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April 5, 2016

Department of Justice Launches 10 Regional Elder Justice Task Forces

Last week, the Department of Justice announced the launch of 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces. These teams will bring together federal, state and local prosecutors, law enforcement, and agencies that provide services to the elderly to coordinate and enhance efforts to pursue nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care. According to Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery, “All too often we have found nursing home owners or operators put their own economic gain before the needs of their residents. These task forces will help ensure that we are working closely with all relevant parties to protect the elderly.”

The Elder Justice Task Forces will include representatives from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, state and local prosecutors’ offices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), state Adult Protective Services agencies, Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs, and law enforcement. These agencies were picked to be part of the Elder Justice Task Force because they are among those that have a specific expertise in their line of work.
The multi-disciplinary nature of the task forces will assist in identifying nursing facilities that provide grossly substandard care, drawing on the various team members’ access to an array of information and knowledge in the regions and communities where nursing facilities operate. In addition, bringing these agencies together will provide more tools to address complaints about nursing homes or other long-term care providers. Having federal, state and local agencies working together will allow the task forces to find the most effective response for each particular situation.

The 10 Elder Justice Task Forces will be launched in the following Districts: Northern District of California, Northern District of Georgia, District of Kansas, Western District of Kentucky, Northern District of Iowa, District of Maryland, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Tennessee and the Western District of Washington.

To learn more about the Justice Department’s Elder Justice Initiative visit: http://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.

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Group Discount Opportunity at 2016 Consumer Voice Annual Conference

The Consumer Voice Annual Conference is back at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel November 2-5, 2016, and we can't wait to see you there!  

Interested in bringing a group of people to the annual conference? Take advantage of our group discounts! Contact us (info@theconsumervoice.org) and we will help you register your group. Your application for discounts must be made prior to registration, so start forming your group today!

Here are the discounts that apply to group registrations:

  • Group of 5 - 9 individuals - 5% discount
  • Group of 10 - 19 individuals - 10% discount
  • Group of 20 or more individuals - 15% discount

Please note the following:
1.)  You must apply to receive a group discount prior to registering anyone in your group.
Send the list of individuals you would like to include in your group as well as the name of your group to info@theconsumervoice.org, and we will send you the applicable group rate code to use during registration.  Please also let us know whether you would like the entire group to be included on a single invoice or billed separately.  Any additional individuals added to your group after you receive your group rate code can register using the same discount.  We will not issue a new discount code after your initial group rate approval even if your group ends up exceeding your discount bracket.

2.)  The discount code will apply to the current registration rate at the time individuals in your group complete the registration form.
For example, if an individual in your group registers after the early registration date and therefore is charged the regular registration rate, the group discount will apply to the regular registration rate.

3.)  Group discounts apply to full conference attendees only.
Group discounts cannot be applied to one-day registrations.

Registration will open in May, so stay tuned! We look forward to seeing your group in Washington, DC!

Questions? Contact us at info@theconsumervoice.org.

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New Memos from CMS

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released three memos:
S&C: 16-14-NH: Release of 2015 Nursing Home Data Compendium
CMS has released the 11th edition of the Nursing Home Data Compendium, which contains data on all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes and their residents.  The compendium reviews five years of data from nursing home surveys for more than 15,000 nursing homes participating in Medicaid and Medicare, and four years of data on the 1.4 million residents who reside in these nursing homes.  The compendium presents information on nursing home characteristics, nursing home survey results, and demographic, functional and clinical characteristics of nursing home residents.
S&C:  16-15-NH: State Operations Manual (SOM) Surveyor Guidance Revisions Related to Psychosocial Harm in Nursing Homes
CMS has revised guidance to help surveyors better identify psychosocial harm in nursing homes.  The revised guidance in Appendix PP of the SOM under F329 has been enhanced to be easier to use for surveyors and to include language related to how unnecessary use of medications may cause psychosocial harm to residents.  CMS has also added language to selected F tags to emphasize the risk of psychosocial harm associated with noncompliance with specific regulations.
S&C: 16-17-NH: Affordable Care Act Section 6103: Guidance for State Consumer Oriented Websites- Update to Survey and Certification Letter 11-41-NHs
CMS has provided a list of key elements for State website development for States to qualify for Federal funding.  States are required to maintain consumer-oriented websites providing information regarding all skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities within their states.  State websites must include a link to the State Ombudsman Program.  See the memo for links to state consumer websites.  Websites must be completed no later than January 1, 2018.

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Guide for Consumers and Families on the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Department of Labor has developed a user-friendly guide entitled "Paying Minimum Wage and Overtime to Home Care Workers: A Guide for Consumers and their Families to the Fair Labor Standards Act." The guide explains who needs to follow the FLSA rules and how to follow them.  The guide provides examples of situations involving hiring a home care worker directly, using a home care agency, and arranging care through a self-directed program.  It discusses paid providers who are family members of the consumer and who are live-in workers. View the guide here.

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Job Opportunity at DC LTC Ombudsman program

A new position is open at the DC Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.  The AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) provides a wide range of free civil legal services and advocacy to District residents age 60+ as well as serving as the home for the DC Long-term Care Ombudsman Program. The LTCOP Director oversees a staff of 12 and a large cadre of volunteers helping to resolve individual disputes in long-term care facilities as well as with home health care. Additionally, the ombudsman plays a key role in setting and influencing policy concerning this constituency.  For more information, click 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:

Advocacy Toolkit - This Consumer Voice website provides a variety of fact sheets on delivering an effective advocacy message.  Plus, four webinars review how to create and deliver a message and how to engage your network.

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In this Issue

Department of Justice Launches 10 Regional Elder Justice Task Forces

Group Discount Opportunity at 2016 Consumer Voice Annual Conference

New Memos from CMS

Guide for Consumers and Families on the Fair Labor Standards Act

Job Opportunity at DC LTC Ombudsman Program

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


Thank you for your support!

Residents' Rights Month 2016

Stay tuned for more information!

Calendar of Events

April 11-12: 2016 American Socitety for Consultant Pharmacists Forum, Baltimore, MD

Saturday, April 16: National Healthcare Decisions Day

October: My Vote Matters, Residents' Rights Month 2016

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

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