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Front Line Caregivers from 16 States to Visit Capitol Hill to Urge State Congressional Delegation to Reject Medicare Cuts that Could Threaten Quality Care in Nation's Nursing Homes

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 General News J E 4
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April 2nd Capitol Hill Fly-In to Raise Profile of Medicare Cuts in Election Year



WASHINGTON, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tomorrow, ( April 2nd), front line long term caregivers from around the nation will meet with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill about pending threats to Medicare-financed nursing home funding, and how that would impact their elderly constituents' care needs. The Coalition to Protect Senior Care said the group representing over a dozen key organizations with members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will step up its state-focused advocacy efforts as the 2008 election draws closer.



Certified Nurse Assistants from 16 states across the country, including AZ, FL, IL, KY, GA, NM, CO, OH, MO, PA, AR, WA, VA, MI, KS and RI, who provide care to residents, will be available for media interviews as scheduled.



"With our federal lawmakers having just returned from their Easter work period, and assessing how their votes and actions in Washington are impacting the well-being and livelihoods of their oldest, most vulnerable constituents, we are stepping up our advocacy efforts commensurate with the growing threat of ill-conceived Medicare cuts," stated Lisa Cantrell, a co-founder of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, and a national spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Senior Care.



"With just seven months until the 2008 elections, America's front line caregiver community intends to help focus citizen and elected official alike on the need to protect the funding that protects our oldest, sickest seniors. In the next several weeks and months, lawmakers will have choices to make in regard to health care spending priorities, and we will actively comment on key votes in an objective, non partisan manner," she continued. The Coalition recently praised the efforts of U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and U.S. Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), in helping to generate opposition to the Bush Administration's proposed FY 2009 Medicare budget cuts.



Cantrell said the Coalition is arranging a Capitol Hill fly-in tomorrow, on April 2nd, to provide first-hand perspective to lawmakers and staff in regard to how Medicare cuts like those that remain under consideration would jeopardize seniors' care, and key caregiver jobs. She also noted that the Coalition also plans to hold briefings in key states that would be more heavily impacted by Medicare cuts and send letters from front-line caregivers to Members of Congress.



"While the cost of providing quality care continues to rise - especially in regard to recruiting, training and retaining the key staff that make a difference in care quality and patient outcomes - the federal government should not and must not further undermine facility capacity and patient care itself with unwise spending decisions," said Cantrell.



The Coalition to Protect Senior Care consists of the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN); the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA); the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (AANAC); the National Rural Health Association (NRHA); the American Association of Nurse Executives (AANEX); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); the American Society of Health Care Administration Executives (ASHCAE); ASHCAE state affiliate members representing Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and Utah; the American Health Care Association (AHCA); the American Health Quality Association (AHQA); the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL); the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA); the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care; the C
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