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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

July 5, 2011

Dear Friends:

It is wonderful to be back with the Consumer Voice after my maternity leave. Thank you so much to everyone who sent well wishes and words of support. I welcomed my first daughter, Madeleine Claire Wells, on March 30. She is three-months old now and doing great. I have much to learn in the weeks, months, years to come on how to be a well-balanced working mom! However difficult, returning to work is made easier by coming back to such a wonderful organization and passionate network of advocates. While my mind was certainly on the changes in my family the last few months, I have been thinking of all of you too.

This continues to be a tremendously busy and important time for consumers of long-term care. Time runs out in less than a month for Congress to vote for huge federal spending cuts to get Republicans’ support to increase in the national debt limit. This is a critical time for you to communicate with your senators and representative and remind them that 70 percent of nursing home residents depend on Medicaid for their long-term care.

While the work is busy, donations are slow in the summer. We need your support now for our advocacy efforts. If you are thinking of donating this year or already have and can chip in a bit more, we would appreciate your contribution. Donate now. Thank you.

I look forward to talking with and seeing many of you before the year is out. Will you join us at the Consumer Voice Annual Conference, October 25-28 in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Please do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything the Consumer Voice can assist you with.

All the best,

Younger Nursing Home Population, Problems Growing at High Rate

The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) is surveying its members about their experiences providing care to nursing home residents under age 65.

“This research may surprise you,” the association says. “People ages 31 to 64 have entered nursing homes at a higher rate than those 65 and older in the past eight years, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The number of those younger than 65 has increased 22 percent in the last eight years and has climbed to 14.9 percent of the nursing home population.”

AMDA says it is hard to pinpoint what is causing the trend and that many states are just beginning to notice the change.

“Nursing homes that once catered almost exclusively to the elderly must handle a wider range of ages and illnesses,” the association notes. “Emerging evidence shows that many younger residents have debilitating conditions caused by chronic diseases or traumatic injuries. Some have histories of mental illness and substance abuse. In 2008, 41 percent more people with serious mental illness lived in nursing homes than in 2002. The greatest increases in the numbers of younger people with mental illness placed in nursing homes were in Utah, Nevada, Missouri, Alabama, and Texas. (In Texas, the young population in nursing homes has jumped to 15.3 percent, up from 11 percent in 2002.)”

AMDA will use the information in developing long-term care information kits to help its members manage the care of younger long-term care residents.

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The Impact of MDS 3.0/Section Q

Since the implementation of MDS 3.0 in October 2010, the Ombudsman Resource Center and the Administration on Aging (AoA) has been seeking information regarding the impact of MDS 3.0, specifically Section Q, on residents and the ombudsman program. We’ve issued quarterly questionnaires to solicit information and we share the information we gather with the Ombudsman network, AoA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The information gathered from these questionnaires will be used by NORC, AoA and CMS to provide support and training to ombudsman programs and entities designated as local contact agencies as they assist residents in transitioning out of nursing homes. Help us accurately capture your experiences related to the impact of MDS 3.0/Section Q by completing the upcoming questionnaire. We will send an invitation to state and local ombudsmen to participate in the questionnaire soon. Read more.

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Florida State Legislators Reject Federal Funds for Money Follows the Person Program

The Florida state panel recently rejected federal funds of 2.1 million dollars that would expand a program designed to move elderly and disabled residents from nursing homes into their own homes or communities to receive similar care.

After rejecting Money Follows the Person, the legislature approved incentives of 4.5 million and 3 million dollars to two undisclosed businesses considering expansion or moves to Florida. Approval was unanimous despite suspicion sparked by the secretive nature of the proposal.

More information, read the St. Petersburg Times's article "Florida panel rejects federal funds for elderly."

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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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