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July 5,2016

Join us in DC for an Open House and Annual Jackie Koenig Memorial Fundraiser

Join us at the Consumer Voice offices in Washington, DC for:

Consumer Voice Open House and Jackie Koenig Memorial Internship Program Fundraiser
Friday, July 15th  4pm - 6pm
1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 632

Join the Consumer Voice staff and Board, meet members of Jackie's family and check out the new Consumer Voice office space!  We look forward to seeing old and new friends! Light refreshments will be served!

RSVP to info@theconsumervoice.org

Jackie Koenig was the Consumer Voice's First Communications Director who later became director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. As a treasured friend and co-worker, one of Jackie's many passions was mentoring new people in gerontology, a practice she began in the 1980s when she served as a local ombudsman in Ohio and as a member of the Consumer Voice's Board of Directors.  She was passionate about her advocacy work and did not hesitate to pass on her enthusiasm to the many interns she had been privileged to tutor.  For this reason, family and friends decided to honor Jackie's legacy by establishing a special fund to support the Jackie Koenig Memorial Internship Program.

With regret, Jackie met her untimely death in 1998, but the memories of her unique brand of heartening advocacy live on. Throughout the year, students and recent graduates are selected to serve as interns at the Consumer Voice.  Today, the organization hosts 2-4 interns each semester. Staff rely heavily on the support of interns to complete important advocacy and policy work and the students likewise gain valuable, real-world experience in consumer advocacy and public policy.

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Assistant Secretary of Aging Kathly Greenlee Announces Resignation

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee announced her resignation effective at the end of July. Assistant Secretary Greenlee was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and has served in the dual role of Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging.  She has worked to enhance access to health care and long-term services and supports and also promoted the opportunity for individuals to live independently in homes of their choosing.  She worked with the national and aging disability networks to bring together the similarities in the services and supports people need and to support community living.  Read Assistant Secretary Greenlee's message here.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Financial Exploitation

On June 29, 2016 the United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to help address the growing problem of financial exploitation.  Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chair of the Committee, presided over the hearing, along with minority committee member Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.  

Five witnesses testified: (1) Mr. John A Horn, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia – Department of Justice (DoJ); (2) Ms. Lois Gresiman, Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices – Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC);, (3) Mr. Joseph Marquart, member of the AARP Iowa Executive Council and AARP Fraud Watch Network Volunteer; (4) Ms. Nancy Shaffer, Connecticut State Long-Term Care  Ombudsman; and (5) Ms. Donna K. Harvey, Director of the Iowa Department of Aging. The witnesses all noted that the elders most affected by financial exploitation were those who were isolated from their families. They also discussed the numerous strategies their organizations have already been implementing to combat financial exploitation.  DoJ and the FTC have been collaborating to improve the Consumer Sentinel Network, a database containing complaints of financial exploitation.  These improvements will allow DoJ to identify repeat bad actors and track these crimes more easily.  In addition, the FTC has a comprehensive program called “Pass It On” that arms consumers with information about the different types of financial exploitation crimes, materials, and videos.  Connecticut has expanded its definition of mandatory reporting of financial exploitation to include all staff who are emergency responders and financial bankers who become aware of the situation.  

During the hearing, three main policy initiatives to help protect the elderly from financial exploitation emerged.  First, federal and state governments need to implement a more effective first-response to financial exploitation as it is happening. This should include updating the Consumer Sentinel Network and creating a system to alert professionals when a scam is circulating or an old one has come up again.   Second, law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts need to be better trained to be more sensitive towards financial exploitation and how to appropriately respond to this situation when reported. Training for law enforcement and courts should drive home the point that financial exploitation is a crime even if it is non-violent. Third, consumers must be educated and armed with knowledge about the different types of financial exploitation so that they may better avoid them. Federal and state governments should create a nationwide marketing campaign to increase public awareness about elder abuse and advertise the existing Senior Medicare Patrol toll free “safe” number for seniors to use when financial exploitation has occurred.

To watch the video and read statements made by Committee members and witness, click here.

Consumer Voice has a multitude of resources on preventing and protecting residents from financial exploitation on our website.

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Are Residents Ready to Vote?

As we approach the Democratic and Republican conventions this month and the General Election in November, Americans are talking about the candidates, the issues at hand, and thinking about their vote. Voting is one of our most important civic responsibilities, yet too often individuals receiving long-term care and services do not have an opportunity to cast their ballot.

What can be done to help residents and other long-term care consumers exercise this right? What kind of assistance do they need? Getting registered? Getting to the polls? Filing an absentee ballot? When we involve residents in the political process, we all will benefit from it.

Consumer Voice is featuring two new consumer fact sheets with information about exercising this important right and cornerstone to our society.

  1. Registering to Vote
  2. Casting Your Ballot

Consumer Voice has also created a new issue page with great voting resources:

Residents can also be engaged in the election process by having an opportunity to talk about the issues important to them - both related to their daily life in the long-term care facility, to their community, and to society at large.

Get them started in discussions with their peers in the facility by inviting them to share their views. Be prepared with the My Vote Matters toolkit which includes: 50 stickers and two large posters to promote the discussion of participating in politics, as well as 50 Resident President posters to give residents an opportunity to engage directly with the political discussion.

In the Resident President activity, residents are asked to participate in a mock election where they are running for President – what do they stand for? What are their most important issues? What type of change to they want in their daily lives and America as a whole?

Invite Resident participation in the national discussion. Ask what they're thinking and help engage them in the election process!

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Register for Our 2016 Webinar Series

Consumer Voice is hosting an exciting three-part webinar series featuring expert speakers, and important skills, strategies, and advocacy tips on important issues facing long-term care consumers!

Register for one, two or get a discount when you register for all three webinars!  Click here for full descriptions of webinars.

Webinar #1 – Preventing Avoidable Hospitalizations: A Primer for Consumer Advocates

Tuesday, August 9, 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
Presenters: Barbara Frank, B&F Consulting  and Marcia K. Flesner, PhD, RN, Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri

Webinar #2 – Obtaining Quality Care for Residents with Dementia

Tuesday, September 13, 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
Presenter: Jonathan Evans, MD

Webinar #3 – Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care

Tuesday, October 11, 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
Presenter: Robyn Grant, MSW

Each webinar is $65 and includes the live webinar and webinar recording that can be watched/shown as many times as you'd like.  Register for all three webinars in the series for the discounted price of $175.

Consumer Voice members receive a 10% discount on all webinars.  Email info@theconsumervoice.org for the discount code.

Register Now!

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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:

Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in Long-Term Care Facilities - This NORC issue page provides information, fact sheets, and webinars for ombudsmen.

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In this Issue

Join us in DC for an Open House and Annual Jackie Koenig Memorial Fundraiser

Assistant Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee Announces Resignation

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Financial Exploitation

Are Residents Ready to Vote?

Register for Our 2016 Webinar Series

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


Thank you for your support!

Residents' Rights Month 2016

Find more information on our website.

Join the Resident's Voice Challenge!

Calendar of Events

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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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 © 2016.

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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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