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ELDER LAW TASK FORCE
Chair: Anne Haffner Hurley and Heather Cherry
Statewide Support Unit Advocate: Jennifer Goldberg
Elder Law Forum Posts
Elder Law Legal Resources
Elder Law Task Force content posted in order of most recent to oldest.
Interesting column for those who wonder - will health care reform work? This is a historic opportunity ....
From the DHMH State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) newsletter:
According to data just released from 21 states that used the optional Cognitive Module as part of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 9.5% of adults aged 60 and over reported increased confusion or memory loss in the previous 12 months. Among those reporting increased confusion or memory loss, over 85% of Marylanders said they had not discussed these changes with a health care provider. Memory loss varied by population groups but was highest among those unable to work, individuals with disabilities, and Hispanics.
Memory problems are often the first signs of greater cognitive health issues, such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Maryland advocates encourage early and accurate detection and diagnosis. Talking about memory problems and possible cognitive decline with health care providers enables earlier diagnosis, which in turn enables individuals and their families to plan for the future and allows for the better management of co-occurring chronic conditions.
To read the full Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) click here.
To access the Maryland specific fact sheet click here.
For more information on the Cognitive Module, or surveillance in general, contact Catherine Morrison.
Elderly Couple's Tale Of Abuse Not So Uncommon
By: Rebecca Blatt // May 3, 2013
WHERE TO GET HELP
- Who To Contact http://wamu.org/news/13/05/03/elder_abuse_who_to_contact
- Warning Signs Of Elder Abuse Part 1: Elderly Couple's Tale Of Abuse Not So Uncommon
- Part 2: Adult Protective Services Fight Against Elder Abuse -- Coming Tuesday
- Part 3: Tackling Nursing Home Complaints With Ombudsman Programs -- Coming Wednesday
- Part 4: Financial Exploitation Of Elderly Difficult To Detect -- Coming Thursday
- Part 5: House Calls A Better Option For Some Elderly -- Coming Friday
AGING AND ABUSE SERIES
James and Etta Jennings moved to the Forest Hill neighborhood of Richmond in 1959. They were young - just married - and the first owners of their red brick ranch house. They had children and then grandchildren, who gathered in their family room for holidays and learned to swim in their backyard pool.
But when their granddaughter, Jeannie Beidler, approached the home on July 27, 2010, she was confronted by a grim reality. Paramedics, police and Adult Protective Services social workers were on the scene.
"You could smell the stench of urine and feces," she says, standing at the foot of the driveway. "From this point, we already knew what we were about to walk into."
The Jennings' son, Beidler's uncle, was supposed to be caring for them, but it became clear very quickly that something had gone horribly wrong. The Jennings were living without running water or even a fan. James was confined to a chair. His blood pressure was high and he was fading in and out of consciousness. Etta was living on a broken bed crawling with maggots.
Beidler was overwhelmed.
"To think how could this have happened to her? I can't think of a sadder moment in my life or a heavier moment in my life than that," she says.
It's hard to imagine how a family home could sour and rot as the Jennings' had, or how somebody could watch two elderly parents wasting away. But neglect is not uncommon, especially for seniors with dementia and complicated medical conditions who are also at risk for physical and emotional abuse, as well as financial exploitation.
In a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, approximately 1 in 10 seniors reported being abused or neglected in the previous year, and financial exploitation of seniors is estimated to total $2.9 billion dollars a year. Victims of abuse are more than twice as likely to die prematurely and more than four times as likely to be admitted to a nursing home or rehab center.
Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Department of Health and Human Services and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living, calls elder abuse a crisis. She says efforts to address elder abuse are 40 years behind those of child abuse and 20 years behind those of domestic violence.
"In this society we started and led with children, and we moved to the area of domestic violence and sexual assault," she says. "Each of those fields can contribute and inform what needs to happen with regard to elder abuse. But it certainly hasn't been coordinated and a comprehensive approach to put together all of these different resources and really focus specifically on older people."
Greenlee says elder abuse is a problem that is only going to intensify as the population ages. The number of Maryland and Virginia residents 65 and older is expected to grow by 88 percent in the next 20 years. The same population in the District is set to increase by 58 percent.
Extended interview: Addressing elder abuse comes down to three questions says Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee, Department of Health and Human Services.
"With more older people, we will have more elder abuse," Greenlee says. "That's just the numbers. Now is the time to pay attention."
There are significant obstacles to addressing elder abuse. Sometimes victims are dependent on their abusers and fear what will happen if they lose that support. Many have dementia and are not able to testify in court. Dozens of federal, state and local agencies are involved, and sharing data among them has been a challenge.
Advocates struggle with funding as well. In 2010, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress passed the Elder Justice Act, which authorized approximately $750 million dollars in funding. But Bob Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition - says advocates are still waiting for lawmakers to release the money. He says, in the meantime, many local agencies that investigate elder abuse are underfunded and struggle to keep up with the calls they receive.
"The effort now is to enhance reporting across the board," he says. "But the problem is if you do that too well and you don't have the resources, then you're really creating a difficult problem that was unintended."
Beidler has had to work through many difficult problems of her own. The day of the intervention, paramedics rushed her grandfather to the hospital, and her grandmother followed later that evening. Both were malnourished and suffering from dementia.
After a couple of weeks in the hospital, James and Etta Jennings were stable enough to be transferred to a nursing home near Beidler's house in Charlottesville. They died within a couple of years, but Beidler says she was grateful they were able to live out their remaining days in comfort.
Beidler ended up resigning from her job in order to manage their health and legal battles. Her uncle had cashed thousands of dollars in checks from her grandmother, leaving the Jennings deeply in debt, with many accounts in arrears.
Beidler took control of their finances and, over several months, was able to settle their debts. She sold their house for a fraction of its previous worth, and she worked with a prosecutor to build a case against her uncle, who pleaded guilty to two counts of abuse or neglect of an incapacitated adult. He was incarcerated for a little less than three years.
Beidler says, looking back, there were people who could have intervened earlier: police who had been called weeks before and even the cashier at the convenience store who cashed her grandmother's checks.
"Don't ignore that pit in your stomach that something isn't right," she says. "Don't minimize your place."
Beidler says it's a matter of looking out for abuse, and choosing not to look away when you find it.
From the National Health Law Program:
Today, HHS released the Enhanced Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards. The Enhanced CLAS Standards update and expand the original CLAS Standards from 2000. The guiding principle for the 15 standards is to Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs.
The Standards and other infomration on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services are available on the Office of Minority Healths website Think Cultural Health. A Blueprint accompanies the new standards, offering additional information and resources.
HHS press release is available here.
iConnect Generations Expo at Stadium Place is being organized by GEDCO (Govans Ecumenical DevelopmentCorporation) and the Y of Central Maryland, in partnershipwith the Baltimore City Health Department, Office of Aging and CARE Services, to expand the resources available for older adults and their families.
Friday, May 10, 2013
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Stadium Place Community
Entrances at Ednor Rd. & E. 33rd St.
Proceeds support GEDCO’s Senior Services and Y programs for vulnerable youth.
• inter-generational sports
and exercise programs like Tai Chi
• wellness and health screenings
• financial management seminars
• dance and musical entertainment
• support sessions for care partners
• healthy cooking demonstrations
• volunteering opportunities
• job fair
FREE GIFT! Free to public! Sponsors and exhibitors welcome!
For details visit gedco.org/iConnect.
May 8, 2013
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Waxter Senior Center
1000 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
Overview of Alzheimer’s Care by Christopher Marano, M.D.: Participants will become informed about the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including research and drug study news, PET scans, and blood tests.
Caregiver 101: Practical Solutions to Common Behavior Problems by Laura Gitlin, Ph.D.: Learn problem solving strategies to manage common behavior problems experienced by patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
Voices of Experiences: Panels Discussion with Patients and Families Impacted by Memory Loss by Crystal Evans, MS: Caregivers discuss milestones in the caregiving process, such as getting a diagnosis, finding support services, making decisions about treatment, and handling caregivers stress.
Resources for Patients, Families and Professionals by Junnell Sample: Participants will learn about resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Keeping Your Mind Sharp through Cognitive Stimulation by Miriam Mintzer, Ph.D.: Learn how mental exercise can keep your mind sharp and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Memory by Frank Lin, M.D, Ph.D.: Learn how older adults experiencing hearing loss are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and how patients with hearing loss can lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
For questions or further information, please contact (410) 396-4932
|Waxter Wisdom_Alzheimer's_022013.pdf||532.32 KB|
The Associated Press/Washington Post: US Hospitals Send Hundreds Of Immigrant Patients Back To Home Countries To Curb Cost Of Care
In interviews with immigrants, their families, attorneys and advocates, The Associated Press reviewed the obscure process known formally as "medical repatriation," which allows hospitals to put patients on chartered international flights, often while they are still unconscious. Hospitals typically pay for the flights (4/23).
From the Administration for Community Living:
Identity thieves claiming other people’s refunds rose more than 650% between 2008 and 2012, and older adults are among the most frequent targets. Last week, the US Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to discuss this scam’s impact on seniors and federal legislation has been filed to increase penalties to act as a deterrent.
Older adults are particularly at risk because one of the sources that thieves use to obtain social security numbers are records kept by nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and companies servicing Medicaid programs. Information can be stolen by unscrupulous employees or found by prying eyes. Elderly individuals are also specifically targeted by tax thieves because many of them are not required to file a tax return. As a result, they are often unaware that fraudulent returns have been filed under their name. Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service usually doesn’t realize a fraudulent return has been filed unless a return from the legitimate taxpayer is filed, resulting in a duplicate filing.
These resources can help your clients avoid becoming a victim of tax-related identify theft.
Free case consultation for elder advocates is provided by the National Senior Citizens Law Center and NCLC through the National Legal Resource Center
The FTC will bring together experts from government, private industry, and public interest groups to discuss the unique challenges facing victims of senior identity theft. The forum will include panels on different types of senior identity theft – tax and government benefits, medical, and long-term care – and will also explore the best consumer education and outreach techniques for reaching seniors.
May 7, 2013
9:00 am – 4:30 pm
601 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington DC 20001
This forum is FREE and open to the PUBLIC. It will be also be available via webcast.
For more information about the forum and the webcast, please visit the forum website: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/senior-identity-theft/
Pre-registration is not required to attend the forum but is encouraged so that we may better plan this event.
To pre-register, please send your name and affiliation to seniorIDtheft@ftc.gov
The Federal Communications Commission will be hosting an event on April 24 beginning at 9:30 a.m (EDT) focusing on seniors and digital literacy. Seniors, and those who work with and/or care for them, are invited to attend. Panelists, including representatives from the FCC, communications companies and non-profit organizations will focus on the many ways the Internet can benefit seniors, with emphasis on its safe and secure use. The seminar will include interactive demonstrations of electronic devices and user-friendly computer programs that can benefit Seniors.
This seminar is free and open to the public, and will be streamed live at www.fcc.gov/live.
More information, and a detailed agenda, is available at http://www.fcc.gov/events/consumer-seminar-how-internet-can-benefit-older-americans. Please contact Keyla Hernandez-Ulloa at Keyla.Hernandez-Ulloa@fcc.gov if you have any questions.
Elder Abuse and Its Prevention
Hosted by the Institute of Medicine
April 17-18, 2013
Live Two-Day Program in Washington DC with a
Live-Streaming Webcast of the Entire Program
A detailed agenda is available on the right hand side of the program website at www.iom.edu/ElderAbusePrevention
The workshop is free and open to the public. Please register online for in person and/or webcast attendance. The webcast will be provided with closed captioning.
Online registration is available at www.iom.edu/ElderAbusePrevention
The Keck Center of the National Academies
500 Fifth St, NW, Room 100 Washington, DC
April 17-18, 2013
Violence and related forms of abuse against elders is a global public health and human rights problem with far-reaching consequences, resulting in increased death, disability, and exploitation with collateral effects on well-being. Data suggest that at least 10 percent of elders in the United States are victims of elder abuse every year. In low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of violence is the greatest, the figure is likely even higher. In addition, elders experiencing risk factors such as diminishing cognitive function, caregiver dependence, and social isolation are more vulnerable to maltreatment and underreporting. As the world population of adults aged 65 and older continues to grow, the implications of elder abuse for health care, social welfare, justice, and financial systems are great. However, despite the magnitude of global elder maltreatment, it has been an underappreciated public health problem.
The Institute of Medicine will hold a two-day workshop, illuminating the burden of elder abuse around the world and the evidence base for its detection and prevention. Occurrences and co-occurrences of different types of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional violence; neglect; and financial exploitation, will be addressed. Promising innovative approaches to intervention and prevention will be explored, as well as opportunities for scalability and cross-sectorial collaboration.
Excellent Agenda and World Class Speakers
No CLE or CEU credits are available for this program.
From the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care:
Protect the Elderly from Dangerous Bed Rails
As you may know, bed rails - metal or plastic bars positioned along the side of a bed - are frequently used at home or in long-term care facilities because they are believed to keep elders or persons with disabilities safe. However, bed rails can pose extreme safety risks and have been responsible for numerous incidents of death and injury among long-term care consumers.
Apologies if this is duplicative. This list contains all 24 counties' Department of Aging, or Area Agency on Aging local office address, contact person's name, phone number, fax and email address.
|MAP Info & Assistance.pdf||466.13 KB|
Free Training on Pension Rights! Learn from the experts at the National Pension Rights Center how to advise clients so they can get the most out of their pensions. We all know that many legal problems stem from the fact that our clients simply don't have enough money to pay their bills. By helping clients understand their pension rights, you could be helping them increase their income every month! From helping clients understand pension statements to finding lost pensions, some basic advice can go a long way. This training is appropriate for many types of advocates: including folks who handle intake, consumer law, elder law, family law, and more. Legal Aid staff, other legal services advocates, and pro bono or volunteer attorneys are all welcome!
So, join us on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, for What Our Clients Really Need is Money! Helping Clients Make the Most of their Pension. The training will be held at the Charles Ecker Business Training Center located at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046. Lunch and materials will be provided.
To sign up for this free training opportunity, go to http://understandingpensions.eventbrite.com
- overview of basic features of employer sponsored retirement savings plan
-basic rules and terminology
-issue spotting pension problems
As with all Legal Aid trainings, if you are a Maryland Legal Aid staff member please consult with your supervisor and obtain approval to attend prior to registering for the training. If you have any questions please contact Yoanna at email@example.com .
What: What Our Clients Really Need is Money! Helping Clients Make the Most of Their Pension
When: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:00 -2:00 p.m.
Where: Charles Ecker Business Training Center located at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046
From the Department of Health and Human Services:
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a final rule that will make purchasing health coverage easier for consumers. The policies outlined today will give consumers a consistent way to compare and enroll in health coverage in the individual and small group markets, while giving states and insurers more flexibility and freedom to implement the Affordable Care Act.
Today’s rule outlines health insurance issuer standards for a core package of benefits, called essential health benefits, that health insurance issuers must cover both inside and outside the Health Insurance Marketplace. Through its standards for essential health benefits, the final rule released today also expands coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, for millions of Americans.
A new report by HHS, also released today, details how these provisions will expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections for 62 million more Americans.
In the past, nearly 20 percent of individuals purchasing insurance didn’t have access to mental health services, and nearly one third had no coverage for substance use disorder services. The rule seeks to fix that gap in coverage by expanding coverage of these benefits in three distinct ways:
1. By including mental health and substance use disorder benefits as Essential Health Benefits
2. By applying federal parity protections to mental health and substance use disorder benefits in the individual and small group markets
3. By providing more Americans with access to quality health care that includes coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services
To give states the flexibility to define essential health benefits in a way that would best meet the needs of their residents, this rule also finalizes a benchmark-based approach. This approach allows states to select a benchmark plan from options offered in the market, which are equal in scope to a typical employer plan. Twenty-six states selected a benchmark plan for their state, and the largest small business plan in each state will be the benchmark for the rest.
The rule additionally outlines actuarial value levels in the individual and small group markets, which helps to distinguish health plans offering different levels of coverage. Beginning in 2014, plans that cover essential health benefits must cover a certain percentage of costs, known as actuarial value or “metal levels.” These levels are 60 percent for a bronze plan, 70 percent for a silver plan, 80 percent for a gold plan, and 90 percent for a platinum plan. Metal levels will allow consumers to compare insurance plans with similar levels of coverage and cost-sharing based on premiums, provider networks, and other factors. In addition, the health care law limits the annual amount of cost sharing that individuals will pay across all health plans – preventing insured Americans from facing catastrophic costs associated with an illness or injury.
Policies in today’s rule also provide more information on accreditation standards for qualified health plans (QHPs) that will be offered through the Health Insurance Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges), one-stop shops that will provide access to quality, affordable private health insurance choices.
Together, these provisions will help consumers compare and select health plans in the individual and small group markets based on what is important to them and their families. People can make these choices knowing these health plans will cover a core set of critical benefits and can more easily compare the level of coverage based on a uniform standard. Further, these provisions help expand choices and competition on the Marketplaces.
For more information on today’s rule, visit: http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/factsheets/ehb-2-20-2013.html.
To view the rule, visit: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.
For more information on how today’s rule helps those in need of mental health and substance use disorder services, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/mental/rb_mental.cfm.
Please direct questions to HHSIEA@hhs.gov.
Dear Health Disparities Partner:
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and its Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities have placed priority on the elimination of health disparities among the State’s population. We are pleased to provide you with a copy of the third “Maryland Chartbook of Minority Health Disparities Data”. The attached Chartbook provides essential information for identifying and measuring disparities, determining the causes of disparities, planning interventions that work, and tracking progress. This document is also accessible on our website at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/mhhd/SitePages/Home.aspx
Use this Chartbook like a dictionary, search for diseases, population groups, and local communities to answer your questions. There is some information on most disparities data-related subjects as well as recent website references that lead to other sources and further information.
Having done all that, let us know how this document helps you, what questions remain to be answered, and suggestions for future publications. Send comments to:
|Maryland Health Disparities Data Chartbook 2012 021413.pdf||3.62 MB|
From the National Legal Resource Center:
Be among the first to see it:
www.ACL.gov is live.
This is the new website of the Administration For Community Living
Elder Law Forums
Center for Law and Social Policy
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