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February 14, 2023

In this Issue:

  1. Register for Webinar "Dignity for All: Staffing Standards Benefit Residents and Workers"
  2. CMS Proposes Rule to Bring Increased Transparency and Accountability to Nursing Home Ownership
  3. New Podcast Episode on Advocating for Residents' Rights to Intimacy and Sexual Expression
  4. Webinar on Equity in the Aging Network

Register for Webinar "Dignity for All: Staffing Standards Benefit Residents and Workers"

This month marks the one-year anniversary of President Biden's announcement of historic nursing home reforms. Creating a minimum staffing standard, which would be the most significant increase in protections for nursing home residents in decades, was central to his plan. Since his announcement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has embarked on a study to determine the minimum level of direct nursing care all residents need and has promised to propose a standard this spring.

Join Consumer Voice for a webinar on February 23, 2023, at 2:00 pm ET as we launch our "Dignity for All: Staffing Standards Now!" campaign advocating for a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes. This webinar will discuss the importance of adequate staffing for residents' safety and health. We will also feature the voices of residents and long-term care facility workers, who will share what it is like to live and work in a nursing home without adequate staffing.

The nursing home industry's opposition to a minimum staffing standard has been fierce. The voices of residents and workers have been lost in the discussion. Over the next several months, Consumer Voice and resident advocates will center the discussion of minimum staffing standards on residents and workers by holding a series of events to uplift their voices. In addition, we will need your support to ensure that the primary focus of adequate staffing is on the residents and workers.

Register for the Webinar Now

CMS Proposes Rule to Bring Increased Transparency and Accountability to Nursing Home Ownership

On Monday, February 13, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule that it described as an effort to bring increased transparency and accountability to nursing home ownership. The proposed rule would implement a section from the Affordable Care Act passed in 2011 that Consumer Voice and other advocates have been urging CMS to put into place for years. Consumer Voice has long called for increased transparency in nursing home ownership. Currently, for many consumers, determining who owns a nursing home is virtually impossible. The announcement by CMS comes on the heels of a February 2, 2023 report by the Government Accountability Office that called for CMS to make nursing home ownership information more accurate and available to the public.
Section 6101 of the ACA requires nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid to disclose significant amounts of information about not only who owns the nursing home but those involved in managing, operating, and providing other services to the home. Section 6101 arose out of concern that nursing home owners and operators often employ confusing and indecipherable ownership and management schemes to avoid accountability for poor care and to hide how they use taxpayer dollars. If implemented correctly, 6101 would be a critical step in protecting nursing home residents.
In its press release, CMS tied the proposed rule to President Biden’s announcement last year of historic nursing reforms. Additionally, CMS noted the increased prevalence of “private equity” firms  and “real estate investment trusts (REITS),” and the connections between these types of ownership and poor care. While Consumer Voice agrees that these types of ownership are extremely problematic, we note that the problems Section 6101 seeks to address precede the rise of private equity and other investment firms in the nursing home industry. Private equity firms have simply taken advantage of a system that has been in place for years and that has allowed many nursing homes to pull taxpayer dollars away from resident care and into profits. While Consumer Voice believes private equity investment firms have no place in nursing home care, their removal would not fix the underlying problem of little accountability in how nursing homes are owned and operated.
Comments for the proposed rule are due April 14, 2023.
Consumer Voice is continuing to work on this issue. Stay tuned for more information.

New Podcast Episode on Advocating for Residents' Rights to Intimacy and Sexual Expression

Intimacy and sexual expression are basic human rights and are needed throughout our lifespan. Aging does not mean a loss of sexual intimacy, but when an older adult is cognitively impaired, it can be difficult to determine if they are engaged in a healthy sexual relationship. The right to freedom of sexual expression among these populations has proven a sensitive and sometimes controversial topic, particularly when cognitive capacity is in question. By federal law, individuals residing in long-term care are afforded multiple rights, many of which are relevant to sexuality, such as privacy, confidentiality, the right to make independent choices, and the right to choose visitors and meet in a private location.

In this episode of the Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care podcast in honor of Valentine's Day today, we are joined by Patty Ducayet, Texas State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, to explore the complex issues surrounding long-term care residents' ability to consent to sexual activity and ways to support a resident’s right to intimacy and sexual expression.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Facebook or our website.

Webinar on Equity in the Aging Network

The Older Adults' Equity Collaborative (OAEC), a group fo national Minority Aging Technical Assistance and Resource Centers funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the New York Academy for Medicine are holding a webinar on Thursday, February 16th at 3:00pm ET entitled "Equity in the Aging Network: Looking 3 Years Back & 30 Years Forward."  This webinar will provide an overview of the OAEC’s work to elevate cultural competence in the aging network through active engagement with professionals, caregivers, and older adults. This event will reflect on the accomplishments of this collaborative by introducing attendees to the resources and tools generated by the OAEC and look ahead by stimulating conversation on the future of equity in the aging network.

Register Now

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