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January 25, 2022

In this Issue:

  1. Happening Friday: Consumer Voice and ACL Webinar for Families on Safe Visitation Through Boosters
  2. Additional Nursing Home Staffing Information Now Published on Care Compare Website
  3. CMS Releases Latest List of Special Focus Facilities and Candidates
  4. Questionnaire on Abuse Prevention Outreach for State Ombudsmen and Representatives
  5. New Initial Certification Training Curriculum for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs
  6. CMS and CDC National Nursing Home Stakeholder Call Tomorrow
  7. Tips from CFPB for Avoiding COVID-19 Testing Scams

Happening Friday: Consumer Voice and ACL Webinar for Families on Safe Visitation Through Boosters

Join Consumer Voice and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) for a webinar this Friday, February 4th at 3:30pm ET, "National Long-Term Care Family Webinar: Safe Visitation Through Boosters."  This conversation will focus on COVID-19 boosters to support safe visitation and promote family connections for long-term care residents. Join us to get your questions answered.
American Sign Language and CART will be provided. Please contact Marcia Gordon at marcia.gordon@acl.hhs.gov by Wednesday, Feb. 2 if you need any other accommodations to participate.

Speakers:

  • Alison Barkoff, Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living
  • Lori Smetanka, Executive Director, Consumer Voice
  • Dr. Cameron Webb, Senior Policy Advisor for Equity on the White House COVID-19 Team
  • Evan Shulman, Director of the Division of Nursing Homes, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Mark Miller, President, National Association of State LTC Ombudsman Programs

Register Now

Additional Nursing Home Staffing Information Now Published on Care Compare Website

Beginning January 26, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is posting new information on the Care Compare website that will help consumers have a better understanding of certain staffing information and concerns at facilities.
 
This information will be posted for each facility and includes:

  • Staff turnover:  The percentage of nursing staff as well as the number of administrators who have stopped working at a nursing home over the past 12-month period.
  • Weekend staff:  The level of weekend staffing for nurses and registered nurses at a nursing home over a three-month period.

Posting of this information was required as part of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010.  In many facilities, staffing is lower on weekends, often meaning residents have to wait longer or may not receive all the care they need.  High turnover means that staff are less likely to know the residents, recognize changes in condition, or implement preferred methods of providing care.  All of this contributes to the quality of care residents receive and their quality of life.

CMS Releases Latest List of Special Focus Facilities and Candidates

CMS has published a new list of Special Focus Facilities (SFF). SFFs are nursing homes with serious quality issues based on a calculation of deficiencies cited during inspections and the scope and severity level of those citations. CMS publicly discloses the names of the facilities chosen to participate in this program and candidate nursing homes.

To be considered for the SFF program, a facility must have a history (at least 3 years) of serious quality issues.  These nursing facilities generally have more deficiencies than the average facility, and more serious problems such as harm or injury to residents. Special Focus Facilities have more frequent surveys and are subject to progressive enforcement until it either graduates from the program or is terminated from Medicare and/or Medicaid.

This is important information for consumers – particularly as they consider a nursing home.

What can advocates do with this information?

  • Include the list of facilities in your area/state when providing information to consumers who are looking for a nursing home. Include an explanation of the SFF program and the candidate list.
  • Post the list on your program’s/organization’s website (along with the explanation noted above).
  • Encourage current residents and families to check the list to see if their facility is included.
  • Urge residents and families in a candidate facility to ask the administrator what is being done to improve care.
  • Suggest that resident and family councils invite the administrator to a council meeting to talk about what the facility is doing to improve care, ask for ongoing updates, and share any council concerns.
  • For long-term care ombudsmen representatives:  Meet with the administrator to discuss what the facility is doing to address problems and share any resources that might be helpful.

Questionnaire on Abuse Prevention Outreach for State Ombudsmen and Representatives

In an effort to educate and empower residents, family members, and staff with abuse prevention information in long-term care facilities, the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) is working with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) to learn more about Ombudsman programs’ familiarity with, and utilization of, abuse prevention resources and outreach methods.  State Ombudsmen and Ombudsman Representatives are requested to complete this questionnaire regarding abuse prevention outreach and education resources.  The questionnaire should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Responses will provide NCEA and NORC with invaluable information in their work to strengthen resources and information on identifying and preventing all forms of elder abuse and neglect in long-term care settings.

Please complete this questionnaire by Tuesday, February 15.

If you have any questions, contact Kimberly Moon, Project Coordinator at the NCEA: kimberly.moon@med.usc.edu.

New Initial Certification Training Curriculum for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) has made available the new Initial Certification Training Curriculum for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, which is a basic curriculum for initial certification training based on the requirements included in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Training Standards. Find training materials on NORC's website and watch the webinar providing an overview of the training curriculum.

CMS and CDC National Nursing Home Stakeholder Call Tomorrow

Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a National Stakeholder Call on Wednesday, February 2nd at 3:00pm ET which will provide updates on COVID-19, revisions to nursing home guidance, and best practices. Additionally, subject matter experts from CDC and CMS will address frequently asked questions.

Panelists:

  • Dr. Lee Fleisher, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CMS)
  • Jean Moody Williams, Deputy Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CMS)
  • Dr. Kara Jacobs-Slifka, Long Term Care Lead, Prevention and Response Branch (CDC)
  • Evan Shulman, Director, Division of Nursing Homes (CMS)

The webinar is intended for long-term care providers, facility staff, and resident advocates.

Register Now

Tips from CFPB for Avoiding COVID-19 Testing Scams

Scammers are preying on people looking for COVID tests. Some fraudsters are offering unauthorized home test kits. Others are setting up phony testing sites to steal personal information. The sites may look real with tents and hazmat suits – but then you don’t get the test results, you’re charged for a “free” test, or they use your information for identity theft. To avoid these scams, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests the following:

  • Do not give your Social Security number or passport number in order to get a COVID test.
  • Find legitimate testing sites. Check with your state or local health department or your doctor.
  • Look for FDA-authorized test kits. Check the FDA’s list of authorized antigen tests and PCR tests before buying. Now, you can get four free COVID test kits per household at COVIDtests.gov. Plus, insurance companies are required to cover the costs of up to eight over-the-counter COVID tests per month for each covered person.
  • When shopping online for test kits, pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that's not as advertised, you can contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

Learn more from CFPB about how to avoid COVID-related scams.

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