ACL Update 10-25-19


National Drug Take Back Day is Oct 26

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Oct 26

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

On Saturday, October 26, police stations, pharmacies and community centers will be hosting prescription drug take back at over 4,000 locations. To find a location near you, visit

Go to your medicine cabinet and check for any unused or expired medications including opioids. Opioids go by many names, including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone, buprenorphine, and fentanyl in addition to other names such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Opana, Codeine, Fentanyl, Tramadol or morphine such as Kadian and Avinz.

Unused medicine is a threat to the lives of children, older adults, and pets. Accidental drug misuse sends thousands of Americans to the emergency room each year. If you don’t need it, get rid of your “left-over” drugs for your family’s safety. Each Take Back Day, thousands of pounds of prescription drugs are returned, helping to prevent incidents of drug abuse and misuse across the nation.

Learn more by visiting

ACL Update 10-15-19


Residents' Rights Month: Know Your Rights, Stand for Quality

October is Residents' Rights Month, an annual event recognizing the respect, dignity, and rights to which all residents of long-term care facilities are entitled. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents’ rights and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination.  The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.”

The Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has selected "Stand for Quality" as this year's theme. This theme "emphasizes the importance of quality in all aspects of residents’ experiences – quality care, quality of life, quality services, and quality choices – to name a few."

To celebrate Residents' Rights Month, ACL is releasing a new infographic and handout highlighting the rights of people living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other residential facilities.

Know Your RIghts Graphic

Help us spread the word:

The Consumer Voice has many more resources for Residents' Rights Month including factsheetsa PSA and other promotional materials, and  artwork by residents.

ACL funds Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. These programs work to resolve problems affecting residents’ health, safety, welfare, and rights. Residents, their families, and others have the right to contact their local Ombudsman program to help them understand their rights, learn about community resources, and work through problems. In 2017, Ombudsman programs:

  • Worked to resolve 201,460 complaints initiated by residents, their families, and other concerned individuals.
  • Resolved or partially resolved 73% of all complaints to the satisfaction of the resident or complainant.
  • Visited 68% of all nursing homes and 30% of all board and care, assisted living, and similar homes at least quarterly.

Learn more about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

ACL Update 10-08-19


Alzheimer's Disease Programs Initiative (ADPI) 2019 Awards Announced

ACL announces the 2019 awards for its state and community ADPI. The 13 newly awarded, 3-year cooperative agreements are with 4 states and 9 community organizations for a total of $10,370,642. The awardees are located in 11 states across the nation.

ACL’s ADPI program is dedicated to developing dementia-capability in states and expanding it in communities. All of the new grantees are required to dedicate 50% of their funds to direct services that include, but are not limited to, delivery of home and community-based dementia specific evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions and dementia education and training programs.

The programs are engaging in a range of activities designed to meet the needs of the communities and individuals they serve. Programs target long-term services and supports to persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) as well as paid and unpaid caregivers. While each program is different, all include activities designed to support special populations, including low-income and minority communities, people with ADRD who live alone, and individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities at risk of developing a dementia.

The successful 2019 ADPI applicants are:

  • Hawaii Department of Health (HI)
  • Summit County Combined General Health District (OH)
  • Maryland Department of Aging (MD)
  • South Carolina Department on Aging (SC)
  • Durham Center for Senior Life (NC)
  • Chinese American Service League (IL)
  • Hospice of the Bluegrass, Inc. (KY)
  • Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (AL)
  • Visiting Homemaker Service Passaic County (NJ)
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WI)
  • SeniorsPlus (ME)
  • Community Research Resource Information & Services for Seniors (IL)

Learn more about ADPI and other related ACL initiatives

ACL Update 10-01-19


Celebrating the International Day of Older Persons 2019: “The Journey to Age Equality”

By Lance Robertson, ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

The United Nations designates October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons.  This year’s theme—The Journey to Age Equality—focuses on pathways of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality. It is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda, Goal 10 which is designed to ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequality of outcome, including through measures to eliminate discrimination, and to employ and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or other status.

The 2019 theme is intended to explore how to address demographic and other societal changes and to change the narrative of “old age”. In less than two decades, older adults are projected to outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history. Starting in 2030, when all Baby Boomers will be older than 65, older Americans will make up 21 percent of the population, up from 15 percent today.  These demographics have great implications for policies related to healthcare, caregiving, social structures, pensions and social security.

At the Administration for Community Living, we strive to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults and people with disabilities. Today, at the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) 57th Directing Council Side Event, I am moderating a panel, The Response to Aging Societies: Challenges and Opportunities in Fostering Sustainable Health and Long-Term Care System in the Americas, highlighting perspectives from the U.S., Europe, Japan and the PAHO Regional.

In August, I had the privilege to represent the United States at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Third Senior Officials’ Meeting. Specifically, I participated in the 9th High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Health and the Economy in Puerto Varas, Chile. There, I shared our vision to help older adults reach their full health potential, live with dignity, and participate fully in society. I presented on the economic imperative for planning to enhance healthy aging, embracing the digital future in support of healthy aging in place, and supporting the global aging agenda.  These presentations included examples of how progress has been made possible in the United States because of the framework we have based in equity, inclusion and nondiscrimination. 

Also, I heard from, and was inspired by, what I learned from others about their structures and innovations in the fields of health and aging. As a result, I urge us all to use today, the International Day of Older Persons, as an opportunity to honor and celebrate the countless contributions and enormous potential of older people throughout the globe. We should rededicate ourselves and continue to promote the health, well-being, community involvement, and independence of older Americans.  Also, we should all work to promote equality in access and opportunity -- including access to healthcare, caregiving, the ability to work and remain employed, access to lifelong learning, or in the range of social protections that lead to productive living throughout the life course.

Learn more about the UN's International Day of Older Persons and celebrations in New York City, Geneva, and Vienna.

ACL Update 9-27-19


Beware of a Growing Medicare Scam: “Free Genetic Testing”

By Rebecca Kinney, Acting Director, Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling, ACL

Over the past few years, DNA tests have become popular across the country. Unfortunately unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the buzz around these tests to scam Medicare beneficiaries.

Scammers will often target Medicare beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits. They offer "free" genetic testing to help recipients avoid diseases or find the right medications.

The scammers claim that the testing is covered by Medicare, and therefore is free to the beneficiary. In reality, Medicare only covers genetic testing in limited situations, and only when ordered by the beneficiary’s physician. If a company bills Medicare for genetic testing, and Medicare denies the claim, the beneficiary could be responsible for the entire cost of the test – which often totals around $10,000.

In other cases, the scammers are simply trying to obtain Medicare numbers they can use to steal a beneficiary's medical identity or to fraudulently bill Medicare for services they did not provide. Such fraud hurts not just Medicare beneficiaries, but all American tax payers whose contributions keep Medicare strong.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) offers this advice to avoid being scammed:

  • Do not accept genetic testing services, including a cheek swab, from someone at a community event, a local fair, a farmer’s market, a parking lot, or any other large event.
  • Always be cautious about giving out your personal information, including your Medicare number.
  • If you receive a genetic testing kit in the mail, don't accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender and keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the items.
  • Always review your Medicare Summary Notice or Explanation of Benefits. The words “gene analysis” or “molecular pathology” may indicate questionable genetic testing.

If you received a cheek swab or a screening that was not ordered by a trusted provider, or have any concerns about billing errors or possible fraud, contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP program, funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, helps Medicare beneficiaries protect themselves from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse and detect and report them when they occur. To find your local SMP visit: or call 1-877-808-2468.

More resources:

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