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CARIE Connection

Quote of the Month
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. – John Burroughs

Advocacy Alert - Funding for Crime Victims Threatened
Advocates for victims of all ages are being asked to contact members of Congress to prevent potential funding cuts as a result of the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  While some parts of the bill, signed by President Obama this week, are good for vulnerable people, steady funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is at risk.  VOCA spending may be cut from last year's $2.36 billion to $1.2 billion for FY 2016 to help pay for the overall increase in funding for the bill. VOCA funds are based on fines and penalties collected from offenders and not on taxpayer funds.  These funds are dedicated for victim services. If this deal is sustained, the amount of VOCA funds allocated each year could be much lower than last year’s appropriations.  For more information about national organizations working together to stop this cut, read these letters to House and Senate Appropriators.
 
Please call your members of Congress now with this message:
"Please do not reduce the funds allocated for VOCA. We count on VOCA to fund direct services such as legal services and victim services for older adults. This money comes from criminal fines, not taxpayer money and barely meets the needs of programs and services to victims. In 2015, VOCA was increased to help the many victims who have been going without critical support services. There is at least a $12 billion balance in this fund and VOCA dedicated funding is a small part of that. If VOCA is cut from the 2015 level, it will be devastating. It will harm programs by reducing the numbers of victims who can get help. In this year's Appropriations process and beyond, Congress must maintain its commitment to helping the victims of crime and abuse rebuild their lives."  Find your Senators and Representative here and enter your full nine-digit zip code for the best results. You will be taken to their contact info, including phone number. Be sure to say you are a constituent! You can also call the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Choose Representative and then enter your zip code to be transferred. When you are done leaving a message for your Representative, call back and follow the same process to leave messages for your Senators. Special attention should be given to the Senate and House Appropriations committee members.  Thank you for your help with this advocacy effort.
 
PACE Bill Passes Congress
Congress recently passed the Providing Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly Act (PACE) Innovation Act, S. 1362. Here is a fact sheet and a summary of the bill.  The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on August 5.) The bill is awaiting President Obama’s signature to become law. The PACE Innovation Act will allow CMS to include PACE, known as the LIFE program in Pennsylvania, to conduct demonstration projects through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations (CMMI).  It prohibits HHS from waiving: (1) the requirement to offer items and services under Medicare and Medicaid without limitation to PACE program enrollees, and (2) certain requirements regarding enrollment in and disenrollment from PACE programs.  PACE is an alternative to nursing home care providing coordinated care to dually eligible beneficiaries who are 55 or older with the health and long term services and supports they need.  The program is built around an adult day model, covering all aspects of care to help the beneficiary live at home.  There are 116 PACE programs in 32 states. Click here to locate a PACE program in your state.  The PACE Innovation Act will help increase enrollment and give states the ability to create PACE demonstration projects for other groups who could benefit from the program, such as people under 55 years of age with disabilities.
 
PA Community HealthChoices
Pennsylvania continues to move forward with its MLTSS proposal, now called Community HealthChoices (CHC).  (Please see CARIE Connection archives, the June, August, September, and October editions for more background information.)  DHS plans to release the draft CHC RFP and draft program requirements for public comment on November 16, 2015. Comments will be due on December 11.  DHS also plans to release additional draft materials and information relative to the enrollment/eligibility process for public comment on December 14.  These comments will be due January 8.  Once DHS has reviewed the comments, it plans to officially release the RFP giving MCOs 60 days to respond. 

On October 7, CARIE sponsored a follow-up webinar, PA’s Community HealthChoices Proposal: What Advocates Need to Know, with Eric Carlson, Directing Attorney for Justice in Aging, who reviewed the Community HealthChoices Program Concept Paper that briefly describes Governor Wolf’s proposed design for PA’s new Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) system. Here is a copy of the presentation slides.  The last two slides were added after the webinar to share additional information Eric provided in response to questions asked during the webinar.  CARIE submitted comments on Community HealthChoices on October 16 and continues to work with other consumer advocates on this issue.
 
Webinars and Videos
“If Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed, why promote early detection and diagnosis?” This common question will be answered from a public health perspective during a webinar on November 12 from 2:00-3:00 pm EST. Learn why public health needs to take action on this issue and what can be done. Registration is open.

Here is a CBS News video about plans for Medicare to pay for end of life care.
 
Just the Links
November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and Government Book Talk is highlighting two new eBooks discussing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.  Click here to download Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease (ePub) and Click here to download Understanding Memory Loss (ePub).
 
The Kaiser Family Foundation has issued a new brief on Medicaid's Role for People with Dementia. The report features caregiver perspectives, identifies how beneficiaries with dementia are using Medicaid to gain access to LTSS, and provides information on costs and spending related to this population. 

London’s publication Guardian posted a compelling article, The deviousness of dementia.

Ageism in America, read the entire Fall 2015 Issue of Generations online.

Justice in Aging posted, Home and Community-Based Services Regulations Q&A: Settings Presumed to be Institutional & the Heightened Scrutiny Process.
 
The Wall Street Journal posted, Abuses Plague Guardianship Systems Across the Country.
 
The Economist posted its Quality of Death Index 2015, ranking palliative care provided across the world.
 
Next Avenue posted, Don’t Sign Away Your Rights In Long-Term Care
 
MedPAC announces the release of the updated 2015 Medicare Payment Basics series, which provide an overview of 19 payment systems
 
CMS Fact Sheet: Two-Midnight Rule
 
Two years ago the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the Managing Someone Else’s Money guides for financial caregivers all over the country. Because the powers and duties of financial caregivers vary from state to state, the CFPB has been working to create state-specific guides. Now the CFPB released new tools to help experts adapt the original guides for states that have not yet been adapted. If you would like free print copies of the tips document, you can order single copies or place bulk orders.  Click here to read more about the new tips and templates.

Market Watch posted an article about the recent budget bill, Millions of Americans Just Lost Key Social Security Strategy and ElderLaw Answers posted, New Federal Budget Ends Two Spousal Social Security Claiming Strategies.
 
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society posted the American Geriatrics Society 2015 Updated Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults.
 
SAMHSA announced the release of a new pocket guide for health professionals, Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder.
 
From the U.S. Census: “This interactive visualization allows users to understand how race and ethnicity categories have changed over time since the 1790 Census. For more information, see Random Samplings Blog post
 
On October 14, CARIE submitted comments to CMS about its proposed new regulations for nursing facilities.
 
Just for Fun
Do you enjoy watching documentaries?  DocumentaryHeaven, “food for your brain,” offers and endless number of films on a variety of topics for you to enjoy at no cost.

CARIE News
Diane and CARIE's advocacy work was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Diane Menio: Protecting the elderly amid big health-care changes.  CARIE is pleased to see Diane recognized for her dedication in advocating for older adults.
 
CARIE Connection Archives
Are looking for a past issue of CARIE Connection?  Click here to access past newsletters.
 
Public Policy Meeting Announcement
The next Dorothy S. Washburn Legislative Committee meeting will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at CARIE’s office at Two Penn Center – Suite 1500.  Here is the agenda.  All are welcome.  Hope you can join us.  Please note that December’s meeting has been cancelled and may be replaced with a webinar.  Stay tuned. 
 
As always, please contact me if you have any questions.
 
Thanks,
Kathy
cubit@carie.org
267-546-3438 or 1-800-356-3606, ext. 3438
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