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September 13, 2016

Consumer Voice Featured in Philanthropy Journal News

Consumer Voice Executive Director Lori Smetanka wrote about Consumer Voice's many policy initiatives and programs in a feature in the Philanthropy Journal News.  Consumer Voice was highlighted as being the leading national organization representing consumers on issues related to long-term care and services.  The article features Consumer Voice's key value - including the voice of the consumer - as one of the reasons for our success.  Consumer Voice includes residents and consumers of long-term services and supports in our organization leadership as well as creating opportunities to bring consumers to the policy table.  

Also highlighted was Consumer Voice's annual Residents' Rights Month, held every October, and the importance of this year's theme "My Vote Matters."  The Resident's Voice activity gives consumers an opportunity to share their thoughts on the year's theme and to engage in the political conversation.

From the article:
"Consumer Voice works closely with a dedicated network of consumer advocates and long-term care ombudsmen across the country on these important issues. The strength of their advocacy is rooted not only in their collaborative efforts, but also in keeping the resident/consumer experience at the forefront of their efforts. Residents’ voices are their compass, and as new policies and practices are introduced and considered in the delivery and financing of long-term care and services, Consumer Voice continues to ask, 'What does this mean for the person receiving those services?'"

Read the full article here.

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H.R. 3119 Hearing: Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act

On September 8, 2016 the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce (“Committee”) held a hearing to examine H.R. 3119, The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. Chairman Pitts (PA) and Ranking Member Green (TX) presided over the hearing.  Representative Engel (NY) sponsored the legislation, with over half of the Committee signed on as co-sponsors and strong bipartisan support backing the bill.  Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of the National Palliative Care Research Center, testified in support of passing H.R. 3119.

H.R. 3119 addresses three important policies in improving palliative care: (1) increasing research, (2) emphasizing public and professional education, and (3) developing the workforce that delivers palliative care.  The bill provides that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) expand their national research programs in palliative care. Second, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will launch an education and awareness campaign to inform health professionals, patients, and families about the benefits of palliative care. Third, the bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) award grants or contracts for Palliative and Hospice Education Centers, and to the existing Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers.

In his testimony, Dr. Morrison highlighted that more research, education and awareness is crucial to advancing palliative care.  Currently, only 0.1% of the NIH budget is dedicated to research on palliative care.  Furthermore, 75% of those individuals who could benefit from palliative care do not even know what it is.  With increased research and an educational campaign, individuals can start considering palliative care as a long-term option to manage the symptoms of their chronic illnesses.

Along with research and education, Dr. Morrison also emphasized the consequences of the lack of trained professionals in palliative care.  Without easy access to trained professionals, entire families are under a strain to provide care.  When families are not present, those needing palliative care are forced to seek services in the emergency room, a costly and often time-consuming option. In addition, more and better trained palliative care professionals will result in effective pain management for patients and a reduced reliance on opioid prescriptions.  As a result of this workforce development and training, professionals will be prepared for crises unique to chronically sick older adults.

With improved palliative care services, patients will be supported to make the best medical decisions they can to improve treatment of their chronic conditions.  Most importantly, they will be equipped with the knowledge of how to manage their condition on a long-term basis.  

To watch the video of the hearing and read statements made by Committee members and witnesses, click here.

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NCEA Launches New Website

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has launched its new website: ncea.acl.gov.  The website creation included a team of advisory board members and assistance from the Federal Administration on Community Living (ACL). The website is organized around the tenets of the Elder Justice Roadmap and is designed to help the general public, students and professionals easily navigate through all of the various layers of elder abuse to receive reliable, validated and current information.

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Resident's Voice Challenge Deadline Extended

Thank you to all those who have submitted entries to the 2016 Resident's Voice Challenge!  Submissions will now be accepted through Friday, September 23rd.

What would you do if you were elected President of the United States?  What issues are most important to you?  In this current election year, everyone is talking about the issues that mean the most to them.  What about long-term care issues?  If the residents receiving care in your area or facility were running for President, what would they do, if anything, to improve the long-term care system?  What would their platform be?   Ask them as part of this year's Resident Voice!

Get them started in discussions with their peers in the facility by inviting them to share their views as a part of this year's Resident's Voice Challenge, in honor of 2016 Residents' Rights Month.  Use this year's theme, "My Vote Matters," to get residents engaged in politics and the presidential election.   Find more information on participating on our website and check out the My Vote Matters toolkit.
Remember, all Resident's Voice Challenge entries must be submitted by September 23rd! (For further info, check out Resident's Voice Challenge guidelines and criteria.)

Looking for other voting-related activities? Visit our website.

Questions? Contact info@theconsumervoice.org.

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ACL Awards Eight States $1.1 Million to Support Lifespan Respite Care Programs

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded grants totaling over $1.1 million to eight states to support lifespan respite care programs to improve the delivery and quality of respite services available.  Maryland and Mississippi were awarded new state grants totaling $400,000 for three-year projects that will plan, establish and expand lifespan respite care systems.  The goal of the funding will be to provide new and planned emergency respite services, train and recruit respite workers and volunteers, and assist caregivers with accessing needed services.  Six other states - Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina and Washington - were awarded one-year expansion supplements totaling more than $750,000.  The funding will help build upon the states' work developing an integrated and sustainable respite care system that will focus on filling identified gaps in service delivery and address unmet needs of family caregivers across the lifespan.  
For more information, read the notice from ACL.

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CMS Posts Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness and Interim Rule on CMPs

CMS recently published memos on two important topics -

Notification of Final Rule Published - Emergency Preparedness
On September 8, 2016, the Federal Register posted the final rule for emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers.  The regulation goes into effect on November 16, 2017.  Health care providers and suppliers must comply and implement all regulations by November 16, 2017.

Interim Final Rule Adjusting Civil Monetary Penalties
On September 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) in the Federal Register which adjusts CMP amounts for inflation under the Social Security Act.  The changes made by the IFR are effective as of September 6, 2016.

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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:

Residents' Rights Month Activities - Residents' Rights Month begins October 1st.  Check out our website for ideas for activities that emphasize and encourage discussion about residents' rights!

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In this Issue

Consumer Voice Featured in Philanthropy Journal News

H.R. 3119 Hearing: Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act

NCEA Launches New Website

Resident's Voice Challenge Deadline Extended

ACL Awards Eight States $1.1 Million to Support Lifespan Respite Care Programs

CMS Publishes Final Rule on Emergency Preparedness and Interim Rule on CMPs

Spotlight on Educational Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


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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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