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February 22, 2022

In this Issue:

  1. Residents Are Put at Risk When Staffing Standards Are Weakened
  2. NORC Webinar Tomorrow on Ombudsman Program Emergency Preparedness and Response
  3. New Bill Would End Federal Requirement that State Medicaid Programs Recoup Costs from Families
  4. Webinar on Identifying and Preventing "Money Mule" Scams
  5. Deadline Extended: Ombudsman Program Survey on Abuse Prevention Outreach
  6. New Materials Available for Older Americans Month

Residents Are Put at Risk When Staffing Standards Are Weakened

Consumer Voice published a press release regarding the weakening of nursing home staffing standards.  Long-term care residents, their families, and advocates know what research confirms - there is a direct relationship between adequate staffing and quality care and quality of life for residents. Numerous studies have shown that facilities with higher levels of staffing had better COVID-19 outcomes during the pandemic. After over 200,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19 and countless others suffered from isolation and neglect, some states, instead of finding real solutions and ensuring that residents receive needed care and services, are suspending staffing standards (NY, RI) or introducing legislation to roll back standards (FL).

States and the federal government should be putting the needs of residents first by:

  • Implementing policies that support staff - raising wages, requiring benefits, supporting training programs;
  • Implementing minimum staffing standards that meet the needs of all residents, either through legislation or administrative action; and,
  • Holding facilities accountable for ensuring that additional funding goes to support staff and direct care needs, and for ensuring that residents receive necessary care and services.

Consumer Voice is calling on states and the federal government to act now to better protect residents of nursing homes by requiring minimum staffing requirements and accountability for the spending of public money.

Read the full press release.

NORC Webinar Tomorrow on Ombudsman Program Emergency Preparedness and Response

Long-term care Ombudsman programs: Join the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) for a webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, February 23rd at 3:00pm ET entitled "Are You Ready? Ombudsman Program Emergency Preparedness and Response."  Participants will learn how Ombudsman programs may better serve residents of long-term care facilities by being prepared for emergencies and how to best respond to them. Beverley Laubert, National Ombudsman Program Coordinator, Administration for Community Living, will share the federal perspective regarding the role of Ombudsman programs in emergency preparedness and response and two states will discuss recent disasters and their practices before and after the disasters. Also, NORC will share a new training resource for basic Emergency Preparedness and guidance for the Ombudsman program’s role in assisting residents.

Register Now

New Bill Would End Federal Requirement that State Medicaid Programs Recoup Costs from Families

Last week, Representative Jan Schakowsky introduced the Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act, which would repeal a federal law which requires state Medicaid programs to recover long-term care costs from estates of deceased recipients.  The law often forces family members of the deceased to sell a family home in order to repay the Medicaid costs.  Because home ownership is one of the few ways to build generational wealth for lower-income families, the burdens of estate recovery fall disproportionately on economically oppressed families and communities of color.

Read more about this issue in a new issue brief from Justice in Aging, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), National Health Law Program (NHeLP), and Western Center on Law & Poverty.

Webinar on Identifying and Preventing "Money Mule" Scams

Join the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) with the other ACL Elder Justice Resource Centers - Adult Protective Services Technical Assistance Resource Center (APS-TARC), National Adult Protective Services Training Center (NATC), National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), National Center on Law & Elder Rights (NCLER),  National Pension Assistance Resource Center (NPARC), National Resource Center on Women & Retirement (NRCWR) for a webinar on Thursday, March 10th at 2:00pm ET entitled "Money Mule Scams: Tips for Prevention, Identification, and Trauma-Informed Assistance." “Money mules” are individuals who receive and move money that came from victims of fraud. Some money mules know they are participating in a crime, but others are not aware that they are assisting in a crime. Attendees will learn the basics about money mule scams, including examples of these scams, tips for prevention and identification, how individuals can seek help, and available consumer education materials.

Register Now

Deadline Extended: Ombudsman Program Survey on Abuse Prevention Outreach

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.

Complete the questionnaire now.

37 states are represented in the response, but we would like to hear from each state, so we are extending the deadline to Tuesday, February 22.

New Materials Available for Older Americans Month

New materials are available in preparation for Older Americans Month (OAM).  Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the observance of OAM.  This year's theme - Age My Way - focuses on how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible, and it serves as an an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities. Posters, social media cover images, masthead artwork, and templates for a community proclamation and sample article are available now. Stay tuned for social feed graphics, activity ideas, and more that you can use to celebrate OAM in your community. Follow #OlderAmericansMonth for the latest from ACL, and to see what others are planning.

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