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June 13, 2023

In this Issue:

  1. Major Supreme Court Victory for Nursing Home Residents' Rights
  2. Strong Staffing Standards Now
  3. New Podcast Episode on Poor Care in Highly Rated Facilities
  4. June 12-16 is WEAAD Week
  5. Join Us in Charm City

Major Supreme Court Victory for Nursing Home Residents' Rights

On Thursday, June 8, the United States Supreme Court delivered a victory to nursing home residents residing in state run (publicly owned) Medicaid-funded nursing facilities, by finding that these residents have a private right of action against a nursing home if it violates rights conferred upon residents by the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (FNHRA). The family of Gorgi Talevski brought the lawsuit in federal court after serious issues arose when Mr. Talevski was admitted to an Indiana nursing home, Valparaiso Care and Rehabilitation (VCR). The complaint alleged that the facility illegally sedated Mr. Talevski with a variety of psychotropic drugs and then illegally discharged him from the facility. The Supreme Court held that FNHRA explicitly confers certain rights on nursing home residents, including the right to be free from chemical restraints and not to be subject to illegal discharge. In turn, these rights were found enforceable under Section 1983 of the United States Code, which provides citizens with a private right of action when a state deprives them of rights secured by the “Constitutions and laws.”

Consumer Voice joined an amicus curiae, or “friend of the Court,” brief in favor of upholding the right of residents to sue in cases like Mr. Talevski’s. The brief highlighted the inadequate care, poor conditions, and abuse many nursing home residents endure. Too often the federal and state regulatory systems fail nursing home residents, as it did in Mr. Talevski’s case. Providing residents with a private cause of action in instances where the facility is operated by a state allows residents to address poor care directly in the courts. Consumer Voice is grateful for the willingness of Mr. Talevski’s family to stand up for resident rights and for obtaining this important victory in the Supreme Court.

Learn more.

Strong Staffing Standards Now

We need strong staffing standards in place now. The Biden Administration will be releasing a minimum staffing standard for skilled nursing facilities in the coming days. A strong staffing standard would be the most significant increase in protection for nursing home residents in decades. However, the nursing home industry is out in full opposition to a staffing standard. The voices that matter - the voices of of nursing home residents, their loved ones, and nursing home staff - are being lost in the discussion.  

The Biden Administration needs to hear your voice. Tell them to propose a strong staffing standard that protects residents!

Share your story about why strong staffing standards are essential in nursing homes.

Learn more about the importance of staffing standards in nursing homes:

New Podcast Episode on Poor Care in Highly Rated Facilities

Podcast logoIn the newest episode of the Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care podcast, Consumer Voice Executive Director, Lori Smetanka, is joined by award-winning writer/director Susie Singer Carter and former federal prosecutor Rick Mountcastle to discuss their upcoming documentary, No Country for Old People. Susie and Rick are collaborating on the film to promote conversations about the improper treatment and poor conditions many individuals in long-term care endure and spur action to address these failures in care. The documentary was inspired by Susie’s mother and the ordeal she experienced in what was advertised as a five-star long-term care residence in Los Angeles.

No Country for Old People is in development, and Susie and Rick intend to make the film available to as many people as possible. Learn more about the documentary and make a donation to its production.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Youtube, Facebook or our website.

June 12-16 is WEAAD Week

WEAADThis week is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) Week.  Join the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) each day for new opportunities and resources for advocates and professionals to raise awareness of elder abuse and advance elder justice. Follow @NCEAatUSC on Twitter and participate in each day's #WEAADWeek question.

Join NCEA for a webinar on WEAAD, Thursday, June 15th at 2:30pm ET, "Trauma-Informed Practices ot Address Abuse and Build Resilience." Consumer Voice Executive Director Lori Smetanka will participate in the panel.

Find more ways to take part in WEAAD on NCEA's website.

Join Us in Charm City

2023 CV Conference logoRegistration for the 2023 Consumer Voice Annual Conference is open, and we can't wait to see you in Baltimore.  Join us at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor in Charm City for an exciting conference agenda.  Advocates from across the country will come together to listen to key experts discuss policy updates, hear from long-term care consumers, gain skills and learn best practices, and leave revitalized and equipped with new tools to better advocate for long-term care consumers.

Learn more about our conference, including options for livestreaming, and register now.

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