - Individualized Care Instead of Antipsychotic Medications: It’s Really Possible! Find more info on pre-conference intensives here.
When residents’ needs are met, incidences of challenging behaviors are significantly reduced. Focus should be on providing individualized care rather than drugging residents who are upset, angry, or expressing other emotions.  But how can this be done? In this intensive, hear from a Nursing Home Medical Director, and an Administrator who have implemented person-centered care practices; work through case examples; and discuss strategies for incorporating these practices into the provision of care.
Presenters:  Jonathan Evans, MD; Morris Kaplan, J.D., Gwynedd Square Nursing Center
  • LEGAL TRACK WORKSHOP - Combating the Excessive and Illegal Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs in People with Dementia Find more information about the Legal Track for Attorneys Working for Quality Care here.
This session will provide an overview of the prescription and misuse of atypical antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia living in nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities. It will provide an overview of the data indicating the high rate at which these drugs are prescribed. Through case examples, the session will discuss issues related to the prescription of antipsychotic drugs, including the reasons behind the excessive prescription of these drugs and the need to obtain informed consent and legal authorization. The session will conclude with a discussion on strategies that individuals, caregivers, and families can employ to combat the misuse of these drugs on their loved ones. The panel will also discuss litigation that AARP Foundation has undertaken on behalf of families in CA, TN, DE, and NM to highlight the harms of these drugs when given to people with dementia.
Presenters: Iris Gonzalez, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation, Kelly Bagby, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation; Jonathan Evans, M.D.
  • Plenary – Advocating for Real Reform Through the New Federal HCBS Regulations

Recent federal HCBS regulations set standards for “community-based” services. The regulations present unique questions, challenges and opportunities for states and stakeholders. Some existing models of care may be disqualified from continued HCBS reimbursement, and others will be – or should be – significantly revised. Based on a review of states’ mid-stream implementation, this session will discuss CMS policy and the states’ responses, with a focus on empowering attendees to advocate on the state and federal levels.
Presenters: Melissa Harris, Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Eric Carlson, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging; Becky Kurtz, Director, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Administration for Community Living

See the full conference agenda on our website.

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NCEA Twitter Chat "Domestic Abuse in Later Life"

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is holding a Twitter chat on Thursday, October 15th in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  The Twitter Chat topic is "Domestic Abuse in Later Life."  Use #NCEAnow.  The chat will feature special guests from the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, who have been actively involved in domestic violence awareness and have some great information to share. Join the Twitter chat by going to www.tweetchat.com, search #NCEAnow and log into your Twitter account.

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Spotlight on Giving: 40th Anniversary Special Gifts Campaign

For 40 years, Consumer Voice – known for most of those years as NCCNHR – has been dedicated to achieving person-centered, quality long-term care.  We have made significant progress in this time, but in an ever-changing world in which person-centered practices compete with other values such as “limited government” and provider profits, there are always new challenges.  One is occurring right now. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed new regulations governing nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments. This is the first new set of rules in 25 years. They actually espouse a great deal of movement toward person-centered practices, but in many areas the new rules will cause problems. One problem is the absence of a definitive staffing requirement for nursing care. This is a major oversight.

Here is where your support for Consumer Voice during our 40th anniversary comes in. We truly need your help. We have mounted an extensive, multi-organization effort to address problems in the new CMS regulations. Once we have submitted our comments and have helped other advocates to do the same, the next phases of our advocacy will ensue. This continues to be extremely important work and Consumer Voice is leading the way. Now, can you be counted to make a significant contribution to this effort? Each person decides what “significant” is.  There are many ways you can give: donate online or by check, sign-up for a monthly automatic payment from your account, make a gift of stock – even donate a used car or other property.  To discuss your gift and how you would like it recognized, please contact Lori Smetanka at lsmetanka@theconsumervoice.org or (202) 332-2275 x206.  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:

Identifying, Preventing and Responding to Bullying in Long-Term Care Facilities  - This NORC webinar discusses bullying among residents in long-term care facilities. Dr. Robin Bonifas, John A. Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work, Associate Professor with the School of Social Work at Arizona State University shared findings from her recent work regarding bullying in long-term care facilities, including: A definition of bullying and characteristics of residents that bully and residents that are targets of bullying; Signs and prevalence of bullying; and Examples of interventions and best practices to prevent and respond to these incidents.  NORC staff reviewed the LTCO role in responding to complaints regarding bullying, highlights advocacy tips, and shares resources regarding resident-to-resident aggression. 

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In this Issue

News from Consumer Voice

Comments on Proposed Regulations are Due Tomorrow

Materials Available from Webinar on Commenting on Proposed Federal Nursing Home Regulations

ACL Announces Grants for States' Adult Protective Services Systems

Save the Date: Free Webinar

Full Consumer Voice Conference Agenda Now Available

NCEA Twitter Chat on "Domestic Abuse in Later Life"

Spotlight on Giving: 40th Anniversary Special Gifts Campaign

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Workplace Giving Campaigns: A Great Way to Help Support Consumer Voice

Workplace giving, whether the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), United Way or other workplace campaigns, are great easy ways to give to Consumer Voice.  Our CFC number is: 10552.  In other workplace campaigns, you may be able to write in Consumer Voice or some may still recognize us as NCCNHR.  As long as you provide our address, the funds will get to us.

Consumer Voice
1001 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 425
Washington, DC 20036

Look for ways that you can give back to Consumer Voice through your workplace and please ask if your employer will match your contribution.  Thank you!

Get Your CARE Matters Buttons and Wristbands

It's Residents' Rights Month! But it is not too late to order wristbands and buttons with the 2015 theme, CARE Matters!  Wristbands and buttons are sold in packs of 20, 50 and 100.  See the Consumer Voice online store for more information.

Calendar of Events

October: Residents' Rights Month, CARE Matters

Thursday, October 15: Domestic Abuse in Later Life, Twitter Chat from the National Center on Elder Abuse, Use #NCEAnow

Tuesday, October 20: Pain Management in Dementia: One Person at a Time, 2:00pm ET, Part 2 in a two-part webinar series from Pioneer Network and NYU, $99

November 1-7: National Memory Screening Week

November 4-7: Consumer Voice 39th Annual Conference, Arlington, Virginia

Thursday, November 5: Consumer Voice's 40th Anniversary Party, 6:30pm-9:30pm, Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington, VA

Wednesday, November 18: Put a STOP to Poor Care: Advocating for Quality, 3:00-4:15pm ET, Free webinar from Consumer Voice in collaboration with the National Center on Elder Abuse

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

Remember to register and book your hotel room now! Don't miss it!  Find more information on our website.

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!

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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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