Specialized Information for:

Long-Term Care ConsumersFamily MembersAdvocates

2015 Consumer Voice Conference Materials

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
2800 South Potomac Avenue, Arlington, VA 22202

November 4-7, 2015

Wednesday, November 4

1:00pm – 4:00



1.  Managing Challenging Behaviors Without Drugs

Presenters:  Jonathan Evans, MD; Morris Kaplan, J.D., Gwynedd Square Nursing Center

Powerpoint Presentation (Kaplan)

2.  Advocacy Strategies and Appeals – Involuntary Discharge from Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Presenters:  Eric Carlson, J.D. Justice in Aging; Joshua Casper, J.D., Casper Law, LLC

Powerpoint Presentation (Casper)

Transfer-Discharge Intensive Case Studies

9:00am – 10:30am

Opening Plenary – Listening Session with CMS – The Survey and Enforcement System: Experiences from the Field

Presenters: Toby Edelman, Center for Medicare Advocacy; Mitzi McFatrich, Executive Director, Kansas Advocates for Better Care; Sarah Slocum, Michigan State LTC Ombudsman

CMS Officials: Karen Tritz, Director, Division of Nursing Homes in the Survey and Certification Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Evan Shulman

Plenary Recording (Audio)

Plenary Transcript

Thursday, November 5

11:00am – 12:15 pm





Combating the Excessive and Illegal Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs in People with Dementia (LEGAL TRACK)

Presenters: Iris Gonzalez, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation, Kelly Bagby, Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation; Jonathan Evans, M.D.

Powerpoint Presentation (Evans)

Powerpoint Presentation (Bagby & Gonzalez)

AARP Letter to CMS and FDA

Overmedications Contact Chart sent to CMS and FDA

AARP Bulletin Article


Advocacy Strategies Through Managed Care

Presenters: Heather Bruemmer, State LTC Ombudsman, Wisconsin; Gwen Orlowski, J.D. Legal Services of New Jersey

Powerpoint Presentation (Orlowski)


Family Advocacy

Presenters: Kathy Bradley, My Mother’s Voice; Addie O’Connell, Family Council Member, VA

Powerpoint Presentation (Bradley)


Unlicensed Care Homes and The Dangers to Residents

Presenters: Catherine Hawes, Regents Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M, School of Public Health; Douglas Anders, Senior Policy Officer, City of Houston, TX; Dean Lerner, Esq., Health Care Fraud Consultant to USAttorney, Northern District of Iowa; Attorney Consultant, Disability Rights Iowa; former Director, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals

Powerpoint Presentation

12:15pm – 2:00pm

Resident Empowerment Luncheon

 Audio Recording


2:15pm – 3:30pm




Protecting Residents’ Rights from Arbitration (LEGAL TRACK)

Presenter: Joseph Musso, Esq. Ashcraft & Gerel, LLC

Powerpoint Presentation


Challenges with Nursing Home Enforcement

Presenters: Toby Edelman, Center for Medicare Advocacy; Richard Mollot, Long-Term Care Community Coalition; Pam Walz, Community Legal Services



The QIO-QIN Network

Presenters: Tara Cooke, Outreach Specialist, KEPRO ; Pam Meador

Powerpoint Presentation (PPT)

Powerpoint Presentation (PDF)


Addressing the Care Needs of Younger Residents

Presenters: Nancy Overstreet, Brian Capshaw, Yvette Green

Powerpoint Presentation

Powerpoint Presentation

4:00pm – 5:15pm




Issues in Assisted Living Litigation (LEGAL TRACK)

Presenters: Joshua Casper, J.D., Casper Law LLC; Victoria Nugent, J.D. Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll

Powerpoint Presentation (Casper)

Powerpoint Presentation - Legal Theories for Addressing Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices


Journey to Culture Change

Presenters: Nancy Kusmaul, Assistant Professor, Baccalaureate Social Work Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Karen Schoeneman, Owner, Karen Schoeneman Consulting, LLC; Patricia Hagen, Director of Memory Care, Charles E. Smith Life Community, Chairperson, Maryland Culture Change Coalition; Eileen Bennett, Director, Montgomery County (MD) LTC Ombudsman Program

Powerpoint Presentation


Protecting Residents from Financial Exploitation

Presenters: Naomi Karp, Senior Policy Analyst, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Iris Freeman, Adjunct Professor of Elder Justice and Policy, William Mitchell College of Law.

Powerpoint Presentation


Transcending Tragedy: Promoting the Rights of Residents with Dementia

Presenters: Jennifer Carson, Chief Learning Officer, Alzheimer’s Resource Center; Peter Reed

Powerpoint Presentation 

Friday, November 6

9:00am – 10:30am

Plenary – Advocating for Real Reform Through the New Federal HCBS Regulations

Presenters: Melissa Harris, Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Eric Carlson, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging; Becky Kurtz, Director, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Administration for Community Living

Powerpoint Presentation (Carlson)

11:00am – 12:30pm





Consumer Centered End of Life Care: Doing Better in LTC Facilities

Presenters: Kimberly Callinan, Chief Program Officer, Compassion and Choices; Brian Lindberg, Executive Director, Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care; Pamela Edgar, End-of-Life Manager, Compassion and Choices

Powerpoint Presentation (Callinan & Edgar)

Powerpoint Presentation (Lindberg)


Long-Term Care Ombudsmen and Legal Services: Collaborations in Advocacy

Presenters: Alison Hirschel, Michigan Elder Justice Initiative; Pam Walz, Community Legal Services



Grassroots Advocacy – Successes in the Field

Presenters: Mitzi McFatrich, Executive Director, Kansas Advocates for Nursing Home Reform; Patricia Hunter, Washington State LTC Ombudsman; Joseph Rodrigues, California State LTC Ombudsman

Powerpoint Presentation (McFatrich)

Consumer Voice Advocacy Webinars


Advocacy by Numbers: Using Data to Make Your Case

Presenters: Louise Ryan, Administration for Community Living; Richard Mollot, Long-Term Care Community Coalition

Powerpoint Presentation (Ryan)

Powerpoint Presentation (Mollot)

12:30pm – 2:30pm

Awards Luncheon

Audio Recording Pt. 1

Audio Recording Pt. 2

Award Winner Information

3:00pm – 4:30pm





How the New Ombudsman Rule Supports Person-Centered Advocacy

Presenter: Becky Kurtz, Director, Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, Administration for Community Living; Greg Shelley, Volunteer Coordinator/Staff Ombudsman, Harris County LTC Ombudsman Program; Sara Hunt, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center

PowerPoint Presentation (Kurtz)

Powerpoint Presentation - NORC Resources

Powerpoint Presentation (Shelley)


Barriers to Successful Transitions and What to Do About It

 Presenters: Jeni Coyne, Consumer Voice; Cynthia Rudder, Long-Term Care Consultant; Dan Timmel, CMS

Powerpoint Presentation (Coyne)

Powerpoint Presentation (Rudder)

Powerpoint Presentation (Timmel)


Achieving Staff Stability

 Presenters: Barbara Frank, B&F Consulting; Cathie Brady, B&F Consulting

Powerpoint Presentation (Frank & Brady)


Meeting Health Needs in Assisted Living

Presenters: Eric Carlson, Justice in Aging; Cindy Eggleston, Registered Nurse, Regional Director of Health & Wellness, Brightview Senior Living

PowerPoint Presentation (Carlson)

Powerpoint Presentation (Eggleston)

7:30pm – 9:00pm

Friday night at the movies - Alive Inside: The Story of Music & Memory 


Saturday, November 7


8:30am – 10:00am

Plenary - Palliative Care for Persons Living w Advanced Dementia: Why Comfort Matters

Presenters: Tena Alonzo, Director of Education & Research, Beatitudes Campus; Ann Wyatt, Coordinator, Palliative Care Project, Alzheimer’s Association NYC Chapter

Plenary Recording (Audio)

PowerPoint Presentation

10:30am – 12:00pm

Closing Plenary – The Power of Advocacy: How Do We Get Where We’re Going?  

Panelists: Elma Holder; Barbara Frank; Alice Hedt; Patty Ducayet; Sarah Burger; Moderator: Diane Menio

Audio Recording (Beginning around 1:30)

Video Recording

Resources for Advocates

Policy Issues

Long-Term Care Issues & Resources

Advocacy Toolkit


Resources For Family Members





Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care Podcast

Listen to the Podcast

Resources for Long-Term Care Consumers



Nursing Home Discharges

You’ve been told to leave…now what?

Resources for Consumers

Avoiding Drugs Used as Chemical Restraints

Resources for Consumers

Pursuing Quality Long-Term Care Podcast

Listen to the Podcast

Policy & Advocacy

Consumer Voice continues to advocate for a minimum staffing standard and increased transparency in nursing homes, among other advocacy efforts.  See below for a sampling of our recent advocacy priorities:

Transparency and Accountability

Each year nursing homes funnel billions of dollars through related party companies (companies they own) with little to no oversight by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The reference guide, Related Party Transactions and CMS's Role in Regulation, provides an overview of how nursing home owners use related party transactions for their own benefits and suggestions for how CMS can use its regulatory power to hold nursing homes accountable.

The report, Where Do the Billions of Dollars Go?: A Look at Nursing Home Related Party Transactions, provides a detailed look at related parties and how nursing homes potentially use them to hide how much money they are making and to give the illusion that their facilities are not profitable.

In April 2023, Consumer Voice submitted detailed comments regarding a rule proposed by CMS to increase transparency of nursing home ownership.

Read More on the Transparency & Accountability Issue Page

CMS Releases Proposed Rule on Nursing Home Staffing Standard

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would implement a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes.

Consumer Voice submitted comments on the rule.

  • Consumer Voice strongly supports the proposed requirement that a nursing home have at least one registered nurse (RN) on site 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The current requirement of eight hours per day is insufficient and places residents at risk of harm.
  • While Consumer Voice supports the implementation of a minimum staffing standard, the proposed standard is too low and must be increased.
    • Additionally, we oppose the proposal that will permit waivers/exemptions from requiring nursing homes to comply with a minimum staffing standard if they meet certain criteria.
    • We urge CMS to reduce the timeframes for implementation and use a phased-in approach; and to adopt a more stringent system for monitoring and enforcing compliance with staffing standards.
  • Consumer Voice supports increased Medicaid transparency regarding direct care wages but believes more can be done.
  • While we support the proposed additions to the facility assessment regulation, we note that these additions will only be effective with proper guidance and enforcement.

More than 80 national and state organizations, including Consumer Voice, signed onto a letter regarding the rule. Plus, U.S. Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and 101 lawmakers wrote a letter urging CMS to strengthen and finalize the proposed Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities rule.

Read More on the Staffing Issue Page

Biden Administration Proposed Nursing Home Reforms

On February 28, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a set of wide-ranging reforms aimed at improving the quality of nursing home care for residents. These reforms take aim at long-standing issues that have plagued nursing home care for decades, including poor staffing, inadequate enforcement, and lack of transparency in nursing home ownership and how taxpayer dollars are spent. If implemented, these reforms would be the most significant increase in protections for nursing home residents in decades. Read Consumer Voice's summary of the reforms.

In June 2022, Consumer Voice submitted comments to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to their Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that included requests for information regarding the implementation of a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes and input on measuring health disparities in resident outcomes.  Consumer Voice's comments strongly supported CMS's proposal to implement a minimum staffing standard.

Jobs & Internships

The Consumer Voice recognizes the value of a team made up of highly-skilled people from a variety of backgrounds.


If you are interested in interning with the Consumer Voice, please inquire whether we have any open internship positions by emailing kohearn@theconsumervoice.org. If so, send a cover letter and resume to kohearn@theconsumervoice.org. A general description of our offered internship positions and application deadlines are below. Before applying, please read the Consumer Voice internship requirements.

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall 2024 - August 1, 2024
  • Spring 2025 - December 1, 2024
  • Summer 2025 - February 1, 2025

Internship Position:


The Consumer Voice relies on the generous time and expertise that volunteers provide the organization. We encourage and welcome your interest in volunteering with the Consumer Voice!

Volunteers can assist the staff on projects including: marketing and communications, research, fundraising, public policy and administration. To apply, please send us a note explaining your interests and availability, along with a resume, to: info@theconsumervoice.org. **No Calls, please.

Let Us Hear From You

Consumer Voice is a nonprofit organization advocating around long-term care issues at the national level. We are not a direct services agency. For assistance with individual concerns, contact your local long-term care Ombudsman program.

Consumer Voice
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
202.332.2275 (phone)


Media Relations Contacts:

To learn more about the Consumer Voice and its work with long-term care consumers, please contact:

Lori Smetanka, Executive Director

Sam Brooks, Director of Public Policy

Our Staff

Lori O. Smetanka, Executive Director

Sam Brooks, Director, Public Policy

Amity Overall Laib, Director, National Ombudsman Resource Center

Jocelyn Bogdan, Senior Program & Policy Specialist

Katie O'Hearn, Manager, Program & Outreach

Libby Laubert, Program Specialist

Alejandra Ona, Manager, Finance & Operations

Carol Scott, Manager, LTC Ombudsman Program & Policy

Tina Steier, Manager, Communications, Membership & Events

Lori Walsh, Policy & Program Specialist

Jamie Freschi, Consultant

Maria Greene, Consultant

Media Information

To learn more about the Consumer Voice and its work with long-term care consumers, please contact:

Lori Smetanka, Executive Director

Robyn Grant, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

About the Consumer Voice

For up-to-date information on Consumer Voice's most recent activities, read the weekly e-newsletter, The Voice.

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care was formed as NCCNHR (National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform) in 1975 because of public concern about substandard care in nursing homes. Consumer Voice is the outgrowth of work first achieved by advocates working for Ralph Nader and later for the National Gray Panthers. Elma Holder, NCCNHR founder, was working with The Long-Term Care Action Project of the Gray Panthers when she organized a group meeting of advocates from across the country to attend a nursing home industry conference in Washington, DC. At that meeting, representatives of 12 citizen action groups spoke collectively to the industry about the need for serious reform in nursing home conditions.

The consumer attendees were inspired to develop a platform of common concerns and motivated to form a new organization to represent the consumer voice at the national level. Most of the original members had witnessed and endured personal experiences with substandard nursing home conditions.

Consumer Voice Brochure

Click Here to Download

Consumer Voice History At-A-Glance


The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (formerly known as the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform) is formed when various citizen groups and long-term care ombudsman programs, convened by the National Gray Panthers' LTC Action Project, gather in Washington, DC, in June. Prior to attending a conference sponsored by the American Health Care Association, the groups meet to become acquainted and to develop recommendations to present at the conference in a united consumer voice.

The Consumer Voice holds its first press conference, attended by Dr. Arthur Flemming, Commissioner on Aging.


The Consumer Voice issues its first paper, The Plight of the Nurse Aide in America's Nursing Homes. A preliminary report on nursing home costs issues also is released. Both are circulated widely to health-care professionals, state and national organizations, state government agencies and nursing homes.

During the Consumer Voice's second annual meeting, reaction and comments are issued on proposed changes federal nursing home rules. Also that day, Rep. Claude Pepper, chair of the House Select Committee on Aging, addresses Consumer Voice.

The Consumer Voice receives a three-year grant from Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) to recruit, train and place 40 volunteers in 13 project sites, strengthening local and state member groups toward a stronger national network.


The Consumer Voice Information Clearinghouse expands to include board and care issues. The Clearinghouse thrives thanks to a grant from the Administration on Aging. Today, it receives major support from the AARP.

The Consumer Voice conducts a national survey on Medicaid discrimination, issuing a report on the scope of the problem and avenues for resolution. A Citizens' Action Guide to Reimbursement Issues also is published, introducing consumers to reimbursement principles and strategies for promoting quality through the reimbursement system.


The Consumer Voice issues, with 43 national organizations and individuals, A Consumer Statement of Principles for the Nursing Home Regulatory System, following the 1982 release of proposed federal regulations that threatened to severely weaken nursing home monitoring.

Responding to the Consumer Voice's statement and congressional directives, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) launches a study of nursing home regulations. IOM study committee members invite the Consumer Voice to several briefings and work sessions, and commission two Consumer Voice papers on resident and consumer participation.


The Consumer Voice publishes A Consumer Perspective on Quality Care: The Residents' Point of View. For this seminal report, the Coalition convened small groups of residents in 15 states, who described their vision of quality nursing-home care.

A Consumer Perspective is released during a National Symposium on Quality Care in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Seventeen of the participating residents join researchers, educators, advocates, practitioners and public officials to respond to residents' views and chart ways to achieve quality care.


In response to the IOM report, Improving the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes, Elma Holder launches the Campaign for Quality Care (CBC), bringing together national groups representing various health professions, workers, providers and consumers, to develop consensus positions to recommend to Congress in a forum hosted by Sen. John Heinz. Some 10 years later, CBC continues to meet monthly to find common ground on a range of long-term care issues.

The Consumer Voice begins publishing the Quality Care Advocate.


The Consumer Voice presents the Campaign for Quality Care's views to Congress during a session hosted by Sen. David Pryor, who helped craft landmark nursing home reforms. The Coalition steers a national movement for passage of the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, comprised of amendments in the federal budget bill, the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA '87). Congressional sponsors Sen. George Mitchell and Reps. John Dingell, Pete Stark and Henry Waxman hold hearings, where national organizations testify in support of the Campaign's consensus positions.

With bipartisan support, Congress passes the Nursing Home Reform Act on December 22. Elma Holder and Barbara Frank call it "a tremendous victory for residents and for all those groups who worked so hard for so long."


The Consumer Voice helps persuade a federal district court to rule that limited Medicaid-bed certification violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.


The Administration on Aging (AoA) awards the Consumer Voice a three-year grant to operate the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC).

The Consumer Voice publishes Avoiding Physical Restraint Use, followed by the companion guide, Avoiding Drugs Used as Chemical Restraints.


The Consumer Voice kicks off a campaign to save the Nursing Home Reform Act with a Washington press conference endorsed by Senators William Cohen and David Pryor and Representatives Pete Stark and Henry Waxman. Groups like AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Service Employees International Union also commit to the Consumer Voice’s fight.


The Consumer Voice publishes and begins national distribution of new book for consumers, Nursing Homes: Getting Good Care There. Authors are Burger, Hunt, Fraser and Frank.


In conjunction with the Consumer Voice Annual Meeting, Senate Special Committee on Aging holds educational forum on Nursing Home Staffing.


AoA celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Ombudsman Program. Pilot project started in six states for ombudsman involvement in CMS Nursing Home Quality Initiative.


AoA awards the Consumer Voice another three-year agreement to house NORC.


Residents, family members, citizen advocacy group members, ombudsmen, workers and others speak passionately about the need for quality long-term care at official WHCOA event sponsored by Consumer Voice -- Giving Voice of Quality: A Consumer Dialogue on Facility Based Long-Term Care.


The Consumer Voice celebrates its 30th anniversary by examining the past to build strategies for the future under the theme, “Working Together for Quality Long-Term Care.”


NCCNHR added a tagline to its name becoming NCCNHR: National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

The Consumer Voice testifies at May 2, 2007, hearing on OBRA ‘87, addresses enforcement, staffing and the need for transparency.


Former Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Kathy Greenlee sworn in as U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging.


The Consumer Voice celebrates its 35th anniversary.

NCCNHR: National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care begins doing business as The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care with "Consumer Voice" as its shortened name.


For up-to-date information on Consumer Voice's activities, read the weekly e-newsletter the Consumer Voice Gazette.