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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

July 26, 2011

Consumer Voice Launches E-mail Campaign in Support of CLASS Act

The Community Living Assistance and Supportive Services (CLASS) Act is under threat of repeal, and we need your help! The Consumer Voice has set up an e-mail for you to send messages about CLASS to your members of Congress.

Once implemented, the Class Act will provide a voluntary payroll deduction plan to help pay the non-medical costs of long-term care. Employees who pay into the program for at least five years (and who are working at least three of those years) can receive a daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they have functional or cognitive disabilities and qualify for benefits. CLASS benefits can be used for services to help them remain in the community, such as home health care and adult day care, and can offset the costs of assisted living and nursing home care. Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to keep some of the cash amount to supplement their personal needs allowance.

Tell your members of Congress repealing the program would be a mistake.

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Nevada Launches Volunteer Ombudsman Program

The Nevada Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program recently launched a volunteer ombudsman program. Volunteers are asked to commit at least one-year term where they will spend four hours per week volunteering for the program.

There are currently two volunteers who are through the application process and are being trained.

The program's budget allow sfor 25 volunteers during the next two years.

For more information, see Nevada's Volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman brochure.

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Oregon Couple Discovers They Hired a Caregiver With a Criminal Record

According to a news article from OregonLive.com, an Oregon couple recently discovered they had hired a woman who was convicted in 2010 of criminal mistreatment of an elderly person to care for their 92-year-old mother. The woman, Teresita Lee, also had a record of felony theft convictions going back to 1976.

The couple hired Lee in fall 2009 based on a recommendation from Lee’s landlord, a friend of the couple. They did not perform a background check or speak with previous employers. They were told Lee was available because a client had passed away.

After Lee asked for time off to care for a sick relative, the couple discovered she had spend 90 days in jail as a result of her conviction and was on probation and prohibited from working with any elderly or dependent person.

According to the state’s Department of Human Services, there were over 2,300 abuse cases involving elderly Oregonians living at home in the past year. Oregon State law requires caregivers paid through Medicaid or other public programs receive background checks. However, no such standards for caregivers working for private-pay clients exist.

In Oregon, state and local agencies do offer training, background checks and help with aging spouses or relatives. Oregon is one of 16 states to offer a free registry matching caregivers and clients, but according to the article, officials believe most people are unaware of these programs.

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NCLC Webinars Available Online as Part of National Elder Rights Training Project

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has launched a series of webinars as a part of the National Elder Rights Training Project.  The webinars have a wide range of topics relating to elder rights including elder abuse, understanding social security, pensions and more. The webinar PowerPoints and recordings are downloadable and can be found online.

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Newspaper Stories Examine Articles of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Recently across the nation multiple stories of abuse and neglect in long-term care settings have been in the news.

One article in Honolulu’s Star Advertiser cited at least four instances of abuse the state failed to penalize. The cases cited involved sexual harassment and abuse, toxic levels of medication, neglect and insertion of a feeding tube (larger than the physician recommended) resulting in a punctured internal organ and major surgery. The article repeatedly questioned why more severe actions were not taken by the state.

Kentucky.com has a watchdog series entitled “Vulnerable and Voiceless: Nursing Home Abuse” with several articles reporting cases of abuse and neglect in Kentucky nursing homes. The series cites not only the instances of abuse but also questions the consequential action taken, calling for more severe sanctions.

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Background Checks Required for Home Care Workers in Napa County

Napa is the first county in California to require permits and background checks for those paid to provide in-home care for the elderly and disabled.

Law enforcement officials believe the regulation of the home-care industry is needed and overdue. With the new requirement, officials hope to check the growing number of elder abuse cases, which have been on the arise in California. However, some believe the background checks are intrusive, especially for those caring for their own relatives.

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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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