Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Five Halves of Elder Law

The CarTalk Guys on National Public Radio have a crazy tradition of breaking their one hour radio program into "three halves" (okay, they have a lot of crazy traditions -- I'm focusing on just one).  In that tradition, I'd been thinking about how the practice of "elder law" might also have three halves, but then I realized  that perhaps it really has five halves.  See what you think.

  • In the United States, private practitioners who call themselves "Elder Law Attorneys" usually focus on helping individuals or families plan for legal issues that tend to occur between retirement and death.  Many of the longer-serving attorneys with expertise in this area started to specialize after confronting the needs of their own parents or aging family members. They learned -- sometimes the hard way -- about the need for special knowledge of Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance and the significance of frailty or incapacity for aging adults.  They trained the next generations of Elder Law Attorneys, thereby reducing the need to learn exclusively from mistakes.

 

  • Closely aligned with the private bar are Elder Law Attorneys who work for legal service organizations or other nonprofit law firms.  They have critical skills and knowledge of  health-related benefits under federal and state programs.  They also have sophisticaed  information about the availability of income-related benefits under Social Security.  They often serve the most needy of elders.  Their commitment to obtain solutions not just for one client, but often for a whole class of older clients, gives them a vital role to play. 

 

  • At the state and federal levels, core decisions are made about how to interpret laws affecting older adults.  Key decisions are made by attorneys who are hired by a government agency. Their decisions impact real people -- and they keep a close eye on the financial consequences of permitting access to benefits, even if is often elected officials making the decisions about funding priorities. I would also put prosecutors in this same public servant "Elder Law" category, especially prosecutors who have taken on the challenge of responding to elder abuse. 

 

  • A whole host of companies, both for-profit and nonprofit, are in the business of providing care to older adults, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, home-care agencies and so on -- and they too have attorneys with deep expertise in the provider-side of "Elder Law," including knowledge of  contracts, insurance and public benefit programs that pay for such services.

 

  • Last, but definitely not least, attorneys are involved at policy levels, looking not only to the present statutes and regulations affecting older adults, but to the future of what should be the legal framework for protection of rights, or imposition of obligations, on older adults and their families.  My understanding and appreciation of this sector has increased greatly over the last few years, particularly as I have come to know human rights experts who specialize in the rights of older persons.

Of course, lawyers are not the only persons who work in "Elder Law" fields and it truly takes a village -- including paralegals, social workers, case workers, health care professionals, and law clerks -- to find ways to use the law effectively and wisely. Ironically, at times it can seem as if the different halves of "elder law" specialists are working in opposition to each other, rather than together. 

My reason for trying to identify these "Five Halves" of Elder Law is that, as with most of us who teach courses on elder law or aging,  I have come to realize I have former students working in all of these divisions, who began their appreciation for the legal needs of older adults while still in law school.  Organizing these "halves" may also help in organizing course materials.

I strongly suspect I'm could be missing one or more sectors of those with special expertise in Elder Law.  What am I forgetting?   

July 24, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Crimes, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Medicaid, Medicare, Other, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Evolution of Human Rights for Older Persons: Preparation for UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, July 30-Aug.1

On July 30-August 1, the United Nation's Fifth Working Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing will be held in New York City.   Established by the U.N. General Assembly in 2010, the working group's task is to "consider the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identify possible gaps and how best to address them, including by considering, as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures."

One potential result of this process is to frame and seek approval for a Convention (Treaty) on the Rights of Older Persons, a process which was used successfully, for example, with the U.N.'s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The question of a Convention on rights of older persons was a hot topic during the 2014 International Elder Law and Policy Conference hosted by John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  A number of participants and observers described key moments leading to the present status on international recognition of the rights of older people.  Several commented on the prospects for eventual passage of a Convention. Listening to multiple perspective was an educational experience for those not yet steeped in the world of international law and ageing policy and I'll do my best here to provide a concise overview from my notes at the Conference.

Professor Israel ("Issy") Doron from the University of Haifa, a keynote speaker with long experience specifically focused on international human rights for older persons, described the journey that began in the mid-1970s.  The first steps led to a first World Assembly on Ageing in 1982. Known as the Vienna Assembly, the body issued a report with 62 recommendations for action (VIPAA 1982), a report that was unanimously approved by the 124 (then) member states in the United Nations.  Optimism was in the air.  Twenty years later, and with several more intervening gatherings to discuss or focus on international ageing rights, there was a Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid and a corresponding report (MIPAA 2002).

Professor Doron rexcognized that this extended timeline can be frustrating for some human rights advocates.  Nonetheless, he explained that these steps were important parts of the journey, moving from concern, to concept, to "soft soft law," to "soft law."  A Convention or treaty would be "hard law," and thus perhaps also a hard sell, at least for some nations, including the United States.  The U.S. has a history of resistence to becoming bound by international laws affecting what it views as "domestic" concerns, even if the U.S. often participates in international drafting.

There are lessons to be learned about the journeys taken by advocates for other human rights instruments.  Professor Gerard Quinn from National University of Ireland Galway drew upon the experience of framing the Convention on disability rights, to demonstrate the need to build alliances and to establish a clear reason for an instrument applied to a specific group, such as older persons. National laws can provide models and their existence may help to build support; for example, U.S. law on disability rights paved the way for a key section of the CRPD that recognizes the rights of disabled persons to reasonable accommodations. 

Professor Quinn noted a concern that "thematic" treaties may be seen, wrongly, as standing in isolation, rather than as a component of the human rights structure as a whole.  Thus, it may be important to show how specific international law is necessary to tackle the problem of "invisibility" of affected individuals.  Advocates for a Convention on ageing should also be realistic about the potential for a dichotomy in goals, as where some may emphasize promotion of "autonomy" of individuals while others focus on "protection," a tension that was present during framing of the CRPD.

One of the historical details for the CRPD, that I had failed to appreciate until hearing Professor Quinn, was what he described as "situational support" coming from potentially surprising sources.  He described important support for the CRPD provided by Ireland's Mary Robinson and Mexico's Vicente Fox, with the latter making disability rights a major feature of his campaign for president of Mexico. Who will emerge as key supporters for rights of older persons?

Another important perspective on a Convention on Rights for Older People came from Ervin Nina, Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Albania to the UN, where one of his roles was as Vice Chair of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing from 2011-2014.  He explained the history of U.N. Resolution 67/139 ("Towards a Comprehensive and Integral International Legal Instrument to Promote and Protect the Rights and Dignity of Older Persons") adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2012.  Despite "passage" of this resolution that expressly mandates renewed consideration of an international legal instrument, 118 member states abstained from the vote.  Thus the low number of states actually voting in favor of the resolution signaled low support for movement forward on a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. 

The final keynote speaker was Eilionoir Flynn, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Senior Lecturer at the School of Law at National University of Ireland Galway.  The very articulate Dr.  Flynn addressed the challenge of moving forward, including using the upcoming 5th session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing as an opportunity to regain and drive momentum. She urged that civil society organizations, who have seats at the table in New York, need to work together to identify goals and reach consensus, and thus to build working alliances for drafting and passage.

During the Chicago conference, several speakers noted that one potential ally -- or stumbling block -- to adoption of a formal Convention on the Rights of Older Persons may exist in the person of the United Nation's newly appointed "Independent Expert on Older Persons' Rights," Rosa Kornfeld-Matte from Chile.  On the one hand, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte, appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council on May 8, and someone with deep experience in ageing issues, has the potential to be a catalyst for true change, including adoption of "hard" international law. However, there is also the potential for international momentum to wane while waiting for the "expert's" investigation and recommendations.

Where to go from here?  One of the unique features of the Chicago conference was the decision of the host, John Marshall Law School, to open a deliberative process of its own.  Beginning in the early spring of 2014, many of the participants in the conference met with faculty and staff at the law school via email, video conference and telephone, to create a working template of a "Chicago Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons."  During the two- day meeting in July, drafting sessions were held in parallel to the speaker presentations, organized into five subject matter groups that examined each element of the working template.  The advantage of this approach was to give not just a few U.S. professors a hands-on opportunity to participate, but to obtain input and review from a wide range of faculty, lawyers, social workers, public officials, advocates and interested organizations from more than 15 countries.  At the close of the conference on July 11 we learned that the finalized "Chicago Declaration" (by then in its 10th iteration) will be presented on August 1 at the 5th Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing in New York.  Check the John Marshall Law School website for updates on the final version.  2014 International Elder Law and Policy Conference, Chicago Declaration

From my perspective as a comparative "newbie" to international human rights drafting, the Chicago Declaration was an impressive and comprehensive undertaking.  It was also a lesson in building consensus and making strategic choices, such as whether to emphasize rights of autonomy or balance that focus with concern about protection for older persons.  As one speaker commented, it was an excellent example of engagement, drawing upon academic research skills and international scholarship to tackle real issues in the real world.

July 17, 2014 in Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

After Losing An Only Child, Chinese Parents Face Old Age Alone

Via NPR:

It's been nearly 3 1/2 decades since China's government started limiting most urban families to one child. The family planning policy successfully slowed the nation's population growth, but it has had some unintended consequences. One is that some parents lose their only children to illness or accidents and end up with no one to care for them in their old age. Now, these parents have gotten together to demand their rights. A group of parents meets at a Beijing restaurant to talk and console each other. Many of them say they have a hard time relating to people who haven't experienced the heartbreak they have. They ask to be identified by their online names, because they don't want to get in trouble for criticizing government policy. One of the diners identifies herself as Xiaonan's mom. Xiaonan died of illness eight years ago, when he was 25 years old. She says his death made her feel like a failure and her life lost its meaning. More On China's One-Child Policy A man and child walk in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. China's government recently announced an easing of the country's one-child policy. While the move appears to be broadly supported, many urban Chinese parents say it would be hard to afford a second child. Feng Jianmei and her husband could not pay $6,000 in fines for violating China's one-child policy. In June, when she was seven months pregnant, local officials abducted her and forced her to have an abortion, her family says. The case has provoked widespread outrage. "I gave everything to him, so when he left, he took everything I had," she says. "Now I'm just surviving. After he left, I started drinking. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to sleep at all." Population experts estimate that over 1 million Chinese families have lost their only children. They say that number could exceed 10 million by midcentury.

Read more at NPR News.

July 14, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NIHSeniorHealth.gov offers info on quitting smoking for older adults

The National Institutes of Health has released a new Web resource to help older adults stop smoking. Quitting Smoking for Older Adults, a new topic from NIHSeniorHealth, offers videos, worksheets, interactive features, strategies, quizzes, and more for older smokers who want to or are thinking of quitting.
 
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in the United States, responsible for almost half a million deaths each year. In addition to lung and other cancers, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD. The recent Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress,provides new data that links smoking to bone disease, cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction. Research shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness. Although the rates of smoking have declined in recent years for all age groups, nearly 10 percent of adults over 65 - almost 4 million older Americans - continue to smoke.
 
“Most older adults know that smoking is harmful, and many have tried unsuccessfully to quit, often a number of times. But stopping smoking is a difficult goal that still eludes many older smokers,” says Erik Augustson, program director of the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which developed the topic for NIHSeniorHealth. “This new topic, which offers a mix of tips and tools geared to the needs and experiences of older smokers, is an important, easy-to-use resource that can benefit those trying to quit for the first time as well as those who have tried before.”
 
NCI, which based the topic on its resource, Clear Horizons: A Quit Smoking Guide for People 50 and Older, has also included information about the challenges and advantages of quitting when you’re older, smoking’s effect on medications, and how to handle withdrawal, cravings, and more.

June 18, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 30, 2014

ACL issues guidance memo implementing Windsor

In May 2014, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services,  issued guidance applicable to all ACL grantees concerning the federal government's policy on same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court Decision in  United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).  The Court in Windsor found that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples who have been lawfully married in accordance with the laws of a given state.
According to its guidance, the policy of the ACL is to treat same-sex marriages the same as opposite sex marriages to the "extent reasonably possible."  In this regard ACL sets out the following:

  • ACL programs should recognize as family members individuals of the same sex who are lawfully married under the law of a state, territory, or foreign jurisdiction. This policy applies based on the jurisdiction in which the marriage was celebrated.
  • ACL will recognize the marriage, regardless of whether the individuals are domiciled or reside in a state or territory that does not recognize the marriage.
  • When the ACL guidance discusses individuals of the same sex who are "legally married," the intention is to include all legal marriages, regardless of the individuals' current domicile or residence.

Programs affected by the ACL policy include (a) The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; (b) State Protection and Advocacy Systems under the Developmental Disabilities Act ("DD Act"), including their governing boards and advisory councils; (c) the National Network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; (d) Projects of National Significance, including projects made through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements; (e)  Help America Vote Act Protection and Advocacy Systems; (f) Home Delivered Nutrition Services; and (g)  the National Family Caregiver Support Program,
To the extent necessary, ACL states that it will revise its grant terms and conditions to incorporate its guidance.  The ACL's full Windsor-related guidance is available at: http://www.acl.gov/Funding_Opportunities/Grantee_Info/docs/
Community_Living_Guidance.pdf
.

May 30, 2014 in Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CPSC recalls adult bed handles due to danger of strangulation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Bed Handles Inc., of Blue Springs, Mo., are announcing the voluntary recall of about 113,000 adult portable bed handles. When attached to an adult’s bed without the use of safety retention straps, the handle can shift out of place creating a dangerous gap between the bed handle and the side of the mattress. This poses a serious risk of entrapment, strangulation and death. Three women died after becoming entrapped between the mattress and the bed handles. They include an elderly woman, age unknown, who died in an Edina, Minn. assisted living facility; a 41-year-old disabled woman who died in a Renton, Wash. adult family home; and an 81-year-old woman who died in a Vancouver, Wash. managed care facility.  The recall involves adult portable bed handles sold by Bed Handles Inc. from 1994 through 2007 that do not have safety retention straps to secure the bed handle to the bed frame to keep the bed handle from shifting out of place and creating a dangerous gap. Recalled models include the Original Bedside Assistant® (BA10W), the Travel Handles™ (BA11W) which is sold as a set of two bed handles, and the Adjustable Bedside Assistant® (AJ1).  Consumers should immediately stop using all recalled bed handles that were sold without safety retention straps. Contact Bed Handles Inc. for free safety retention straps to secure the bed handle to the bed frame, new assembly and installation instructions for models BA10W, BA11W and AJ1 and a warning label to attach to the bed handles. The bed handles should be used only with the safety retention straps securely in place attaching the bed handle to the bed frame in order to prevent a gap.

Source/more: CPSC/Bed Handles, Inc.

May 27, 2014 in Consumer Information, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some intra-family feuds NEVER end...

Via the BBC: 


Distant relatives of King Richard III have lost their High Court battle over where his remains should be reburied.  His remains were found in a Leicester car park in 2012 _75053607_75053606and the city's cathedral was lined up for his tomb, but some wanted him reburied in York.  But a group claiming descent from the king's wider family were granted a judicial review, arguing more views should have been taken into account.  Judges at the High Court said there was "no duty to consult".  In the ruling, they added: "There was no public law grounds for the court to interfere.  Killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, Richard III was buried in a Leicester church but the building was lost to later development.  Authorities in Leicester said they were delighted at the decision and they looked forward to reinterring the body with "dignity and honour".

 Read more here.

May 25, 2014 in Estates and Trusts, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 23, 2014

A National Disgrace: The State of Senior Hunger in the US

A new report prepared for the Prepared for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger outlines the state of senior hunger in the US. 

Executive Summary

In this report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity in 2012 among seniors, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger (i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure).


This report demonstrates that seniors in 2012 continued to face increasing challenges meeting food need. Specifically, we find that


• 15.3% of seniors face the threat of hunger. This translates into 9.3 million seniors.
• Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
• Out of those seniors who face the threat of hunger, the majority have incomes above the poverty line and are white.
• From 2001 to 2012, the fraction of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger increased by 44%. The number of seniors rose by 98% which also reflects the growing population of seniors.
• Since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2012, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 49%.

Read the full report, The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012: An Annual Report

May 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Korea passes bill to assure basic pension--but is it enough?

 

 Via the Korean Herald (op-ed piece):

After many twists and turns, the National Assembly has finally passed the controversial “basic pension” bill, enabling President Park Geun-hye to make good on one of her key election pledges.
The Assembly’s action on the bill was much belated but welcome. The legislation, which is expected to go into effect in July or August, will benefit the poorest 70 percent of Koreans aged 65 or older.
Specifically, about 4.5 million of the nation’s 6.4 million senior citizens will receive a monthly allowance of between 100,000 won and 200,000 won[about $100-200], depending on their income. Of the beneficiaries, about 90 percent will receive the maximum 200,000 won.

This scheme is not exactly the same as what Park promised on the campaign trail. During the election campaign, she promised to pay a uniform monthly allowance of 200,000 won to all citizens aged 65 or older, regardless of their income.  But it was increasingly clear that Park’s universal pension plan was beyond the government’s financing capacity. So last September, the government decided to scale it back.

The basic pension scheme, even in its original form, is hardly sufficient to eliminate widespread poverty among senior citizens. Korea’s relative poverty rate among elderly people stands at 49.3 percent, the highest among OECD nations.

Read more here.

May 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Other, Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney, tireless advocate against elder abuse, dead at age 93

Mickey Rooney, who died Sunday at age 93, will be remembered by many as among the last of a long gone Hollywood era. An actor from the time he was a baby, he was a Rooneymovie star in his teens, a frequent television performer in the early days of network drama and a character actor who in recent years was still performing .  He was, very late in life, an outspoken advocate on an issue that’s increasingly commonplace yet still so little addressed. Rest in peace, Mickey Rooney, champion against elder abuse. Three years ago, at age 90, Rooney spoke before a Senate Special Committee on Aging on the abuse he said he suffered at the hands of his adult stepson Christopher Aber, and about the special vulnerability of older Americans to physical intimidation, financial exploitation and emotional mistreatment. Rooney claimed Aber withheld his mail, medication and food, and made him a “prisoner in his own home,” saying, “My money was stolen from me, by someone close. My money was taken and misused."

Read more at Salon

 

April 7, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Help Promote Older Americans Month in May 2014--Free Materials Available

Materials to Promote Older Americans Month 2014 Available

May is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme focuses on injury prevention: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.

To help participating organizations promote their events, ACL has posted new materials for 2014 here: Older Americans Month

The toolkit includes facts about preventing falls and injuries, an activity guide, poster templates, logos, and tips for consumers.

April 3, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 31, 2014

IRS warns of tax-related phone scam sweeping the nation

Via AARP:

A fast-moving phone scam called the largest of its kind is targeting taxpayers across the country. Victims have reported threats of license suspension, arrest and deportation.  What makes this timely scam so tricky? The scammers impersonate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and demand payment for taxes owed, and often:

  • know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number;
  • make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling;
  • send follow-up bogus IRS emails to support their scam; and
  • call a second time claiming to be the police or Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

The IRS usually contacts people by mail not by phone about unpaid taxes.

The IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, nor will they involve law enforcement or immigration agencies.

WHAT TO DO:

If you or a family member receives one of these calls, your best bet is to hang up. But if you do get into a conversation, do not give anyone money or credit card information over the phone and don’t trust callers who use threats or insults to bully you.

NEXT STEPS:

Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.  Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

If you owe or think you owe federal taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify information.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

Please help spread the word about this tax season scam by sharing this email with your friends and family.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact the AARP Foundation Fraud Fighter Center at 1-800-646-2283.

March 31, 2014 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KFF: Summary of Medicare Provisions in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

 

On March 4, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget released President Obama’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015, which includes provisions related to federal spending and revenues, including Medicare savings.  The President’s budget would use federal savings and revenues to reduce the deficit and replace sequestration of Medicare and other federal programs for 2015 through 2024.  This brief summarizes the Medicare provisions included in the President’s budget proposal for FY2015.

 

The President’s FY2015 budget would reduce Medicare spending by more than $400 billion between 2015 and 2024, accounting for about 25 percent of all reductions in federal spending included in the budget.  Most of the Medicare provisions in the FY2015 budget are similar to provisions that were included in the Administration’s FY2014 budget proposal.  The proposed Medicare spending reductions are projected to extend the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by approximately five years.

 

  • More than one-third (34%) of the proposed Medicare savings are due to reductions in payments for prescription drugs under Medicare Part B and Part D.  The single largest source of Medicare savings would require drug manufacturers to provide Medicaid rebates on prescriptions for Part D Low Income Subsidy enrollees, a proposal which was also included in the President’s FY2014 proposed budget.
  • One-third (33%) of the proposed Medicare savings are due to reductions in Medicare payments to providers, most of which are reduced payments to post-acute care providers (Figure 1).  The baseline of the proposed budget assumes no reduction in Medicare payments for physician services, relative to current levels, from 2015 through 2024, in contrast to the sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) under current law, which calls for significantly lower physician payments during this 10-year period.  The projected cost for adjusting the baseline for this period is $110 billion, plus additional amounts associated with eliminating cuts in 2014.
  • About 16 percent of the proposed Medicare savings are due to increases in beneficiary premiums, deductibles and cost-sharing.

Read more here.

 

March 25, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging--Call for nominations for annual Caregiving Award

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (www.benrose.org) invites creative caregivers to apply for the fourth annual Innovation in Caregiving AwardUp to three award winners will each receive a commemorative plaque and a check for $1,000. Awards will be presented at BRIA’s annual conference in November, 2014. Applications for the award are available online at www.benrose.org/awardor by calling 216.791.8000. Deadline for applications is June 30, 2014.  
The Innovation in Caregiving Award recognizes adults (age 18 and over) who, in the course of caring for an adult aged 60 or over in a private home or a residential setting:
--invent a device or technique that solves a caregiving challenge, or          
--find a new application for an existing device or technique that supports caregiving and eases the burden on caregivers.
Last year’s award winners included Joseph Angelo, who developed Sparx Cards as a memory aid for people with dementia, and Renard Turner, whose Luvz Puzzles use shapes, colors and numbers to help people with cognitive issues engage in stimulating activity.  (View the winning 2013 entries and other past award winners here: www.benrose.org/award).
 
Applicants for the 2014 awards may be family caregivers, paid care providers, or support staff whose ingenuity and inventiveness in giving care is worthy of recognition and replication. The award criteria include:
--the innovativeness of the device, technique or new application,
--its usefulness,
--its potential for being adopted or duplicated by others, and
--its possibility for improving quality of care or quality of life, or any combination of those criteria.
The Innovation in Caregiving Award is made possible through a gift to the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging by a former Board Member. The late Elizabeth H. (Betty) Rose created several devices that made it easier for caregivers to assist older adults. Her efforts resulted in improvements in care and increased comfort for those receiving care. Betty realized that caregivers are often creative problem solvers as well. She intended this award to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals who serve on the frontlines of caregiving. 
The award is not meant for organizations or individuals who developed their device or technique with financial help through a business, grant or other outside support. It honors instead direct caregivers: family members, friends and those working in the human services field, such as nurses, therapists, and home care aides, who have on their own developed a procedure or device with special benefit.  
The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (www.benrose.org) is a national leader pursuing innovation in practice and policy to address the important issues of aging. As a champion for older adults, Benjamin Rose works to advance their health, independence and dignity. The organization has established itself as a trusted resource for people who counsel, care for and advocate on behalf of older adults. The state-of-the-art Conference Center at Benjamin Rose hosts educational programming that is responsive to the evolving demands of an aging population.

 

 

 

March 22, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Grant Deadlines/Awards, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Faculty position available at University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), School of Public Health (SPH), Division of Community Health Sciences (CHS) and the UIC Center for Research on Health and Aging invite applications for a tenured faculty position at the Associate or Full Professor level. This position is the lead position in a Chancellor-sponsored cluster hire initiative entitled “Health Promotion for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Older Adults” and will be actively involved in recruiting four additional tenure track faculty specializing in related research.

In addition to holding a faculty appointment in Community Health Sciences, the successful candidate will assume a leadership role in the Center for Research on Health and Aging (CRHA) in the Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP). CRHA is the campus-wide focal point for research on aging at UIC.  Located in  IHRP, CRHA interacts with a distinguished group of researchers who address complex questions about population health challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. CHRA seeks to understand and reduce racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in the prevalence and burdens of chronic disease among older adults. The Center has been home to three consecutively funded National Institute on Aging/NIH Roybal Centers for translation research and has been a national and international leader in the development, testing and translation of evidence-based health promotion programs for older adults.  The person we seek will be expected to continue this work, build on it and be a strong advocate for the Center. 

More information about this position here.

March 21, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

AgeUK presents great ad about aging

Christopher Lee, aka Dracula, narrates!  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for additional video interviews.

Check it out here...

 

Thanks, Preston Franzen, for bringing to my attention on the Center for Elder Justice and Policy FB page!

March 20, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Job Opportunity: Medicaid Policy Analyst at Families USA

Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of quality, affordable health care and coverage for all Americans. We bring the voice of consumers in federal and state health policy debates, with a strong focus on the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations. Families USA is seeking a Medicaid Policy Analyst who will provide strategic input into the development and assist with the implementation of the organization’s work on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Medicaid Policy Analyst will report to the Medicaid Program Director. We are looking for someone with a deep understanding of the Medicaid and CHIP programs, the ability to write about technical policy issues in an accessible manner, and excellent analytical skills.

Responsibilities

  • Produce content related to Medicaid and CHIP, including but not limited to: reports, issue briefs, fact sheets, technical analyses, emails, blogs, webinars and other materials.
  • Provide technical assistance and strategic guidance to state and national health care advocates in conjunction with other Families USA staff.
  • Follow and report on emerging policy and political issues on Medicaid and CHIP and recommend appropriate organizational response.
  • Read and analyze federal regulations and guidance and write comments, sometimes in collaboration with other colleagues.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to incorporate health equity into organization’s Medicaid and CHIP work.
  • Help develop messaging, field press calls, and make public presentations on Medicaid and CHIP issues.
  • Represent the organization at national coalition tables on Medicaid and CHIP issues.

An ideal applicant would possess these qualifications

  • At least three to five years experience working on the Medicaid or CHIP program.
  • Strong understanding of Medicaid and CHIP and how the two programs relate to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strong understanding of federal and state rules governing Medicaid, with a particular focus on eligibility, enrollment, and financing.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Excellent communication skills—both oral and written, including the ability to write about technical policy issues in an accessible manner.
  • Strong organizational skills and an ability to work on multiple projects at the same time.
  • Ability to collaborate with other staff to complete a project.
  • Commitment to social justice.
  • Some travel for presentations, training, and consultations with state and local advocates will be required.

How to Apply 

Send a cover letter and resume by email to careers(at)familiesusa.org and include “Medicaid Policy Analyst” in the subject line. The salary will be commensurate with experience. Families USA offers a generous benefits package, including excellent health insurance, life and long-term disability insurance benefits, and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules. Families USA is an equal opportunity employer.

March 18, 2014 in Medicaid, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

HUD Announces $120 Million for People with Disabilities

To help prevent thousands of people with disabilities from experiencing homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced about $120 million in funding for state housing agencies to provide long-term rental assistance. Developed in partnership with HHS, applications for the Section 811 PRA are due May 5, 2014.

The program reinforces the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which require state and local governments to provide services in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Read the News Release or Notice of Funding Availability for details.

March 15, 2014 in Grant Deadlines/Awards, Housing, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 29: DD Aware Day

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to mark the occasion, The Arc is inviting everyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make plans to go out somewhere in public on Saturday, March 29 to break down social barriers, dispel myths and raise awareness.

Please share this message and encourage those you know with I/DD, their colleagues, friends and families to make plans to hit the movies, the park, a local shopping center or restaurant for a day out and maybe spark some conversation in the process.T

Check the landing page on thearc.org with more information and launch an email and social media campaign to encourage folks to join in. Plus, we have a couple of guest bloggers lined up for March to share their personal experiences on the topic of social barriers on The Arc’s blog (blog.thearc.org). Spread the word using the hashtag #DDAware on social media during the month of March. And, follow us  on Facebook or Twitter where we will be sharing photos and stories from everyone’s March 29 activities.

March 14, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

February Bifocal Now Available On-Line

The February issue of Bifocal, e-Journal of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging is now available for pdf download.  The issue is also available online on the Bifocal homepage.

What's inside this issue?

Cover Article
Aging in the 21st Century
by Marcos Acle Mautone
The world is facing an unprecedented demographic shift.

Features
The Dual Eligible Demonstration
by Fay Gordon
If everything goes as planned, by January 1, 2015, hundreds of thousands of individuals could be enrolled in new delivery systems where combined Medicare and Medicaid services are provided through managed care plans. Of course, nothing ever happens exactly as planned. However, nine states are on tap to implement a dual eligible demonstration within the next year, making this a critical time in both planning and implementation of the new systems.

Defining Undue Influence
by Mary Joy Quinn
Understanding undue influence, dissecting it, defining it, and understanding the term, has proven elusive in social service and legal settings.

Using Mediation to Find Solutions
by Erica Wood
In North Carolina, a Medicaid appeal request goes to the Office of Administrative Hearings, where it is heard by an administrative law judge. This Office does not hear Medicaid eligibility cases, only appeals. Even so, the Office processed close to 13,000 recipient appeals last year. But North Carolina has found a unique approach to appeals that is timely and allows beneficiaries to state their case directly to the Department of Medical Assistance Services: mediation.

The Work of a Volunteer Fiduciary
by Randy Feliciano and Barbara K. Green
Although there are a number of public guardianship programs in the state of Virginia that are authorized to serve a specific number of clients, the beauty of Arlington’s program is that it makes a tremendous impact in meeting the needs of incapacitated individuals through the power of volunteerism.

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Legislative Guide
The American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging collaborated with the National POLST Paradigm Task Force (NPPTF) and a team of legal experts to produce the POLST Legislative Guide, a free publication released in February 2014, for states engaged in the development of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs.

Book Excerpt: Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law
by Roberta K. Flowers and Rebecca C. Morgan
This book features a useful and practical approach to guiding an attorney new to elder law through potential ethical issues. With the inclusion of practitioner checklists, the book provides a framework for analyzing the day-to-day issues that elder law attorneys encounter.

Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging 2014-2015 Fellowship in Law & Aging
The Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging affords three law school graduates interested in a career in law and aging the opportunity to pursue their research and professional interests for one year.

World Congress on Adult Guardianship
Anyone who is involved with guardianship regularly faces challenges at some point. The World Congresses present shared problems from new perspectives and offer ideas and solutions from multiple viewpoints, cultures and guardianship systems.

Inside the Commission
Commission Interns
The Commission's robust internship program hosts students year-round in Washington, DC. Here, we profile our two Fall interns.

Engage Your Community!
Don't forget to plan for: National Health Decisions Day (April 16), Law Day (May 1), and Older Americans Month (May)

Commission Publication: Checklist for an Elder-Friendly Law Office
By complying with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines and making the other practical design decisions highlighted in this 22-page publication, you can improve an older client's experience in your office.

Event and CLE Update
Upcoming CLE

New National Aging and Law Conference
This October 16-17, the Commission on Law and Aging will sponsor the New National Aging and Law Conference in Washington, DC. This year's conference theme will be: 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty: Progress & Challenges for the Future.

Upcoming CLE: Health Care Decision-Making and the “F” Word—Futility
Recent cases involving brain dead patients and resulting disputes over continuing organ-sustaining treatments have reignited debate over the appropriate use of medical technologies. The family of Jahi McMath in Oakland, CA, fought to keep their daughter connected to a ventilator, while a hospital in Fort Worth, TX, sought to keep Marlise Muñoz, fourteen weeks pregnant, on a ventilator over the objection of her husband and family. For terminally ill patients who are not brain dead, a family's desire to "do everything possible" sometimes leads to insisting on medical interventions that medical professionals may deem inappropriate or "futile."

To subscribe to Bifocal or to submit news items or a manuscript for consideration, contact editor Andrea Amato.

March 12, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)