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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

September 13, 2011

HHS Announces State Balancing Incentive Payment Program Guidance and Application

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced a new program to encourage states to offer home and community-based services as a long-term care alternative to nursing homes. The State Balancing Incentive Payments Program, created by the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-1480), is an opportunity for participating states to receive a temporary enhanced federal match rate, or FMAP, to help rebalance Medicaid spending by increasing the percentage of home and community-based expenditures for long-term services and supports under the state Medicaid program.

The balancing incentive program is to run from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2015. States are encouraged to apply using this application.

Additional guidance is available online.

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New Scorecard on Long-Term Care Released

A new state-by-state scorecard on long-term care, developed by AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation, was released last week and puts eight states - Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, and Maine - at the top when it comes to providing long-term services and support for older adults and people with disabilities. A report, Raising Expectations: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers, was also released along with the scorecard.

The State Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Scorecard's researchers say the scorecare is the first to take a multidimensional approach in measuring performance in long-term care at the state level. It's designed to "begin a dialogue among key stakeholders so that lagging states can learn from top performers and all states can target improvements where they are most needed," says the report.

The scorecard looked at four aspects of long-term care:

  • Affordability and access
  • Choice of setting and provider
  • Quality of life and quality of care
  • Support for family caregivers

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GAO Sharing Reports and Podcasts on Facebook

Facebook users can now "Like" the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Facebook. "GAO's Facebook page brings together our latest content and helps us share it with people where they are," said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, said in a GAO press release. "This initiative is the latest step in GAO's continuous effort to seek out new communication tools to share our findings with Congress and the American people."

The GAO Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/usgao. Facebook users who "Like" the page will see new GAO content in their News Feeds on a regular basis, including reports and testimonies, podcasts, selected videos and report graphics.

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September 23 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day

The Fourth Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day will take place on the first day of fall, September 23, 2011, and works to raise awareness of preventive fall measures. According to the Falls Free Coalition, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans 65 and older; studies show a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population.

Additionally, a Congressional Briefing on fall prevention will be held on Wednesday September 21, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., room G11 in the Dirksen Building. Participants include CDC/NCIPC and U.S. Administration on Aging.

On September 22, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. EST, the National Council on Aging and IlluminAge are co-sponsoring a webinar entitled Falls Prevention: Debunking the Myth of Falls in Older Adults. Online registration is open for this webinar.

More information on Falls Prevention Awareness Day is available online.

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HHS Issues Facebook App Challenge

The Department of Health and Human Office (HHS) of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) would like to create a Facebook application to help individuals and communities prepare for natural disasters. HHS is offering prizes for the winner: 1st place: $10,000; 2nd place: $5,000 and 3rd place: $1,000. Winners will also have the opportunity to work with the U.S. Government and Facebook to get their ready in time for next year’s hurricane season. To learn more about the challenge and to sign up, go to http://challenge.gov/challenges/220.

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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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