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Current Newsletter - Friends of Long-Term Care

Providing Consumer-Focused Advocacy and Education - January News

2018 Public Policy Goals Adopted

At their January Board Meeting, the Board adopted three primary policy goals for the 2018 legislative session:

  1. Appropriate $7 million dollars in recurring state appropriations to meet the growing need and complexity of Adult Protective Services in North Carolina.
  2. Enact legislation and appropriations to bring the ratio of long term care ombudsmen and long term care beds to standards recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
  3. Increase North Carolina’s Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for residents in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities to be consistent with increases made in payments to support care.

The first two of these policy goals carry over from 2017; the third is a new initiative to be addressed in 2018. Input on 2018 goals was solicited broadly, ranked by FORLTC members, reviewed by our public policy committee and then submitted to the board for their consideration. Our public policy committee will be working on background and position papers on all three priorities. If you would like to serve on our public policy committee as we develop our advocacy strategies, please let us know.

Star Rating Study Begins

Session Law 2017-184, which was enacted by the General Assembly this past session, includes a provision requiring the Division of Health Service Regulation to conduct a study of the N.C. Star Rated Certificate Program for adult care facilities. Pursuant to the legislation by February 1st, 2018 DHHS will report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Fiscal Research Division on the progress of the study. By October 1, 2018, the Department is to conclude the study and report its findings and recommendations, including any recommendations for regulatory or legislative changes, to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Fiscal Research Division.

To conduct this study the Adult Care Licensure Section has established a workgroup including: DHSR Adult Care Licensure, DHSR Construction Section, County DSS Adult Services staff, The State Ombudsman, the Division of Aging and Adult Services, State/County Special Assistance Program, the Division of Mental Health/DD/SAS, the Division of Medical Assistance, Long Term Care Division, North Carolina Assisted Living Association, North Carolina Association, Long Term Care Facilities, Friends of Residents in Long Term Care, AARP North Carolina, Alzheimer’s North Carolina, Inc. a Representative from Family Care Homes and a representative from Carillon Assisted Living.

The work group has met twice since December and has formed two subgroups: the first to design a consumer survey to be given to current users of the Rating System and the second to look at other state rating systems or alternatives. Those subgroups have just begun their work. Bill Lamb and Bob Konrad have been representing Friends in the main workgroup and in the subgroup looking at other state's efforts.

New Board Members Elected

Residents Rights Month

Charles D. Phillips (Vice-Chair) is a public health professional who specializes in research and teaching related to disability, aging, and long-term services and supports policy and in health services research (HSR). His particular interests are in measuring and evaluating functional status, quality of care, and quality of life in care settings providing long-term services and supports to those with physical or mental challenges, especially older persons and children with special health care needs.

Residents Rights Month

Patti Sacchetti (Secretary) Served as a Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman with the Cape Fear Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging until her retirement in 2016. She has always been an advocate for older and disabled adults to empower their autonomy and independence. Now that she is retired she has more time and flexibility in supporting organizations like Friends.

Residents Rights Month

Steve Hahn is the Associate State Director for Communications for NC AARP. His role is to get the word out about important AARP programs, news, and initiatives, Steven Hahn’s wide range of skills and experience have helped AARP and other public and private sector organizations advance their legal, legislative and membership goals. Before that, Steve served in a variety of public relations roles and looks forward to helping Friends with public/media relations as well.

Residents Rights Month

Christina McCoy maintains a legal practice in Raleigh specializing in domestic matters and representing clients in abuse, neglect and dependency cases. Her interest in long term care comes from her professional experience in guardianship matters and her personal experiences with family members in long term care settings. She also teaches at Wake Technical Community College and has served as legislative council with NC Advocates for Justice.

Residents Rights Month

Vickie Turner currently works as an eldercare case manager. She has 40 years of experience working for families on the local, state, and national levels to improve quality of life for older adults and long term care residents. She was the founding executive director of Friends of Residents in 1987 and also served as secretary for NCCNHR (Consumer Voice).

Bill Lamb to Serve on Leadership Council

Bill Lamb, Executive Director for Friends of Residents, has been selected by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care to serve on their Leadership Council. The Leadership Council is that body of the organization charged with development of the public policy and programmatic agenda, conducting stakeholder outreach and connecting the Consumer Voice to other interest groups and coalitions. Bill served on the Board of the Consumer Voice from 2010 through 2015. It's good to have a voice from North Carolina on the national scene.

Penalties Levied Against Facilities at Risk

A headline from the January 10th edition of the Indy Week reads: In 2016, N.C. Nursing Homes Were Fined $3.4 Million for Failing to Protect Residents. Trump Is Putting a Stop to That. The article by Thomas Goldsmith goes on to read: People who live in nursing homes often have trouble speaking up for themselves, so the government has long spoken up for them. But the power of that voice is growing weaker under a new policy direction from the Trump administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has maintained strict federal oversight of nursing homes in return for the Medicaid payments that cover most nursing home care. Sometimes this has meant fining centers that fail to protect vulnerable residents, then let too much time pass before fixing dangerous conditions.

Bill Lamb, executive director of Raleigh-based Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, and other advocates for older people say that nursing corporations tend to look at fines as the cost of doing business, but they still want to reduce them.

To read more of the article go here.

A Word From Michael Rubins, One of Our Resident Board Members

Why you should support Friends of Residents in Long Term Care -

Please consider donating to help improve long-term care

Your tax-deductible donation supports our mission to improve long-term care in residential and community settings throughout the state. Your support allows us to answer questions on our Consumer Warm-Line, develop workshops for long-term care residents and their family members, and raise public awareness about long-term care issues. Click here to support Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care. Thank you so much for your help!

Copyright © 2018 Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, All rights reserved.


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