October 20, 2011
HHS Suspends CLASS Program
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that HHS will not continue to try to implement the CLASS program. The program, originally championed by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, would allow workers to sign up and pay a monthly premium, and in return, they would be eligible after a number of years for a daily benefit administered by HHS that could help pay for long-term care services should they become necessary. CLASS would have given all Americans a way to prepare for the future and a way to insure against the possibility of needing long-term care services.
Though Medicare and Medicaid issued warnings to Congress and the public that the program may be unsustainable, HHS pursued a workable model. The report issued by HHS on Friday showed that the department did not find a way to make CLASS work at this time. In a statement issued by Secretary Sebelius, though the CLASS program has been suspended, the department recommitted itself “to the ultimate goal of making sure Americans can get the long-term care they need.” For more information, read Secretary Sebelius’ statement.
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California Passes New Legislation Requiring Notification of Assisted Living Residents
The California Legislature passed two bills this session providing additional notification to RCFE (Assisted Living) residents and the LTC Ombudsman on the occurrence of specified events. The first, SB 897 the RCFE Residents Foreclosure Protection Act, requires notification to residents and the ombudsman when there is a foreclosure action or experiencing financial distress.
The second bill, AB 313, requires notification when a proceeding is initiated to suspend or revoke the facility’s license, or when a criminal action is brought against the facility.
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Nursing Home Deficiency Report Released
A new report has been completed by Charlene Harrington and her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, showing trends in U.S. nursing homes by state for 2005 through 2010. The data are from the federal On-Line Survey and Certification System (OSCAR) reports that are completed at the time of the annual nursing home surveys by state Licensing and Certification programs for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Even though some improvements were shown in the data, the average nursing home received almost 10 deficiencies for poor quality of care and almost one-fourth of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused actual harm or jeopardy to residents. Moreover, continued wide variations in staffing, residents, quality of care and deficiencies were found across states. For more information, read the full report or read highlights from the report in the press release.
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Consumer Voice Attends 100th Green House Home Celebration
On September 27, Consumer Voice Executive Director Sarah Wells and Program Manager Jessica Brill Ortiz attended the celebration of the opening of the 100th Green House home nationally, at Green Hill in West Orange, New Jersey. The event was attended by a small group of national leaders in aging and long-term care and government (including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), and included tours of the Green Hill Green House homes and discussion about the differences between Green House homes and other models of long-term services and supports (LTSS) such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care. This was the third time Consumer Voice staff have visited a Green House home, providing an opportunity to learn about and experience the model in rural, urban and suburban settings. We interacted with and observed Green House home shahbazim, nurses, and other leaders who discussed their perception of the difference between The Green House model and other more traditional LTSS models. A highlight of the day was when elders for whom the Green Hill Green House homes are home welcomed us into their home as visitors, allowing us to observe their house and daily life. We look forward to an opportunity to speak at more length directly with elders residing in Green House homes to hear their experiences and comments about the model, and to learning and seeing increased examples of the ways in which Green Houses are creating interesting, innovative and promising opportunities for quality care and life for elders in need of LTSS.
To learn about resident-directed care or "culture change" and hear a recording of the March 2011 Consumer Voice informational webinar "The Green House Model: Strengths and Weaknesses for Residents' Quality of Care and Life," visit http://www.theconsumervoice.org/advocate/culturechange. To learn more about The Green House Project, visit http://thegreenhouseproject.org/.
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Resident Advocates Recognized at 10th Annual PEER Day
On October 5, Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Brian Duke honored Pennsylvania's Empowered Expert Residents, or PEERs, for their work as volunteer advocates in long-term care facilities. PEERs are residents of long-term care facilities trained to act as an advocate for fellow residents; the program is part of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and works to enhance the quality of care and life of residents.
The October 5 event honored more than 300 individuals and two awards were presented. Harry Wood from the Colony in Mercer County received the PEER Volunteer award, and Lena Wagaman from the Village of Laurel Run in Adams County was given the Staff award.
Individuals participating in the PEER program must complete a 10-hour training program. Currently, there are approximately 1,600 trained PEERs in more than 200 facilities in Pennsylvania.
The recognition program was held in conjunction with Residents' Rights Month. For more information on the PEER program, visit the Department of Aging 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 email@example.com. 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.