September 6, 2011
Congress is Back in Session - Watch Your Inboxes for Action Alerts on Deficit Reduction
Congress is back in session, and Congress's "Super-Committee," made up of 12 Democratic and Republican Senators and Representatives, is gearing up to devise a plan to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit.The Consumer Voice is concerned deficit reduction will critically reduce funding for programs for the most vulnerable members of our society, including nursing home residents and others who would not be able to receive long-term care without federal assistance. As Congress tries to reduce the deficit, here's what the Consumer Voice is concerned about
- Reduction in federal Medicaid spending
- Reduced funding for services provided under the Older Americans Act
- Reduced federal and state regulation and oversight of nursing homes
- Decline of staffing levels and quality in nursing homes
The Consumer Voice is working hard to educate Congress and the public about the impact of budget cuts on long-term care programs and services. Please continue to watch your inbox as we are preparing to send out key Action Alerts around this issue. We need your support.
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AoA Releases Review of Florida Ombudsman Program
Last week, the Administration on Aging (AoA) issued a compliance review of Florida's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, at the request of several groups, including the Consumer Voice in a February letter to Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee.
The compliance review determined, under the Older Americans Act (OAA), the State of Florida acted improperly with respect to a number of issues including:
- designation of local ombudsman volunteers,
- legislative advocacy and
- information dissemination.
AoA has requested that the state submit a plan of correction on these issues within 30 days. Furthermore, "AoA determines the State of Florida did not adhere to the spirit of the OAA," and revealed, "areas of concern," such as the appointment and removal of the state long-term care ombudsman. AoA will not conduct a compliance review on that issue but will provide further guidance to the states.
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Treasury Department Moves Toward All-Electronic Federal Benefit Payments
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has started to move toward all-electronic federal benefit payments; individuals now applying for federal benefits will receive payments electronically while anyone currently receiving paper federal benefit checks must switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013. Under this new system, paper checks will no longer be available.
As part of this effort, the Treasury Department has launched Go Direct, a public education campaign designed to inform Americans about the all-electronic payments and encourage remaining federal benefit check recipients to switch to electronic payments now instead of the 2013 deadline. The campaign also provides individuals with the resources and tools needed to transition to electronic payments. Additionally, the campaign website includes a Crime Prevention Tool Kit, featuring talking points, poster and fliers, sample newsletter copy and more.
According to the Treasury Department, older adults, individuals with disabilities, veterans and others receiving payments electronically will experience several benefits compared to paper checks, including no risk of lost or stolen checks, the convenience of no having to deposit a check and the reliability of having payments on time. This new system is expected to save taxpayers $120 million each year.
For more information, visit the Go Direct campaign website.
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September is World
September is World Alzheimer's Month; join the Alzheimer's Association and help recognize and honor individuals who face this disease as well as raise awareness about dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Association website, there are more than 35 million people living with dementia worldwide, and Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.
Visit http://www.alz.org/wam/wam.asp for more information about World Alzheimer's Month. Also, September 21 is Alzheimer's Action Day, and Alzheimer's Association is encouraging everyone to wear purple and turn Facebook purple by changing your profile picture to its END ALZ icon.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.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.