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November 28, 2017

It's Giving Tuesday!

We have two days for getting deals - Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back.  Together, people are creating a new ritual for our annual calendar.  #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement; millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.

Support the quality of care, quality of life and rights of all long-term care consumers by giving to Consumer Voice this #GivingTuesday.
Your donation will support the work of Consumer Voice staff to:

  • Educate Members of Congress about the impact of harmful proposals on long-term care residents and families;
  • Analyze new proposals that are being released by Congress and CMS to determine their impact on residents and families;
  • Keep residents and other long-term care consumers at the policy table by including them in calls and meetings with government officials and advocates, and getting their input on federal policy initiatives; and
  • Mobilize advocates from across the country – including residents and family members – to tell their members in Congress how policies will affect them.

Make a donation and share on social media using #GivingTuesday.  (We now accept donations via Paypal - follow the link above and click the gold "Donate" button.)

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Major Changes in Nursing Home Regulatory Arena Go into Effect Today

November 28 is a big day in the world of nursing home regulations:  Phase 2 regulations go into effect, along with a new survey process, the “freezing” of health inspection ratings,  and revised interpretive guidelines. At the same time, an 18-month  moratorium on full enforcement of certain Phase 2 requirements begins.
Phase 2 Regulations
Today, nursing home requirements categorized as “Phase 2” become effective.  In response to provider concerns about insufficient time to come into compliance with the revised regulations, CMS decided to phase in the requirements and gave nursing homes up to three years to comply.  Even with this additional time, the nursing home industry lobbied hard for a delay of Phase 2, including asking many members of both the House and Senate to sign a letter to CMS requesting this delay. Consumer Voice and other advocacy organizations strongly opposed postponing Phase 2 implementation. In a letter signed by 240 national, state and local organizations and more than 950 individuals, Consumer Voice wrote, “Residents should not have to wait any longer for these - and other - protections. Stronger regulations and timely implementation are needed now more than ever.”  Advocates achieved a major victory when CMS decided not to grant an extension of time.

Moratorium on full enforcement of specific Phase 2 standards
Today is also the day that a moratorium on the use of certain enforcement remedies for a number of Phase 2 regulations is imposed. No civil money penalties (CMPs), discretionary denials of payment for new admissions (DPNAs) and discretionary termination can be issued for deficiencies of any of the specific Ftags. CMS states that the purpose of this delay is to educate facilities about specific Phase 2 standards. Consumer Voice and other advocacy groups fought this moratorium because it will likely impact full implementation of these requirements.

Survey Process
Beginning today, CMS is launching a new survey process referred to as LTCSP (Long-Term Care Survey Process).  According to CMS, the LTCSP combines “the best” of both the Traditional and Quality Indicator Survey processes into a single nationwide survey process.

Health inspection five-star rating
Because the protocol is different under the new survey process, CMS decided that consumers and others would not be comparing “apples to apples” if facilities surveyed under the new process were compared to those surveyed under the prior process. As a result, CMS will be holding constant, or “freezing,” the health inspection star rating for health inspection surveys and complaint investigations conducted on or after November 28, 2017.  

Interpretive Guidelines
Lastly, revised interpretive guidelines for the federal regulations are effective today. The purpose of the guidelines is to interpret and clarify the regulations; the guidance helps explain the regulations and what the facility should be doing if it is in compliance.

Find further information on all of these topics here.

Consumer Voice is developing materials and resources to help advocates understand the changes and apply this new information to their advocacy and consumer education.

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Minnesota Star Tribune's Investigation into Nursing Home Abuse Prompts Task Force

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called for a task force to address the states failure to protect elderly residents from abuse in senior care homes.  The announcement came in response to the Minnesota Star Tribune's special report on abuse taking place across Minnesota's senior care homes and the lack of investigation into the issue.  The Star Tribune's investigation found that hundreds of residents are beaten, sexually assaulted or robbed each year, but the vast majority of the crimes are never resolved, and the perpetrators are never punished.  The report found that the state agency meant to protect residents lacks the staff and expertise to investigate the crimes.  In 2017, the Minnesota Department of Health received 25,226 reports of neglect, abuse, unexplained serious injuries and thefts in state-licensed senior care homes, but the agency only investigated 3% of the cases.  The Star Tribune's report also examined assisted living facilities which are subject to far less regulation than nursing homes.  The investigation found that fewer than half of Minnesota's licensed home and assisted living providers are inspected every three years, as is required by state law. 

The Governor's task force will include state agency heads and experts on senior abuse and elder justice.  The Governor has also called upon providers to be a part of the task force and to "take responsibility" for these issues. 

Read the Star Tribune's five-part series here.

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New Webpage with Resources on Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization Program

Resources are available on a new Medicare Rights Educational Resources webpage.  The webpage, developed by the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care – National Coordinating Center in partnership with CMS, provides a variety of resources to increase awareness about the free services offered through Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organization Program.  Resources include: Powerpoint presentation providing an overview of Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization Program; sample medicare rights announcement; Quality Improvement Organization Program fact sheet; and a contact form to request a webinar presentation for your organization.

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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:

Residents Rights in Other Languages - Newly updated Residents' Rights fact sheets are now available in French, Spanish and Chinese.

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In this Issue

It's Giving Tuesday!

Major Changes in Nursing Home Regulatory Arena Go into Effect Today

Minnesota Star Tribune's Investigation into Nursing Home Abuse Prompts Task Force

New Webpage with Resources on Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization Program

Spotlight on Resources

Combined Federal Campaign


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Calendar of Events

Tuesday, December 5: It Takes YOUR Community, 9:00am - 1:30pm ET, Altarum's Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness Symposium, Attend in-person in Washington, DC or via webcast

Wednesday, December 6: Defending Evictions from Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, 2:00pm ET, Webinar from National Center on Law & Elder Rights

Join the conversation and follow us on social media!

Last Week's Most Popular Post:

Tuesday, November 21:
The Eldercare Locator has published a report entitled "Making Connections: Consumer Needs in Aging America."

Last Week's Most Popular Tweet:

Wednesday, November 22:

"Making Connections: Consumer Needs in an Aging America" new report from The ElderCare Locator found that transportation and home and community-based services were the top consumer needs

Long-Term Care Resources & News

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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 © 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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