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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

May 31, 2011

Introducing the New Weekly Gazette

The Consumer Voice is pleased to release the newest version of its e-newsletter, The Gazette. The Gazette will continue to provide timely information about ombudsman program happenings, citizen advocacy group happenings, state and federal legislation and "DC Doins'" - just on a weekly basis instead of monthly. Additionally, The Gazette will now incorporate the Consumer Voice's monthly Executive Director Updates.

The Consumer Voice will e-mail The Gazette out each Tuesday; it will also be available on our websites. By switching to a weekly format, we will be able to get the latest Consumer Voice news and long-term care happenings out as quickly as possible. This new format will also decrease the number of Consumer Voice e-mails sent; we know how busy our members are. We are working diligently to get you the information needed in the most efficient manner possible.

Finally, we ask you to share this information with your networks. We encourage state ombudsmen to distribute The Gazette to their local and volunteer ombudsmen who do not have e-mail or access to the Internet.

Create Your Own State-Specific Consumer Guide

The Consumer Voice recently released a new document entitled How to Develop and Disseminate a State-Specific Long-Term Care, Services and Supports Consumer Guide for the Aging and Disability Communities.

This is a short how-to guide for groups that want to create a state-specific long-term services and supports (LTSS) guide for consumers in the aging and disability communities. CAGs in three states (Kansas, North Carolina and Virginia) have already created state-specific guides modeled after the national consumer guide, Piecing Together Quality Long-Term Care: A Consumer's Guide to Choices and Advocacy. Read More.

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NHOA Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass, Inc. (NHOA) held a reception on Thursday, May 19 to celebrate its 30th year as an advocacy organization for residents living in long-term care facilities.

Since 1981, NHOA ombudsmen have been fighting for the rights of residents in a 17 county span throughout the Bluegrass area.  There are nearly 4,600 residents living in long-term care facilities (including nursing homes and family and personal care homes) in NHOA’s district. Read More.

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Senate Hearing on OAA Reauthorization Held

The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing entitled on the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) on May 26. The hearing explored recommendations for strengthening and improving OAA programs and included testimony from Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Wisconsin State Ombudsman Heather Bruemmer also testified.

A webcast of the hearing, which is entitled Meals, Rides, and Caregivers: What Makes the Older Americans Act so Vital to America's Seniors, is available online.

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Consumer Voice Requests Meeting With HHS and CMS on Remedies to Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes

Last week, the Consumer Voice, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Berwick requesting a meeting to discuss the need for remedies to the off-label and life-threatening use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. The letter follows the report Overmedication of Nursing Home Patients Troubling, which was released earlier this month from the Office of Inspector General. In the report, the Office of Inspector General found many nursing homes are overmedicating residents with antipsychotic drugs that are:

    • powerful and at times dangerous;
    • often prescribed for uses that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration;
    • prescribed 88 percent of the time for elderly patients with dementia, who face an increased risk of death;
    • paid for more than half the time by Medicare even though they were not used for medically accepted reasons;
    • dispensed 20 percent of the time in ways that violated government standards; and
    • aggressively marketed by some drug companies for residents with dementia, "putting profits before safety."

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Pioneer Network Names New Executive Director

On May 20, the Pioneer Network announced Dr. Peter Reed as the organization's new executive director.

According to a Pioneer Network news release, Dr. Reed brings to the Pioneer Network a background in association leadership, advancement of person-directed care initiatives and research in aging. "This combination of expertise, along with a passion to change the culture of aging in America, serve to make Peter an ideal and exciting leader for Pioneer Network's team," said Megan Hannan, President of the Board of Directors in the release. Read More.

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National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care - 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425 - Washington, DC 20036 - telephone: (202) 332-2275 - fax: (202) 332-2949 - info@theconsumervoice.org