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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

June 28, 2011

New OIG Site Lists Nursing Home Corporate Integrity Agreements

The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has initiated a webpage that provides background on the federal government’s settlements with nursing home providers that are currently operating with oversight from quality of care monitors under Corporate Integrity Agreements (CIAs). When a False Claims Act settlement resolves fraud allegations related to quality of care, OIG may enter into a CIA as part of the settlement. The OIG website now lists all current Quality of Care CIAs with links to documents and related press releases.

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Kentucky to Implement Tougher Criminal Background Checks for Direct Care Workers

According to recent news articles, on June 22, Kentucky Governor Steve Besher announced Kentucky has received a $3 million federal grant to conduct criminal background checks using digital fingerprints on prospective employees who provide direct care to residents in long-term care facilities.

Currently, in Kentucky, long-term care facilities are required by the state to conduct only name-based background checks for prospective employees who provide direct care. However, this grant will help the Cabinet for Health and Family Services by purchasing equipment to conduct digital fingerprints that can be used for state and FBI criminal background checks.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administers the National Background Check Program.

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky is very pleased to participate in this critical initiative that is designed to help long-term care facilities and providers avoid hiring individuals with certain criminal histories by conducting federal and state level background checks on prospective job applicants," said Gov. Steve Beshear said in a recent Lex18.com news story. "This falls directly in line with our ongoing work to address elder abuse and improve patient care in long-term care facilities."

Kentucky has 590 long-term care facilities, 101 assisted living facilities and about 600 other providers who employ direct care workers.

Read more online.

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Consumer Voice Submits Comments to CMS on Proposed Regulations Relating to Home and Community-Base Medicaid Waivers

The Consumer Voice has submitted comments on regulations proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relating to home and community-based Medicaid waivers. Consumer Voice staff worked with several members of the Leadership Council to draft the comments, which strongly support those submitted by the National Senior Citizens Law Center. The comments also address key areas from the Consumer Voice perspective and take into consideration the views of a wide range of groups from both the aging and disability communities. The proposed regulations are significant because they define what is to be considered a home and community-based setting, thus determining where Medicaid waiver services can be provided. Other areas addressed in the regulations include person-centered planning, combining different populations into one waiver, a public input process for waiver development and ways to ensure state compliance. Read the Consumer Voice comments online.

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Consumer Voice Seeks Input on Home Care Quality

As part of the Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where initiative, an online “Home Care and Services” survey has been developed to gain consumer and family caregiver input about home care quality. The survey asks about people’s home care experiences and what they believe makes for good care and services. The survey is designed to provide a very rough idea of home care from the consumer perspective. It is being used in each of the initiative’s five pilot states to help inform state policy work and to provide a better understanding of how to ask questions about quality. A national version of this survey has also been created. The information from the survey will assist the Consumer Voice in identifying issues of importance to consumers and in shaping our national advocacy in the home care arena. The Consumer Voice would like to ask for your help in disseminating the survey to people receiving care/services at home and family caregivers. You can do this by sending people the link to the survey, which is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/86FFTTR. The survey is also available in hard copy. Both the survey link and the hard copy can be accessed on the Consumer Voice website.

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Consumer Voice Director of Public Policy Featured in Podcast: You Should Know: Nursing Home Safety

You Should Know: Nursing Home Safety, is a podcast interview with Janet Wells, director of public policy for the Consumer Voice, on challenges the elderly and their families face in finding safe, quality long-term care and the threat to quality care in tort reform, mandatory arbitration agreements and the federal deficit reduction debate. You Should Know is an e-communication program focused on the health, welfare and legal rights of Americans.

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Resident's Voice Entries Due
July 11

As part of National Residents' Rights Month in October, the Consumer Voice encourages long-term care residents to submit artwork, poetry, videos, stories and more to our annual Resident's Voice Challenge. The theme of this year’s Residents’ Rights Month is, "Welcome Home: Creating Connections Between Residents and the Community" with the goal of educating the community about residents' rights and to increase community involvement with residents. We want to hear what residents have to say about community and why residents’ rights are important to them. Select entries will be used to make buttons, bumper stickers, bracelets and more for Residents' Rights Month! All Resident's Voice entries will also be posted the Consumer Voice's website. The deadline to submit entries is July 11; entries should be sent to Abigail Fanara at afanara@theconsumervoice.org. For more information on Residents’ Rights Month and the Resident’s Voice Challenge, visit the Consumer Voice's website.

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Now Accepting Nominations for the 2011 Consumer Voice Leadership Awards

Submit your Leadership Award nominations! If you know someone who has demonstrated significant commitment and dedication to improving the lives of long-term care consumers, nominate them for the Consumer Voice’s Annual Leadership Award. The awards will be presented at our 36th Annual Conference & Meeting, October 25-28 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The deadline to submit nominations is July 15. For more information, award criteria, and a downloadable nomination form, visit the Consumer Voice website.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to rlivesay@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2011.

The 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. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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