Nursing home resident Priscilla Malick wants to increase the number of staff and improve the quality of care for residents of long-term care facilities. Will you help her?
In January 2015, the Department of Labor updated the Fair Standards Labor Act (FSLA) rules for homecare workers. Under this new Home Care Final Rule, most home care workers must be paid the federal minimum wage and receive overtime pay. To help consumers and families understand their new responsibilities, the Department of Labor has released a new resource to explain the rules.
The Guide outlines who needs to follow the new rules and explains to consumers and caregivers how to comply with the rules with helpful examples and checklists.
On February 24th, 2016 hundreds of advocates from across the state gathered in the rotunda at the capitol in Frankfort, KY for Advocacy Day to show their support of Kentucky’s senior services and aging programs. The hosts of the rally, AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Kentucky Association of Gerontology, brought awareness to some of the most important and current aging issues in Kentucky, including the vital role senior services brings to our communities, the increased occurrences of Alzheimer diseases and other forms of dementia, aging at home, and the importance of aging services for both caregivers and seniors throughout the state.
Advocates had a chance to “rally in the rotunda” to show their support of Kentucky’s age related services and also had a chance to meet face-to-face with their state appointed representatives to discuss and advocate for such services. Joining in on the rally were several Long-Term Care Ombudsmen from all across the state. The Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program services residents in nursing homes, personal care homes, and family care homes and handles residents’ concerns and complaints. As Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, we are called to be resident-directed and focus on what the residents in long-term care facilities want; it is the very nature of our job to be advocates and voice the concerns of Kentucky’s seniors and other individuals living in long-term care.
Pictured (left to right): Denise Kennedy, Nancy Leonard, Jodi Holsclaw, Cindy Tabor, Sheila Cornett, and Bethany Breckel (not pictured: Katrina Valliant)
Sixty percent of nursing home residents have no visitors–no family or friends to check on them or cheer them up. Research shows that long-term care residents receive better care when they have regular outside visitors.
With just a few minutes each week, YOU could change a resident’s life, and help improve the quality of care they receive.
Learn more at our Friendly Visitor Orientation
Friday, February 19, 3:00-4:30 pm
3138 Custer Drive, Suite 110
Lexington, KY 40517
Please RSVP to Denise Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 277-9215
Become a Friendly Visitor today!
NHOA Board member and Legislative Committee Chairperson, Nancy Leonard, provided testimony to the Senate Committee yesterday in an effort to explain why medical review panels are not in the best interest of residents (report on medical malpractice). In the end, Senate Bill 6 does not address poor care and does not improve care for our vulnerable residents. The bill was later heard on the Senate floor.
What can you do?
The bill will probably have another reading on the Senate floor and be up for final passage by the Senate. Now is the time to contact your Senator and House Representative. The bill could soon be in the House Health and Welfare Committee if it passes the full Senate. Members of the House Health and Welfare Committee are listed below. Let your voice be heard!
Contact your Kentucky Legislator by email or leave a message at 1-800-372-7181.
House Health And Welfare Committee Members
Rep. Tom Burch [Chair]
Rep. Robert Benvenuti III [Vice Chair]
Rep. David Watkins [Vice Chair]
Rep. Addia Wuchner [Vice Chair]
Rep. George Brown Jr.
Rep. Bob M. DeWeese
Rep. Joni L. Jenkins
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian
Rep. Reginald Meeks
Rep. Phil Moffett
Rep. Tim Moore
Rep. Darryl T. Owens
Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo
Rep. Russell Webber
Rep. Susan Westrom
The Kentucky 2016 Regular Session started on Tuesday, January 5 and is due to end Tuesday April 12. Top concerns for the legislative session this year include the budget and Kentucky’s public pension system. The administration has changed and we expect to see legislation favorable to the long-term care industry.
Medical Review Panels are introduced every year. This year is no exception. SB6/LM (BR1019) was filed in the Senate and sent to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee. Since key senators have sponsored this bill it will pass in the Senate but will receive no support subsequently in the House Health & Welfare Committee. SB6 provides an obstacle to the justice system for vulnerable adults in nursing homes and relieves facilities of accountability for failing to care for elderly residents in long-term care.
The last day for new senate bills is Friday, February 13 and for new House bills is February 17. The legislature will essentially complete business by Friday, March 6. Please note that this year is a “short” session year making it critical that advocates get the word out about the bills before the legislature.
The point of medical review panels is that you can’t bring a lawsuit into court without first going through a panel of healthcare providers. The panel determines if there is enough evidence of failure to provide appropriate care and that the failure caused a negative outcome for the resident. These panels add time and money to the legal process that residents often don’t have. You can still go to court regardless of the opinion rendered. However, if the opinion is against the resident this will reduce the likelihood of an attorney proceeding with the case for the plaintiff.
We oppose this bill because it removes a needed incentive for the industry to provide quality care for residents of long-term care facilities. It limits an individual’s constitutional right for redress in our court system. The extra step of the review panel would introduce an additional barrier to families with limited time and means.
Rejecting SB6 keeps the focus on care at the bedside rather than legal wrangling at the courthouse.
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting recently published an article online http://kycir.org/2016/01/08/another-year-another-push-for-medical-review-panels-in-kentucky/ addressing the bill. A report published by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2003 http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/medical_liability/medicalmalpractice101603pdf.pdf cited in the KYCIR article above explodes the myth that Medical Review Panels reduce litigation.
Please familiarize yourself with Kentucky’s legislative website at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm. In addition, find your legislator at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Find%20Your%20Legislator/Find%20Your%20Legislator.html.
Contact your State Legislators at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/email.htm or call and leave them a message @ 1-800-372-7181.
Let them know that you don’t want any legislation that will take advantage of our residents in long-term care and reduce their quality of life.
Legislative Committee Chair
Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency
On Sept. 16, 2015 representatives from the nursing home industry appeared before a legislative committee proclaiming their belief that the industry was being “overregulated”. They argued the oversight body for nursing homes was overzealous in citing homes for abuse and neglect of Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.
As the Kentucky State Long Term Care Ombudsman, I strongly disagree. While many residents experience good care during their stay in a nursing home, poor care, neglect and abuse does occur and, unfortunately, many residents who experience harm and poor care are so isolated that the general public rarely hears their stories. Some refer to these victims as the forgotten Kentuckians.
Kentuckians cannot forget that these victims are our families and friends. We must not forget the human suffering that compounds when a sick frail person experiences abuse and neglect because facilities fail to provide minimum care. Regulations and penalties are in place to provide an incentive to put resident care above the bottom line.
Kentuckians who care about our future must take the most obvious steps toward addressing poor care. Including issuing fines and penalties for facilities providing poor care, clear and unencumbered access to justice for residents, and minimum staffing levels in all facilities. We cannot continue to allow nursing homes in Kentucky to purposefully understaff facilities at the cost of our parents’ health and safety. Thirty-five states have minimum staffing requirements. Our state needs to be proactive in protecting our loved ones.
Not only should more workers be available at the bedside to feed, turn, clean, and care for our loved ones, those workers also should be properly supported, supervised and have training in how to provide care. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is a resource for anyone who needs information about long-term care. Ombudsmen are continually making unannounced visits to facilities and work to resolve thousands of complaints as we advocate to improve care. We are always looking for volunteers. Please contact us at (800) 372-2991 if you need help or would like to volunteer.
Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency
Lexington, Ky. 40517