Saturday, April 29, 2006

On age discimination....

World's oldest person celebrates 120th birthday

The world's oldest living person celebrated her 120th birthday on Saturday in Leshan, Sichuan Province.Du_1

Du Pinhua, listed in the Guinness World Records as the oldest living person, celebrated her birthday with dozens of relatives and locals.

Du said she has been vegetarian for her whole life. Locals describe Du as a tolerant and happy lady, who never argues with others.

Reported in The China Daily.

April 29, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More Part D mistakes courtesy CMS

The MInneapolis Star-Tribune reports today:

The [Medicare Part D] program is passing out bad information on penalties for late enrollment in the drug plan...millions of older Americans who miss the May 15 enrollment deadline for the new drug benefit will pay a higher penalty than they're being told about by federally financed counselors.

And the counselors know it, but say they can't give out correct information because they are required to offer only information approved by Medicare, and Medicare got it wrong -- and still has it wrong on its website.

Advocacy groups have also passed on the incorrect formula.

One such group is the Minnesota Senior Federation. "We didn't need this," said Janine Stiles of the Senior Federation, which included the mistake in its 2006 Health Care Choices booklet. "People already are overwhelmed."

Read the rest of this story in today's Strib.

April 29, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

SC house committee approves elder abuse investigations unit

A House subcommittee approved a measure Thursday that would create a special investigations unit focused on abuse at adult care facilities. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division unit would look into reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults and vulnerable adult fatalities. The bill would also require notices concerning the duties of facility personnel to report abuse be placed in adult care facilities along with the special investigations unit's phone number and e-mail address. SLED Chief Robert Stewart expects up to 800 allegations of abuse each year. Stewart says he worries SLED might be underfunded. The Senate approved funding for the unit, but took $1 million from other SLED programs.

Reported at WIS10

April 29, 2006 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 28, 2006

HHS OIG Advisory Opinion: Non-profit's assistance to Part D beneficiaries is not prohibited remuneration

The Office of the Inspector General, HHS, has issued an advisory opinion regarding premium and co-pay assistance provided to Part D beneficiaries by a non-profit entity.  Here's a summary from the letter:

We are writing in response to your request for an advisory opinion regarding a nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable corporation’s proposal to provide financially needy Medicare beneficiaries with assistance with premiums and cost-sharing obligations under Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, Medigap (as hereinafter defined), and Medicare Advantage (the“Proposed Arrangement”). Specifically, you have inquired whether the Proposed Arrangement would constitute grounds for sanctions under the civil monetary penalty provision prohibiting inducements to beneficiaries, section 1128A(a)(5) of the Social Security Act (the “Act”), or under the exclusion authority at section 1128(b)(7) of the Act or the civil monetary penalty provision at section 1128A(a)(7) of the Act, as those sections relate to the commission of acts described in section 1128B(b) of the Act, the anti-kickback statute.

Based on the facts certified in your request for an advisory opinion and supplemental
submissions, we conclude that: (i) [Requestor’s name redacted’s] Proposed Arrangement would not constitute grounds for the imposition of civil monetary penalties under section 1128A(a)(5) of the Act; and (ii) while [Requestor’s name redacted’s] Proposed Arrangement could potentially generate prohibited remuneration under the anti-kickback statute, if the requisite intent to induce or reward referrals of Federal health care program business were present, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) would not impose administrative sanctions on [Requestor’s name redacted] under sections 1128(b)(7) or 1128A(a)(7) of the Act (as those sections relate to the commission of acts described in section 1128B(b) of the Act) in connection with the Proposed Arrangement. This opinion is limited to the Proposed Arrangement and, therefore, we express no opinion about any ancillary agreements or arrangements disclosed or referenced in your request letter or supplemental submissions.
This opinion may not be relied on by any persons other than [name redacted], the requestor of this opinion, and is further qualified as set out in Part IV below and in 42 C.F.R. Part 1008.

The full opinion letter is available at

April 28, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

HHS Report: The Size and Characteristics of the Residential Care Population: Evidence from Three National Surveys

Here's the Executive summary: 

National data collections have only recently begun to respond to the need for data on growth in residential care alternatives to both traditional nursing homes and care at home for older persons with disability. This information is critical to understanding the evolving long-term care delivery system and to the ability to monitor care arrangements and quality for public policy and for consumer information.

This report is the second of two prepared as part of a project to better understand the size and characteristics of the long-term care population in all settings. The first report reviewed existing estimates of the older population in residential care, generally divided into nursing homes and alternative residential care settings. Substantial variation was found across different types of data and even across studies using the same data, and differences in estimates generally were larger for residential alternatives than for nursing homes (Spillman and Black 2005). As part of that report, we identified a set of key methodological issues contributing to observed differences in existing estimates that could be investigated using available national surveys.

They are:

  • age of the population examined,
  • sample representation and weighting,
  • methods for assigning individuals to the “facility” or   “institutional” population (and conversely, the “community”   or “noninstitutional” population),
  • methods of identifying nursing homes,
  • methods of identifying alternative residential care settings.

We also identified three recent federally supported surveys--the 2002 Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the 2002 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) Cost and Use file, and the National Long Term Care Survey (NLTCS)--as being best suited for the purpose because of their focus on the older population and data elements that allow identification of residential care alternatives by name, services, or both. In this study, we report on our analysis of these surveys and discuss the implications of our findings for improving collection of data on residential settings.

The report is available here.

April 28, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UK: Rountree Foundation calls for LTC reforms

Uk A new report out today has claimed the Government will need to overhaul its financing of long-term health care if demand from the UK's ageing population is to be met. The study by social policy research and development charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation argues the current funding system is "inequitable and incoherent" and will have to undergo major reforms to deal with rising numbers of people requiring long-term care. However, five specific changes could be made immediately to help fund long-term care "more fairly, adequately and coherently", the report said.

The reforms, proposed by a panel of care experts and decision-makers brought together by the charity, included: creating a voluntary scheme allowing homeowners to access capital tied up in their property to pay for home-based care; doubling the capital threshold for those in care homes after selling their properties; and doubling the personal expenses allowance for people supported by local authorities in care homes.

Panel members also suggested charging nursing home residents for non-care costs and paying for other improvements with the proceeds; and reviewing the Attendance Allowance, a tax-free benefit for disabled people over 65 who need help with personal care. Former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and chair of the group advising the charity on long-term care funding, Sir Christopher Kelly, said: "With its ageing population, the UK urgently needs a clear, effective and fairer system for financing long-term care.

Read more at Community Newswire.

Or, get the full report. 

April 28, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Funding Announcement: Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team Grants

Funding Announcement

Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team Funding Available

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), through its partner organization the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging (ABA COLA), will provide funding to support the development of four new elder abuse fatality review teams (EAFRTs). Selected teams will receive $4,250 each to support their work through September 30, 2006.

Request for Proposals

April 26, 2006 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Medicare to Limit Insurers to Two Part D Plans in 2007

From the NAELA Weekly Newsletter:

The U. S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a fact sheet on April 3 outlining quality improvements proposed for the Medicare prescription drug plan in 2007 that says insurance companies will be limited to two plans, unless offering plans that fill coverage gaps in the drug benefit. Insurers were allowed to offer three plans this year, but some beneficiaries have been overwhelmed by the number of choices, CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said. He said the two-plan limit should help simplify the drug benefit. "Two plans should be sufficient," he said. However, some insurers offering plans that fill coverage gaps in the drug benefit might be allowed to offer three plans, McClellan said.

Source: Senior (4 Apr 2006)
Full story:


April 26, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Upcoming Conferences on Gerontology and Aging

...from Conference Alerts,

Gerontology Conferences Worldwide :  Upcoming events in gerontology, geriatrics, aging and related fields

April 26, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

IFA Conference begins May 30

International Federation on Ageing 8th Global Conference Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2006 DaneAge is hosting the IFA's 8th Global Conference 30 May - 2 June 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark and aims to highlight cross-cultural co-operation to meet the challenges of global ageing, and at the same time address important region-specific issues of ageing. Get information here.

April 26, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

As Part D deadline approaches, where to get informatiion....

Certainly not CMS. 

The best source of Part D information not tainted by propaganda:  KFF's Part D resource page.

April 26, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Editorial: New York's Long Term Care Crisis

Imagine trying to explain to your 93-year-old mother that she needs to move to a new long term care facility where she won’t recognize her surroundings or any of her caregivers.

Or try telling a child that his father – recovering from major injuries after a car accident – must spend the next three months of rehabilitation at a nursing facility an hour or more away from home.

These situations will become more and more common if Albany fails to reform New York State’s nursing home reimbursement system this year.

Since 2003, nearly 30 nursing homes in New York State have closed their doors – and more than 80% are losing money caring for Medicaid patients. Nursing homes are literally fighting for survival.

And unless a long overdue reform package is adopted – like the one passed by the state Senate and Assembly but then vetoed – more facilities will close and more families will have to scramble for adequate care for their loved ones.

Read the rest of this opinion piece at the Albany (NY) Empire Page.

April 21, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The latest from Kaiser Family Foundation


Fact Sheet on Massachusetts' Law to Cover the Uninsured
Massachusetts' plan to cover their uninsured population became law last week. It combines an individual mandate on the purchase of health insurance, with government subsidies to ensure affordability. A new fact sheet by the Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) summarizes the plan and its implications.

Reports Explore Long-Term Care Issues Included in the Deficit Reduction Act
The Foundation's KCMU released five new reports on long-term care issues that were addressed by the Medicaid changes in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. One report provides an overview of the changes to the rules and direction of Medicaid long-term care services, and the others examine changes to asset transfer rules to gain Medicaid coverage for nursing home care and efforts to move towards more home- and community-based Medicaid long-term care services.

Brief Examines How Much High Cost Enrollees Drive Medicaid Spending
This new brief from the Foundation's KCMU presents information on the distribution of Medicaid spending, finding that fewer than five percent of enrollees (each exceeding $25,000 in annual costs) account for almost half of all Medicaid spending.

Fact Sheet Summarizes Medicaid and SCHIP Eligibility Rules for Immigrants
A new fact sheet from the Foundation's KCMU provides an overview of the current rules on immigrants' eligibility for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

KaiserEDU Adds New Tutorials on Congress and Health Policy and Disability Care
A new narrated slide tutorial by Sheila Burke, Deputy Secretary and COO of the Smithsonian Institution and Kaiser Family Foundation Board Chair, addresses the role of Congress in formulating health policy. Burke, formerly executive dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and chief of staff to Senator Robert Dole, describes the major differences between the House and Senate, the key committees involved in the development of health policy and some "Rules of the Road" for those who plan to get involved in Congressional policy-making. The Disability Care tutorial, by Jeff Crowley of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, provides an overview of policy issues relating to access to health care and information on the types and prevalence of disabilities in the U.S., the major health care financing mechanisms and the interaction of the Medicaid program with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Directory of Health Policy Fellowships has been updated with new listings for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals searching for summer, school-year, or post-doctoral positions. is an online resource for faculty and students from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

April 21, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CMSReleases Part D Enrollment Data

From CMS:

The Medicare Drug Coverage Enrollment Data page is designed to be a central location for Medicare drug plan enrollment figures. Data include enrollment figures by state, by county, and by number of prescription drug claims, and include figures for both standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and Medicare Advantage Plans that include Medicare prescription drug coverage (MA-PDs). This page also contains links to press releases regarding Medicare prescription drug coverage enrollment.

Please check back, as we will update these resources regularly as new data become available.

NOTE: To protect beneficiary privacy, some data may be rounded or excluded due to low volume.

April 21, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

TOC Elder Law Journal 13:2, 2005


NO. 2, PP. 309-552, 2005.

Brown, Jeffrey R., Kevin A. Hassett and Kent Smetters.  Top ten myths of Social Security reform.  13 Elder L.J. 309-338 (2005).

Sperino, Sandra F.  Disparate impact or negative impact?:  The future of non-intentional discrimination claims brought by the elderly.  13 Elder L.J. 339-386 (2005).

Eltis, Karen. Predicating dignity on autonomy?  The need for future inquiry into the ethics of tagging and tracking dementia patients with GPS technology. 13 Elder L.J. 387-415 (2005).

Bohl, Kevin M. Note.  The resurrection of the death tax:  decoupling and the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.  13 Elder L.J. 417-451 (2005).

Fay, Jessica A. Note.  Elderly electors go postal:  ensuring absentee ballot integrity for older voters.  13 Elder L.J. 453-487 (2005).

Jones, Catherine J.  Note.  Say what?  How the Patient Self-Determination Act leaves the elderly with limited English proficiency out in the cold. 13 Elder L.J. 489-518 (2005).

Podgor, Melinda F.  Note.  The inability of World War II atomic veterans to obtain disability benefits:  time is running out on our chance to fix the system.  13 Elder L.J. 519-552 (2005).

April 19, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Not elder law: India: Book fair aboard the world's oldest seagoing ship

Doulos, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest ocean-going sailing passenger ship, is now in Chennai to host the world's largest floating book fair.

The fair, which will be inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala on board the German ship, will offer more than 6,000 educational books in English and Tamil.

Emilie Noteboom, Project Coordinator for Doulos’ visit to Chennai, told PTI that it is the ship's third visit to Chennai after visiting over 500 ports in more than 100 nations. "Run by a German Non-Profit Organisation 'Good Books for All' it seeks to bring 'Knowledge, Help and Hope' to the world," she said.

Doulos arrived at Chennai port on April 8 amidst much fanfare with the 320-member crew donning their national costumes and bearing flags, she said.

The book fair will be open to the public from April 13 to May 8, a press release said.

From India Daily News and Analysis.

April 17, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Elder abuse on the increase

As the U.S. population ages, the elderly are becoming a prime target for financial abuse. Sometimes the thief is a stranger who befriends a lonely senior. Other times it's a caregiver with sticky fingers. In still other cases, it's a telemarketer with "found money" to share. Or it can even be members of the senior's family who take advantage of a declining mindfulness. '

The National Center on Elder Abuse, a Washington, D.C., clearinghouse for elder rights advocates, estimates there may be as many as 5 million victims a year. But it acknowledges no one knows for sure because there is no comprehensive data collection nationwide and because many seniors suffer in silence.

Linda Eagle, an expert on elder abuse, believes the majority of cases go unreported. "Some of the elderly never know they've been scammed," she said. "Those who do are often too embarrassed to talk about it. Or they're afraid if they let on to their families, their families will see them as no longer capable of taking care of themselves and they'll take away their independence." Eagle, president of the Edcomm Group, a consulting firm based in Fort Washington, Pa., that trains bankers on regulatory issues, believes that financial institutions need to become more aware of red flags of abuse so they can help protect their elderly customers. And she believes that baby boomers, who begin turning 60 this year, need to become more aware of the problem. "Those baby boomers still fortunate enough to have parents have truly elderly parents who may be vulnerable," Eagle said. "And they themselves are growing older, so the problem will only increase."'

Families whose loved ones have been victimized say the thieves prey on seniors' insecurities.

Read more in the Houston Chronicle. 

April 17, 2006 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pension proposals for truth in accounting will affect companies' reported net worth

Proposed changes to the way US companies account for pension obligations could knock an average of 8 per cent off the net worth of 100 of America's biggest companies, according to a new study.

The findings come as Congress negotiates rule changes designed to make companies more responsible for the pension promises they make to employees, amid growing concern about obligations being reneged upon or dumped on to the federal government.

Milliman, a firm of actuaries, calculates that 100 big companies' pension plans remain underfunded by just under $100bn (£57bn) in aggregate when assumed future pay rises are considered, in spite of three years of better than expected investment returns. The companies made an average 11.3 per cent return last year against an expected return of 8.5 per cent.

The study covers companies with "defined benefit" plans, which guarantee a percentage of salary at retirement and are on the wane in the US because of rising costs and volatility.

Read more in the Financial Times.

April 14, 2006 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U-Memphis Law Student Wins Tennessee Volunteer Award

Betsy Prendergast, a third-year law student at the University of Memphis, recently received the Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award at the Tennessee Bar Association's annual public service luncheon in Nashville.

The TBA selected Prendergast as the Tennessee law school student who has provided outstanding volunteer service by working with an organization that's dedicated to representing the indigent. 

Her work has included family law matters, landlord-tenant disputes, consumer law cases, estate and probate issues and elder law.  Pendergrast named U-Memphis elder law professor Donna Harkness as one of her mentors.

Get the full story here. 

April 14, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)