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November 24, 2015

Celebrating Our History and Honoring Our Gems: Policymakers and Staff

As Consumer Voice Celebrates our 40th Anniversary we want to take this opportunity to reflect on our past and recognize the individuals who shaped our organization. In honor of the 40-year ruby anniversary we will highlight Consumer Voice's Gems which include key leaders, organizations, and special moments that have made a significant impact on our organization's development, mission, and advocacy.

For this month's gem, we celebrate policymakers and their staff.

The hard work of policymakers and their staff are one of the most important and effective tools in advocating for long-term care issues and influencing the legislative process.

Without people like Senator George Mitchell and Representatives John Dingell, Pete Stark and Henry Waxman, advocating for legislation to reform the nursing home regulations in the 1980s would have been much more difficult. These policymakers were able to help representatives from the Consumer Voice, the Campaign for Quality Care, and other national organizations by testifying in support of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA '87), which established the landmark Nursing Home Reform Law.

Anne Montgomery, former senior policy advisor for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and her staff have been another great influence and policy team.  During her time working in the Senate, Anne was instrumental in ensuring that vital legislation such as the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act and the Elder Justice Act were included in the Affordable Care Act. Anne has also been responsible for several Senate hearings, forums, and Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that provided oversight of nursing home enforcement and quality.

Robyn Grant with Anne Montgomery during the 2013 Consumer Voice Leadership Awards Luncheon. Anne was the recipient of the 2013 Janet Wells Public Policy Leadership Award.

The work of policymakers to improve the quality of care is ongoing and just this February Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky re-introduced, the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act - which calls for nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Cathy Hurwit, Chief of Staff, Office of Representative Jan Schakowsky, addresses conference attendees after receiving the 2014 Janet Wells Public Policy Award.

Our policymakers are essential to improving long-term care. Residents of long-term care facilities have the right to participate in the American political process and it is important they support legislators that advocate for their needs. Just because they live in a different place, does not mean they lose their right to vote. Helping residents register and taking them to the polls or bringing the polls to them is essential in making sure their voice is heard. Training materials such as; Tips for Encouraging Residents' Right to Vote for Ombudsman and for Facilities, Common Issues Faced When Residents Vote and Cognitive Impairment and Voting are all available here and here.

For more information about this month's Gem, click here.  To read about some of our past Gems, visit our website.

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Increase in Federal Fines Nursing Facilities Pay for Violating Nursing Home Reform Law

A provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (signed by President Obama on November 2nd) will increase the amounts of federal fines that nursing facilities may be required to pay for violating the Nursing Home Reform Law.  The provision amends the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 to eliminate the exemption of programs under the Social Security Act (including Medicare and Medicaid).  The section requires the heads of federal agencies to adjust civil monetary penalties through interim final rulemaking with the increased penalties effective no later than August 1, 2016, and thereafter, to make cost-of-living adjustments to federal penalties.  These federal fines have not been increased in 20 years.  For more information, read the alert from the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

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New Project About Infection Prevention; Take the survey by November 30th!

Consumer Voice, in collaboration with the Health Research and Education Trust (HRET), is beginning a new project concerning infection prevention in the nursing home setting. The purpose of the project is to raise education and awareness of infections that can arise in nursing homes (healthcare associated infections, known as "HAIs"), focusing in particular on urinary tract infections caused by catheters (catheter-associated urinary tract infections, referred to as "CAUTI"). The project is also designed to increase understanding of infection prevention and resident safety practices.

By equipping long-term care ombudsmen with information and resources on these topics, Consumer Voice and HRET hope to increase the knowledge of CAUTIs and HAIs among nursing home residents and their family members, as well as their involvement in reducing these types of infections in our nation's nursing homes.

To get us started, we need to know what you know. This is where...

If you are an ombudsman, a resident or the family member of a resident:

Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey by clicking HERE so we can gather information about your current knowledge of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), as well as your preferred learning style.
The survey will close on November 30th. Thank you in advance for your participation!

*If you have questions or need additional information, contact Marybeth Williams at 202-332-2275, ext. 225 or mwilliams@theconsumervoice.org

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Consumer Voice Interim Executive Director Lori Smetanka Quoted in New York Times Article on Residential Care for Elderly

A recent article in The New York Times highlighted the rise of small residential homes, like Green House, as an alternative to nursing homes.  Small residences for the elderly are designed to feel more home-like and offer more customized care than a nursing home.  Another alternative to nursing homes is residential care, also known as adult foster care, which are often single-family homes adapted for elder care.  Consumer Voice Interim Executive Director Lori Smetanka was interviewed for the article and pointed out that residential care home quality varies widely and that there is less oversight by regulators than at nursing homes.  Read the full New York Times article here.

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Join Us December 1st for #GivingTuesday

Black Friday.   Cyber Monday.    Giving Tuesday.

We have a day for giving thanks.  We have two for getting deals.  
Now, we have Giving Tuesday to give back.

Our organization has always drawn strength from our network. Your support allows us to support consumers receiving long-term services and supports  - fighting for their rights, promoting quality care and quality of life, and providing information and resources.

Tuesday, December 1st, #GivingTuesday, please support Consumer Voice by making a contribution.  All contributions made on Giving Tuesday count towards our end of year Matching Campaign to raise $40k to start our next 40 Years of Advocacy.

Support the Consumer Voice

On Giving Tuesday, we ask you to join our efforts in reaching our goal and spread the word as we enter the holiday giving season.  Share this note with others who share our mission, and add your note of encouragement for their donations.  Use #GivingTuesday on social media to show your support of Consumer Voice's Matching Campaign.

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DOJ Website on Elder Justice

The Department of Justice elder justice website is designed to provide resources to victims and family members who have dealt with or are currently dealing with elder abuse. The site also serves as a forum of information for practitioners; researchers; law enforcement agencies; victim service providers; and federal, state, and local prosecutors. Victims and families can find information specific to their state about how to report elder abuse and financial exploitation. The site also includes databases of pleadings and statutes, articles on elder abuse and financial exploitation, and resources with information about preventing elder abuse and assisting those who have already been abused.  Visit the website at: www.justice.gov/elderjustice.

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Free Webinars from Cognitive Solutions

Cognitive Solutions LLC is offering two free upcoming webinars - "Patients with Cognitive Impairment: The Rumble in the Bundle" and "Hospital Care and Dementia: A Tough Mix."  Each one hour webinar will be presented twice.  "Patients with Cognitive Impairment" will address promising practices that can reduce the risk of readmission penalties by using evidence informed rehab strategies for persons with cognitive impairments.  It will be presented on December 2nd (register here) and December 9th (register here) at 2pm ET.  "Hospital Care and Dementia" will share actionable intelligence about Alzheimer's disease and hospitalization and identify key steps in the hospital processes that could improve outcomes with examples of actions from national Alzheimer plans.  This webinar will be presented on December 16 (register here) and January 6 (register here) at 2pm ET.

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New Study Compares Nursing Home Privatization in Four Countries

A new report published for Ageing International entitled "Comparison of Nursing Home Financial Transparency and Accountability in Four Locations" examined documents and government reports in California, Ontario, England and Norway to look at the marketization and privatization of nursing home care.  The study looked at 1) the contextual and privatization differences; 2) payment methods and trends in revenues and expenditures for direct care, administration and profits; and 3) the financial reporting and accountability systems.  Read the study here.

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Spotlight on Educational Resources

The Consumer Voice and the National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) 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:

Elder Abuse/Elder Justice Issue Page - NORC's issue page on elder abuse and elder justice provides resources, reports and ombudsman best practices for dealing with the issue of elder abuse.  This page includes a multitude of fact sheets, webinars, brochures and other resources to help ensure that older people are always treated with respect and get the care they need.

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In this Issue

Celebrating Our History and Honoring Our Gems: Policymakers and Staff

Increase in Federal Fines Nursing Facilities Pay for Violating Nursing Home Reform Law

New Project About Infection Prevention; Take the Survey by November 30th!

Consumer Voice Interim Executive Director Quoted in New York Times Article on Residential Care for Elderly

Join Us December 1st for #GivingTuesday

DOJ Website on Elder Justice

Free Webinars from Cognitive Solutions

New Study Examines Nursing Home Privatization in Four Countries

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


Thank you for your support!

Get Your CARE Matters Buttons and Wristbands

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

Tuesday, December 1: #GivingTuesday

Wednesday, December 2: Patients with Cognitive Impairment: The Rumble in the Bundle, 2pm ET, Free webinar from Cognitive Solutions LLC

Wednesday, December 9: Patients with Cognitive Impairment: The Rumble in the Bundle, 2pm ET, Free webinar from Cognitive Solutions LLC (Repeat of Dec. 2nd)

Wednesday, December 16: Hospital Care and Dementia: A Tough Mix, 2pm ET, Free webinar from Cognitive Solutions LLC

Wednesday, January 6: Hospital Care and Dementia: A Tough Mix, 2pm ET, Free webinar from Cognitive Solutions LLC (Repeat of Dec. 16th)

November 2-5, 2016: Consumer Voice 40th Annual Conference, Arlington, VA

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Monday, November 24
A day for giving thanks, two for getting deals. Now #GivingTuesday to give back.

Long-Term Care Resources & News

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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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