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June 28,2016

SCOTUS Will Not Hear Case on Home Health Rule

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that it will not hear the case HCAA v Weil.  The Court ruled to let stand the Labor Department's final home health rule which extended minimum wage and overtime coverage to home health care workers.  This is a victory for America's home care workers and is the end of the court case.  Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court's decision: "The U.S. Department of Labor’s Home Care Final Rule is vital to the nearly two million workers who provide home care services to our loved ones who wish to remain in their homes and communities."

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Advocates Weigh In on For-Profit Nursing Homes in Philadelphia Inquirer Article

A recent report by the Philadelphia Inquirer found that more and more nursing homes in the Philadelphia region are owned by for-profit companies.  An Inquirer analysis found that 63 percent of nursing homes in the area are owned by for-profits, compared to 49 percent in 2010.  "Nonprofits sell facilities for many reasons: They need the money, change their mission, or succumb to financial pressures on the industry largely caused by heavy reliance on the federal government's low-paying Medicaid program." 

Senior Policy Attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. Toby Edelman was interviewed for the article, "The not-for-profits spend more money on staffing, which is the single most critical predictor of quality of care. Having enough registered nurses, in particular, determines quality." Staffing levels are determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services but Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus at the University of California-San Francisco, points out that staffing rates reported by facilities are often inflated: "They staff up before the survey, so it looks like they have plenty of staff."  Next month, nursing homes will be required to report payroll data quarterly, which will likely give a more accurate picture of staffing levels. 

Diane Menio, Executive Director of the Center for Advocacy for the Rights & Interests of the Elderly (CARIE), also shared her opinion in the article that it's important for residents to look at staffing standards when choosing a nursing home: "I don't think that it's ever fair to say, 'don't ever go to a for-profit because they are bad,' but consumers need to look very carefully at these things regardless of who owns it."  The article concludes with several tips for consumers when picking a nursing home.  Read the full article here.

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New Resource on Palliative Care for People with Dementia

A new resource is available from CaringKind on the need for improving quality of life and quality of care for residents with dementia who live in nursing homes.  "Palliative Care for People with Dementia: Why Comfort Matters in Long-Term Care" covers a pilot project in three partner nursing homes where improved practices were implemented.  The program is based on a comfort-focused care approach developed by Beatitudes Campus and their partner Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, AZ.  The project aims to adapt their research and training on institutionally-based care for people with late-stage dementia to urban, culturally diverse settings in New York City.  This project was developed by Ann Wyatt and was based on work from Tena Alonzo.  Read more here.

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New Guidance for LTC Facilities to Help Residents Live in Most Integrated Setting

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published new guidance for long-term care facilities in complying with their civil rights responsibilities to ensure residents receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.  Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Medicare and/or Medicaid-certified long-term care facilities cannot discriminate against disability, which includes unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities or continued placement in an inpatient facility when the resident could live in a more integrated setting. 

In order to assess placement needs, CMS regulations mandate that long-term care facilities routinely administer the Minimum Data Set (MDS), a standardized assessment tool for all residents in a facility that receives federal financial assistance.  An OCR analysis found that many facilities are inadequately administering the MDS and are failing to direct residents interested in living in the community to appropriate referral services.  This new guidance provides a series of recommendations for steps that long-term care facilities can take to ensure the MDS is properly used to facilitate compliance with Section 504 and to avoid discriminatory practices towards residents. Read the new guidance here.

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Use Your End of Year Resources to Equip and Empower Your Staff, Volunteers and Consumers

The time is now to get the best possible discount on the Consumer Voice Annual Conference!  
Attended by ombudsmen and consumer advocates, residents, family members, attorneys, policy experts, and more - don't miss this important event!

  • Plenary and workshop sessions address the latest issues affecting long-term care consumers
  • Hear from key federal and state experts about important policy initiatives and best practices
  • Network with your peers from around the country

Register now and get $50 off the regular registration rate!  For additional discounts, apply for group registrations!  For more information, or to register for the conference, click here.

Plus, visit the Consumer Voice's Online Store for a range of great products and resources including our Resident's Rights Month materials!

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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:

Improving Nurse Staffing - This Consumer Voice issue page provides pertinent research, state legislation, fact sheets and reports on nursing home staffing.

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In this Issue

SCOTUS Will Not Hear Case on Home Health Rule

Advocates Weigh In On For-Profit Nursing Homes in Philadelphia Inquirer Article

New Resource on Palliative Care for People with Dementia

New Guidance for LTC Facilitis to Help Residents Live in Most Integrated Setting

Use Your End of Year Resources to Equip and Empower Your Staff, Volunteers and Consumers

Spotlight on Educational Resources

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Residents' Rights Month 2016

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Calendar of Events

Thursday, June 30: After the Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease: Preparing the Patient and Caregivers, 12:00pm ET, Provider webinar series from CMS Resources for Integrated Care

Thursday, June 30: What You Need to Know About Medicaid Managed Care Changes, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from Justice in Aging

Sunday, July 31: Last day to register for Consumer Voice Annual Conference at early discounted rate

October: My Vote Matters, Residents' Rights Month 2016

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

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