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September 6, 2016

Save the Money Follows the Person Program!

An astounding number of people have taken action on saving the Money Follows the Person Program! Nearly 600 individuals have sent a total of 1,569 messages to their representatives in Congress!  Consumer Voice would like to thank all those who have already contacted Congress – your advocacy is invaluable. For those of you who have not yet had a chance to speak out – it’s not too late!

According to Medicaid.gov, “over 51,000 people with chronic conditions and disabilities have transitioned from institutions back into the community through MFP programs as of December 2014.”  Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the MFP program.

In addition to helping individuals move out of institutions, the MFP program addresses some critical issues related to rebalancing of state Medicaid long-term care systems.  These issues include: (1) increasing the use of home and community-based services (HCBS) while reducing the use of institutionally-based services, (2) eliminating barriers in state law, state Medicaid plans, and state budgets that bar using Medicaid funds for those seeking  long-term care settings of their choice, (3) strengthening the ability of Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to those who want to transition out of institutions, and (4) putting procedures into place to provide quality assurance and ongoing improvement in HCBS settings.

Help people living in nursing facilities and other institutional settings move back into the community!  Urge Congress to continue the Money Follows the Person Program by 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, September 16.  Click here to send an editable message to your representatives in Congress!

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Effective Today: Final Rule Increases Civil Monetary Penalties

CMS released a final rule on Friday, September 2 that will more than double civil monetary penalties for skilled nursing facilities.  This rule becomes effective today, September 6, once it is published in the Federal Register.

The new regulation will adjust for inflation the maximum civil monetary penalty amounts that may be imposed.  One notable increased adjustment is the penalty per day for a nursing facility/skilled nursing facility that has violated federal certification requirements. Each day a facility is in noncompliance with federal certification requirements, it may be required to pay a maximum of $20,628.  This is a substantial increase from the $10,000 per day facilities were required to pay in the past.

The provision that increased CMPs among various violations across industries was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  This act was signed into law on November 2, 2015 by President Obama.  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 using a specific formula.

This the first time in 20 years the federal fines have been increased for nursing facilities.

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Lawsuit Alleges DC Failed to Move Residents Out of Nursing Homes

A lawsuit, filed in 2010 by University Legal Services, AARP Foundation Litigation and the private law firm of Arent Fox and going to trial on September 13th, contends that from 500 to 2900 people with disabilities in Washington, DC have been institutionalized in nursing homes and not given adequate opportunity to return to their communities.  A federal program helps Medicaid recipients move out of nursing homes and receive care in the community, but the class-action lawsuit alleges that DC failed to move eligible and interested individuals out of the nursing home.  Kelly Bagby, an attorney for the AARP Foundation was interviewed for an article in the Washington Post: "D.C. is just not setting enough resources to this task. Last year, D.C. was very proud of moving 35 people from nursing homes to the community. At this rate, a lot of people will never get out, and a lot of our plaintiffs have died waiting to get out of the nursing home.”

Read the article in The Washington Post.

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Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Older Adults

Summer is winding down, but temperatures across the country remain high.  Preventing heat-related illnesses is especially important for older adults.  Be aware of dehydration among older adults, as older adults may lose their sense of feeling thirsty, and dehydration can be linked to confusion and falls.  Caregivers can help ensure older adults stay hydrated by reminding them to drink fluids throughout the day, keeping water easily accessible, and encouraging older adults to eat foods with water like soups, fruits and vegetables.  For more tips, 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:

Nursing Home Transitions - This issue page from Consumer Voice provides information on options for receiving care at home and in the community and tips for overcoming common obstacles when moving from the nursing home back into the community.

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In this Issue

Save the Money Follows the Person Program!

Effective Today: Final Rule Increases Civil Monetary Penalties

Lawsuit Alleges DC Failed to Move Residents Out of Nursing Homes

Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Older Adults

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!

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

Sunday, September 11th: Grandparents Day

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

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Friday, September 2
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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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