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May 16, 2017

Senate Staff Briefing on Protecting the Rights of Injured Patients

Public Citizen sponsored a briefing for Senate staff on H.R. 1215 last Wednesday, May 10.  The House Judiciary Committee has narrowly reported H.R. 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act,” introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) out of committee. This bill is designed to override state civil justice laws and impose severe federal limits on the ability of medical malpractice victims, including long-term care consumers, to seek justice in court. This briefing discussed how this bill and similar legislation would harm the rights of injured patients while doing nothing to address the problem of medical errors that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

Evilyn Ramirez, whose daughter was injured from a medical flash fire, and Adriana Plevniak, an eye surgery patient, testified to how H.R. 1215 would have stopped their families from receiving compensation for their pain and suffering from their chronic conditions that resulted from medical procedures.  H.R. 1215: (1) caps pain and suffering compensation at $250,000, (2) mandates a statute of limitations (the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit) that is more restrictive than most states’ existing statute of limitations, (3) prohibits patients from receiving the full award from a jury in a lump sum, (4) provides immunity to any health care provider licensed to prescribe or dispense a prescription drug, even if it was negligently prescribed or administered, (5) limits a consumer’s ability to bring one lawsuit against each of the entities responsible for their injuries and have the fault apportioned among them, and (6) severely limits attorney’s fees.
All of these restrictions will work together to reduce consumers’ access to justice in the courts.  Without the courts, long-term care consumers have no other available remedy to compensate them and their families for the horrific pain and suffering they have endured.  Court cases also serve as a deterrent to poor care.  Read the bill text here.

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Volunteer Ombudsman Highlighted in OAM Stories

As a part of Older Americans' Month (OAM), the Administration for Community Living collected stories of older people working to improve the lives of people in their communities.  One selected story came from Joyce, a volunteer long-term care ombudsman in Texas.  In her story, Joyce describes the importance of her advocacy for the rights of nursing home residents and her work investigating and resolving complaints.  Read Joyce's story here.

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Plan Now for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).  An outreach guide is available to help organizations plan for the event and raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation and to empower individuals to take action.  The guide provides tips on how to have a successful event, picking a format for the event, and how to find more information on WEAAD.  Access the guide here.

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CMS Publishes Memo on Implementation and Long-Term Care Regulatory Changes in Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a memorandum on Implementation Issues, Long-Term Care Regulatory Changes: Substandard Quality of Care (SQC) and Clarification of Notice before Transfer or Discharge Requirements. A new regulatory definition was published in the CMS 2016 Final Long-Term Care Rule.  The new regulatory definition will affect which F-tags and regulatory groupings are considered to be SQC in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the implementation process.  CMS also provided clarification in advance of formal interpretive guidance which requires facilities to send a copy of the notice of transfer or discharge to the State Ombudsman.  Read the memo here.

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ACL Sends Alert About Email Phishing Scam

 The Administration on Community Living sent an alert about a recent email Phishing scam.  Recently, some people have received emails falsely claiming to be the Administration on Aging and Edwin Walker and requesting personal and financial information.  ACL's alert reminded individuals that they will never ask for your social security number or ask to send them a check.  To find out if a message is legitimate, call (202)401-4634.

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CARE Documentary Shows Importance of Caregiving

CARE is a documentary about the increasing importance of caregiving in our aging society; the passionate caregivers who often earn poverty wages; and the families who struggle to afford the care they desperately need. Here’s what the Director of this moving documentary says about CARE, “Despite being all around us, the day-to-day realities of caregiving are largely invisible to the young and healthy. As the baby boomers age, we will be faced with a tsunami of need and the discovery that the U.S. system is broken on all sides. In following the workers and elders in CARE for two years, I was deeply moved by the beauty of hands on care and the profound connections that care work engenders. I wanted to make a film that would tell the story of these intimate relationships and reveal how both workers and clients are struggling in an inadequate care system. I hope the film will encourage audiences to wrestle with one of the biggest questions of our time: “How are we going to care for our elders and the workers who help them live with dignity?”

You can bring this impactful film to your organization or community.  Learn more by visiting www.caredocumentary.com or contacting Denae Peters at denae@filmsprout.org.

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Spotlight on 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:

Family Council Center - This family council center contains fact sheets and other materials related to family council creation, maintenance, rights under federal law and advocacy. 

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In this Issue

Senate Staff Briefing on Protecting the Rights of Injured Patients

Volunteer Ombudsman Highlighted in OAM Stories

Plan Now for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

CMS Publishes Memo on Implementation and Long-Term Care Regulatory Changes in the Final Rule

ACL Sends Alert About Email Phishing Scam

CARE Documentary Shows Importance of Caregiving

Spotlight on Resources

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Save the Date:

Consumer Voice 41st Annual Conference

November 5-8, 2017
Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
Arlington, Virginia

Calendar of Events

Wednesday, May 17: Elder Financial Abuse and Medicaid Denials, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from Justice in Aging

Thursday, May 18: A Spotlight on Older Adults and Behavioral Health, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from National Council on Aging

Tuesday, May 30: Multidisciplinary Team Guide and Toolkit, 2:00pm ET, Walk-through from Elder Justice Initiative

Wednesday, May 31: LTCOP Volunteer Management: Model Materials and Sharing of Best Practices, 3:00pm ET, NORC Webinar

Thursday, June 15: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

November 5-8, 2017: Consumer Voice 41st Annual Conference, Arlington, VA

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Thursday, May 11:
The Elder Justice Initiative has launched the new Multidisciplinary Team Guide and Toolkit.

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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 © 2017.

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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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