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October 24, 2017

New Guide on HCBS Settings Rule

Consumer Voice has created a new guide - "Understanding and Advocating for Effective Implementation of the Home and Community-Based Services Settings Rule."  In March 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the first ever regulations establishing standards for the settings in which HCBS are provided. These regulations will impact the services, quality of life, and rights of HCBS care recipients, as well as the environment in which they receive those services. Each state must develop and implement a plan for how it will come into compliance with the HCBS rules. The involvement of advocates, including elder law attorneys, in influencing the plan and monitoring its implementation is critical.

This guide is designed to provide a better understanding of the HCBS settings rule and how to advocate for a strong, effective system that achieves the spirit and intent of the rule.  The guide includes an overview of the rule, a process for states to comply with the HCBS Rule, opportunities for advocacy to promote your clients' best interests, and a review of special issues including dementia care and evictions.  Development of this guide was supported by the NAELA Foundation.

Read the guide here.

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Consumer Voice Represented at Congresswoman's Press Conference on Emergency Preparedness

Consumer Voice Governing Board Treasurer Hanna Fink represented Consumer Voice at a press briefing held by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz about emergency preparedness and nursing homes.  During the briefing, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz announced she would be introducing legislation which would mandate that facilities have an alternate source of energy which could provide air conditioning for at least 96 hours after a natural disaster.  The legislation would also ensure that nursing homes are a top priority for power restoration. The legislation comes in response to the tragedy in Hollywood, Florida when fourteen people died in a nursing home after it lost power for several days after Hurricane Irma.  Read more here.

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New Voluntary Standards for Adult Portable Bed Rails

New voluntary standards for adult portable bed rails (APBRs) recently went into effect in order to protect consumers, and particularly older adults, from harm and even death.  APBRs are routinely used based on a pervasive myth that they are a safe, benign, and effective means of fall prevention in the elderly. However, research shows that fall rates are actually higher with rails and more likely to cause injury-- in addition to the significant risk of entrapment and asphyxiation. Entrapment can occur within openings in the bed rail, such as between the rails, and between the bed rail and the mattress or bed frame, including headboards and footboards.  Most APBRs fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) since they are not considered medical devices.

Gloria Black, the daughter of a victim of APBRs, was instrumental in focusing attention on the tragic consequences of poorly designed bed rails and the government’s failure to take action. After Ms Black first acted as an individual, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Consumer Voice, and 60 other organizations petitioned the CPSC to mandate rules governing bed rails, the agency sought voluntary standards.  The development of voluntary standards was conducted by ASTM International.  Under the leadership of Dr. William Hyman, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A & M University, Consumer Voice, Ms. Black and CFA, as well as representatives from the bed rail industry, CPSC and the Food and Drug Administration, all served on an ASTM subcommittee to create voluntary standards.
The ASTM standard includes but is not limited to:  conspicuous and permanent labels , better testing of entrapment zones, and specification by the manufacturer of the types and sizes of beds and mattresses for which it has tested its product because the bed/mattress combination can be a key part of whether an APBR passes or fails the standard.
The ASTM standard addresses entrapment, but not other hazards that are associated with bed rails, such as falls from the bed including when an individual tries to climb over a rail. Since the standard is voluntary, Dr. Hyman recommends that consumers: be aware of entrapment issues; pressure manufacturers to comply with the standard by asking about whether or not their products meet the requirements of the standard; reject manufacturer assertions that the standard does not apply to them; and in time, only buy products that cite compliance with this ASTM standard. To learn more, read this article written by Dr. Hyman. To get general information about the scope of the standard, click here.

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President Trump Signs into Law Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

Last Wednesday, President Trump signed into law S.178 "Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017."  The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act improves the nation’s response to elder abuse and financial exploitation of seniors. It does so by encouraging the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators who prey upon seniors, enhancing data collection, and supporting robust elder abuse prevention programs. Read the bill here.

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Materials Available from Webinar on Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center

Materials are now available from NORC's recent webinar "Exploring the Resources and Supports of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center." This webinar introduced participants to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s Paralysis Resource Center (PRC), a comprehensive national source of free information, services and programs for individuals with paralysis and their families and caregivers. The PRC provides information on paralysis caused by any condition, including spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy. Find the Powerpoint and recording here.

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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:

My Personal Directions for Quality Living - Record your personal preferences and information, in case you need long-term care services in your home or in a long-term care facility.  See an example here.

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In this Issue

New Guide on HCBS Settings Rule

Consumer Voice Represented at Congresswoman's Press Conference on Emergency Preparedness

New Voluntary Standards for Adult Portable Bed Rails

President Trump Signs Into Law Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

Materials Available from Webinar on Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center

Spotlight on Resources

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This year's agenda is packed with expert speakers, up-to-the-minute policy info, and much more!

  • Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living Lance Robertson will speak during the Resident Luncheon.  The luncheon will also include a dialogue with consumers.
  • "Achieving the Promise of the Nursing Home Reform Law 30 Years Later: Moving Forward Together" will take place in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill and will feature two expert panels discussing the key principles of the law and how to carry it forward.
  • Plus, the agenda is packed with many more can't-miss sessions!

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October: Residents' Rights Month

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

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Wednesday, October 18:
The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a new toolkit on observation status. Observation status is an "outpatient" category used by hospitals to bill Medicare.

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Friday, October 20:

"This is Our Home" from PEERs at Immaculate Mary Nursing Facility in Philadelphia, PA

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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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