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August 9, 2016

Consumer Voice Letter to CMS Calls for Ban of Pre-Dispute Arbitration

58 organizations and 800 individuals sign on!

On August 5, the Consumer Voice sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging CMS to ban pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home admission contracts.  The letter followed a powerful editorial by the New York Times against the use of such clauses. Thanks to the efforts of advocates around the country, 58 organizations and almost 800 individuals signed on to this letter!

Consumer Voice notes in its letter that nursing home contracts with pre-dispute arbitration clauses are unfair and disadvantageous to nursing home residents. Pre-dispute arbitration agreements force individuals to make a decision before a dispute arises, even in cases of alleged severe neglect, serious injuries or death.  To make matters worse, residents and their families are required to decide at the time of admission - a time generally of great stress.   

The letter also points out the inherent bias against consumers in the arbitration process.  Arbitration companies have a financial incentive to side with nursing facilities, who are responsible for sending the companies cases on an ongoing basis. Discovery is limited in arbitration, hindering plaintiffs from developing their cases. Arbitration proceedings are secretive, often protected by confidentiality rules. In addition, arbitration can be costly and more expensive than court.
Consumer Voice states that arbitration may be a good choice for residents and family members in certain circumstances, but only after a dispute has arisen.

We thank all of you for taking a strong stance in advocating for residents' rights on this issue!

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CMS Issues Memo on Photos/Videos of Residents Taken by Nursing Home Staff

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published a memorandum last Friday related to photos and video recordings of residents by nursing home staff.  The memo comes in response to recent media reports of nursing home staff taking unauthorized photos or videos of nursing home residents, sometimes in compromised positions, and posting them on social media.  The memo seeks to protect residents' privacy and prohibit mental abuse, which can include abuse that is caused by nursing home staff using photos or videos in any way that would humiliate a resident.  The memorandum outlines facility and State responsibilities. CMS announced that at the time of a facility’s next standard survey, the survey team will request and review facility policies and procedures that prohibit staff from taking, keeping and/or distributing photographs and recordings that demean or humiliate residents.  Read the full memo here.

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Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program To Be Moved Out of State Government

On July 15th, the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging voted unanimously to move the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman program out of state government effective October 1, 2016.  State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Sarah Slocum presented the proposal which included the program's history, its current challenges and the reasoning for moving the program so it can better serve Michigan residents. Beginning October 1, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program will be run by the Michigan Advocacy Program.

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Emphasize Consumers' Right to Vote with My Vote Matters Products

As the November election approaches, it's important to remember that consumers of long-term services and supports retain their right to vote no matter where they live or what type of care they receive.  Put the focus on consumers' right to vote and participate politically with some creative and useful products:

(Learn more about the Resident President activity here.)

Or purchase all of the products separately:

My Voice, My Vote, My Right Large Posters - $10

Resident President Small Posters (Pack of 25) - $15
My Vote Matters Stickers - Pack of 50 - $8 or Pack of 100 - $15

Visit the Consumer Voice Online Store to see these products and more.
Consumer Voice members receive a 10% discount.  Contact info@theconsumervoice.org for the discount code.

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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:

Voting Rights - Individuals receiving long-term services and supports retain their voting rights no matter where they live or what type of care they receive.  This Consumer Voice issue page provides voting resources from Consumer Voice and NORC, specific information for voters with disabilities, and thoughts from consumers on voting.

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In this Issue

Consumer Voice Letter to CMS Calls for Ban of Pre-Dispute Arbitration

CMS Issues Memo on Photos/Videos of Residents Taken by Nursing Home Staff

Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program To Be Moved Out of State Government

Emphasize Consumers' Right to Vote with My Vote Matters Products

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


Thank you for your support!

Join the Resident's Voice Challenge by September 15th!

As we approach the presidential election in November, Americans are talking about the candidates and issues.  Are residents engaged? 

Get them started discussing politics and voting by participating in the Resident's Voice Challenge!  Residents are encouraged to imagine they are running for "Resident President" and to discuss what types of changes they would make or issues that are important to them.   Submissions are due September 15th so start planning your activity now!

We've made it easy to participate with the My Vote Matters Toolkit which includes instructions and everything you need to get your residents engaged in the discussion! You can also check out some of the other voting/election-related products in our online store.

Calendar of Events

August: National Immunization Awareness Month

Tuesday, September 13: Obtaining Quality Care for Residents with Dementia, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from Consumer Voice

October: My Vote Matters, Residents' Rights Month 2016

Tuesday, October 11: Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from Consumer Voice

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

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Friday, August 5:
Thank you to all the individuals and organizations who signed onto our letter to CMS calling for the agency to ban pre-dispute arbitration cluases in nursing home agreements once and for all.

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Friday, August 5
Thanks to 58 orgs & ~800 individuals who signed on to tell CMS to ban arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts!

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 © 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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