Tuesday, October 17, 2006

IRS issues proposed regulations for tax treatment of annuity contracts

The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today issued proposed regulations that would address the tax treatment of an exchange of property for an annuity contract. The proposed regulations would apply the same rule to exchanges for both private annuities and commercial annuities.

A decades-old IRS ruling generally postpones tax on the exchange of appreciated property for a private annuity, a result inconsistent with the tax treatment of exchanges for commercial annuities or other kinds of property. This ruling was originally based in part on the assumption that the value of a private annuity contract could not be determined for federal income tax purposes. This assumption is no longer correct. The ruling has its roots in authorities that applied the "open transaction doctrine," which has been eroded in recent years. In addition, the Treasury Department and the IRS have learned that the ruling has been relied upon inappropriately in a number of transactions that are designed to avoid U.S. income tax. The guidance issued today proposes to declare the ruling obsolete. Charitable gift annuities would not be affected by the proposed guidance.

If adopted, the guidance would be effective immediately for transactions not completed before today. Recognizing, however, that many legitimate estate planning transactions may currently be in process, the effective date is postponed for six months for some transactions that pose the least likelihood of abuse.

Read more at the IRS website.

The regulations will be published in the Federal Register on  Oct. 18.

October 17, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NAELA Pre=registration closes Oct. 20.

Last Chance to Register for NAELA's 2006 Advanced Elder Law Institute -- November 2-5, 2006!

On-Line and Pre-Registration Closes on Friday, October 20, 2006

Brochures and registration forms can be found online at http://www.naela.com/Conference/ConfDetail.cfm?ConfID=59

The deadline to take advantage of NAELA's special room rate at The Grand America Hotel has expired, however, to secure a reservation at the group rate, please contact Pam Carlson at the NAELA Office directly at 520/881-4008 x108

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

Live long and prosper

VulcanAlso via Dick Kaplan: “How to live long and prosper” in Money Magazine (Oct. 2006):
http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/07/pf/retirement/retire0610_prosperlifetime.moneymag/index.htm

October 17, 2006 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CQ Publication: “Caring for the Elderly”

New Publication:  “Caring for the Elderly” in Congressional Quarterly Researcher (Oct. 13, 2006)

Nearly 70 percent of those turning 65 this year will need long-term care (LTC) in their lifetimes; 20 percent will need it for five years or longer. But - unlike most other industrialized nations - the United States has no public or private insurance infrastructure to pay for LTC. Those needing years of care will have to impoverish themselves before Medicaid will pay for it. But state officials say Medicaid - intended as a health-care safety net for poor children - could be bankrupted by rising LTC costs as the baby-boom generation ages, and the number of people over age 85 soars from around 5 million to 21 million by 2050. Meanwhile, understaffing, low pay and poor working conditions at nursing homes put residents at risk of life-threatening malnutrition and bed sores. As an alternative, states and nonprofits are offering more home- and community-delivered care, but LTC experts say the alternatives may not be any safer.

Buy it here.

Thanks to Dick Kaplan for directing me to this.

October 17, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Not elder law: Women's skin ages faster than men's

Researchers studying skin damage have found that women surpass men in one area they may wish they did not: how quickly their skin ages.

The researchers, whose article appears in the current issue of Optics Letters, were not interested in who ages better but instead were trying to develop a way to assess skin damage without having to remove a sample. Working at German research centers, they found that using experimental laser-based technology allowed them to peer several layers into the skin and assess markers of damage from sun, aging and disease.

Until now, doctors who wanted to make such evaluations had to cut out a piece of skin, the researchers said. But the new equipment allowed them to look at deep layers of skin, gauging, among other things, the levels of collagen and elastin. As those components of the skin break down, people begin to look older.

But as a general rule, the levels of collagen and elastin dropped with age. And the researchers noticed that women seemed to lose collagen more rapidly then men.

Read more in the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/10/health/10skin.htm

Ed:  DANG!

October 11, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Did you know: Medicaid Waiver Information at CMS

CMS maintains a listing of state Medicaid waiver and waiver applications on its website, at
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidStWaivProgDemoPGI/MWDL/list.asp

A clickable state map that will generate a listing of individual state waivers is accessible at
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidStWaivProgDemoPGI/08_WavMap.asp

October 10, 2006 in Medicaid | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 6, 2006

Mail order and generic drugs can delay onset of "donut hole"

Reported in the Oct. 6, 2006 Psychiatric News:

Increased use of generic drugs and mail-service pharmacies has the potential to delay entry into the dreaded Medicare Part D coverage gap by more than two months and save more than $1,200. 

Medicare patients with Alzheimer's disease who use generics and mail-service pharmacies can potentially add an additional 13 days to their Medicare Part D coverage and delay entry into the Medicare Part D coverage gap, or "donut hole." 

That was one finding from an analysis of the effect of generic-drug use on prescription drug costs for patients with five common conditions. The analysis was performed by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). 

PCMA is the national association representing the nation's pharmacy benefit managers.

Read the full report at http://www.pcmanet.org/newsroom/2006/pr_09_06/9.07.06.htm  But be sure to consider the source.

October 6, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Canada: McGinty unveils elder abuse prevention legislation

The McGuinty government is enhancing the quality
of life for residents of long-term care homes by introducing new legislation
that, if passed, would strengthen enforcement and improve care and
accountability, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced
today.

"The McGuinty government is working to ensure our families and loved ones
living in long-term care homes across Ontario are cared for safely and with
dignity," Smitherman said. "In Ontario, the only acceptable standard of
long-term care is a high standard. This legislation would give families and
friends the confidence that residents have the best possible quality of life."

    Highlights of the proposed Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2006, include:

    -  Promoting zero tolerance of abuse and neglect of long-term care home
       residents
    -  Whistle-blowing protections for staff, residents and volunteers who
       report abuse or neglect
    -  Enshrining in legislation that a registered nurse be on duty in the
       home 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    -  Restricting the use of restraints to limited circumstances where it is
       absolutely necessary and only with appropriate safeguards;
    -  Defining licence terms for long-term care homes of up to 25 years;
       licences can be revoked in cases of non-compliance.
    >>

"This is about improving the health and quality of life of people living
in long-term care homes," said Monique Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the
Minister of Health, who presented Commitment to Care: A Plan for Long-Term
Care in Ontario in May 2004. "There are 618 long-term care homes in Ontario
that are homes for our parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. They
deserve the best possible care."

"We are pleased that the LTC legislation is finally being introduced,"
said Lois Dent, President of Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care
Facilities. "We recognize that a lot of hard work has gone into developing
this Act, a great deal of consultation took place, and it appears that the
result reflects a resident-centred approach."

The Commitment to Care Report formed the basis for legislative change. In
the fall of 2004 the government released a discussion paper entitled Future
Directions for Legislation Governing Long-Term Care Homes. The paper was
distributed broadly across the province to stakeholders and more than 700
individuals and organizations responded to the paper in writing or through
public meetings held in various locations around the province. This input is
reflected in the proposed legislation.

Today's announcement is just one example of how the McGuinty government
is on the side of Ontario families concerned about quality care in long-term
care homes.

Other Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care initiatives include:

-  Providing $118 million to improve home care and community support
       services
    -  Investing over $165 million for 21,897 additional hip and knee joint
       replacements as part of the Wait Time Strategy
    -  Putting together an integrated stroke care system that consists of
       nine regional stroke centres, 18 district stroke centres and 24 stroke
       prevention clinics

Today's announcement is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three
priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing
better access to doctors and nurses.

This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte stories
and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.

Read more on the legislation via the CNW Group.

October 4, 2006 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Pietsch says Hawai'i law might be unconstitutional

University of Hawai'i's James Pietsch is quoted in yesterday's Honolulu Star Bulletin in a story on a state law that prevents removal of a feeding tube unless the patient gives informed consent, makes an advance health-care directive with instructions, or a guardian or designated surrogate makes the decision. 

October 4, 2006 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Customs to stop seizing low-cost prescription drugs imported from overseas

In a move that cheered buyers of Canadian drugs, U.S. customs officials told members of Congress they will no longer seize prescription drugs that individuals import illegally from other countries.

The new policy, disclosed Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., ends a controversial practice begun last fall in which the government confiscated or delayed about 40,000 individual medication packages at postal facilities for international mail, including one in Miami serving South Florida.

U.S. law forbids importing drugs from other countries, but the government had looked the other way for years. Then on Nov. 17, agents began intercepting drugs from Canada.

Budget-conscious seniors, who can save half or more on drug prices by buying from outside the country, protested loudly.

Customs officials told members of Congress in an e-mail that as of Monday, agents would no longer handle illegal shipments but would instead pass on information to the Food and Drug Administration.

Read more in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Ed:  Hmmm.  Is it mere coincidence that the mid-term elections are just one month away? 

October 4, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cured lepers still live in colonies in China

From Reuters Health:

The old men hunched over a board game looked like any other pensioners playing chess, until they lifted their heads to welcome medical staff approaching their table.

Scarred by leprosy, some of the men have collapsed noses and others have missing fingers, easily visible as they held up their hands to greet their doctors.

All of the inhabitants at the Panyu leprosy village in southern China have recovered from the potentially debilitating skin disease and are no longer infectious.

But many are badly disfigured and blind and are utterly incapable of rebuilding their lives after being forcibly institutionalized for decades, far away from their families.

Panyu is one of hundreds of "leprosy villages" in China, a legacy from the 1950s when very little was known about leprosy, or Hansen's disease.

Mistaken as a very infectious or even incurable disease, those diagnosed with leprosy were exiled to remote villages and forgotten.

Ou Feng was diagnosed with leprosy at the age of 18 and sent to live on Panyu, a tiny island in southern Guangdong province.

Now 78, she is excited to greet visitors, grasping their extended hands and holding them for a long time.

"We have lunch ready for you. Please eat now, we are so happy when you come," said Ou.

Until recently leprosy sufferers were shunned due to an incorrect belief their illness was highly infectious. Lepers were turned into outcasts and often sequestered in "leper colonies.

***

Since the 1980s, people newly afflicted with leprosy are no longer exiled to remote villages in China. But these villages remain and are home to some 200,000 recovered lepers.

Read more at http://www.reutershealth.com/archive/2006/10/02/eline/links/20061002elin008.html

Ed:  For more information about leprosy, visit the World Health Organization's website.

October 4, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Did you know: Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings

Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings

American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging,

   
American Psychological Association, and National College of Probate Judges

A comprehensive assessment of capacity for guardianship proceedings requires collecting information on six factors. This book describes those six factors and how they inform each judicial action step in adult guardianship proceedings. Intended for a wide judicial audience, the book provides practical tools for capacity determination and resources useful in identifying less restrictive alternatives and fashioning limited guardianship, while recognizing that plenary guardianship often may be appropriate.

The online book is offered in an MSWord format, with "live" links throughout to related model forms that are ready to download for use and modification.

Online Book: Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults    in Guardianship Proceedings (MS Word Version)

PDF Version

October 3, 2006 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Canada: Institutional LTC in the news

Monday, October 2, 2006

Congress reaguthorizes OAA

Congress has reauthorized the Older Americans Act.

Here is Mike Leavitt's statement:

I commend the Congress for the successful passage of the16th reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. President Bush wants all Americans to have the opportunity to make choices about their daily lives and participate fully in community life. This Act does much to ensure that the future of our nation’s seniors will be one in which elders and their caregivers are able to enjoy a higher quality of life, better health and access to critical supportive services.

Speaking on behalf of all Americans, I extend great appreciation for the commitment by the Congress working in a bipartisan manner toward reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. I thank the Congress for their leadership and am sincerely pleased with this significant step forward in modernizing the Older Americans Act for the 21st century.

Here is Josephina Carbonell's statement:

I commend the Congress for the successful passage of the 16th reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). I thank them for their leadership and compassion in understanding the vital role this Act plays in redirecting our long-term care system to help older Americans remain active and engaged in their communities – the overwhelming preference of the American people.

The OAA embodies our nation’s compassion toward ensuring the dignity and independence of our older citizens by promoting older Americans’ full participation in society, and supporting their overwhelming desire to remain living in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

                              

October 2, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)