Thursday, October 18, 2018
The Pennsylvania Legislature did not reach either SB 884, involving major changes in adult guardianship laws, or HB 2291, that would have blocked state authority to investigate complaints about the scope of services provided in senior public housing or independent living units in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), before adjourning to permit legislators to return to their districts for the final push before the November 2018 elections. It is unlikely that either bill will receive further consideration this session. New legislation would need to be introduced in the next legislative session, for fresh consideration in 2019.
One bill that did pass both Houses on October 18 in the waning hours of the 2017-18 session is HB 2133, Printer's No. 3107 to establish a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program within the PA Department of Human Services as "a resource for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren" outside of the formal child welfare system. The online navigator program is to be created by an outside contractor. The fiscal note attached to the bill projects an estimated cost of about $2.2 million, with about half of the funds coming from federal sources.
Friday, September 28, 2018
The Aging, Law and Society Collaborative Research Network (CRN) invites scholars to participate in a multi-event workshop as part of the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting scheduled for Washington D.C. from May 30 through June 2, 2019.
For this workshop, proposals for presentations should be submitted by October 22, 2018.
This year’s workshop will feature themed panels, roundtable discussions, and rapid fire presentations in which participants can share new ideas and research projects.
The CRN encourages paper proposals on a broad range of issues related to law and aging. For this event, organizers especially encourage proposals on the following topics:
- The concept of dignity as it relates to aging
- Interdisciplinary research on aging
- Old age policy, and historical perspectives on old age policy
- Sexual Intimacy in old age and the challenge of “consent” requirements
- Compulsion in care provision
- Disability perspectives on aging, and aging perspectives on disability
- Feminist perspectives on aging
- Approaches to elder law education
In addition to paper proposals, CRN also welcomes:
- Volunteers to serve as panel discussants and as commentators on works-in-progress.
- Ideas and proposals for themed panels, round-tables, or a session around a new book.
If you would like to present a paper as part of a the CRN’s programming, send a 100-250 word abstract, with your name, full contact information, and a paper title to Professor Nina Kohn at Syracuse Law, who, appropriately enough also now holds the title of "Associate Dean of Online Education!"
September 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, International, Programs/CLEs, Property Management, Retirement, Science, Social Security, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics, Web/Tech, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
The Elder Law Review is an independent refereed e-journal produced by Western Sydney University. The Review is multi-disciplinary, bringing together professionals working, researching and writing in the aged care area. It is designed to be of interest to academics, practitioners and those involved in the provision of aged care.
We received word via Nina Kohn at Syracuse Law and Guest Editor Margaret Hall of Thompson Rivers University in Canada about plans for a special volume of the Elder Law Review on the theme of "Relational Autonomy, Vulnerability Theory, Older Adults and the Law: Making It Real." Publication is planned for mid 2019.
The topic was developed at a March 2018 workshop held at Macquarie University in Australia.
Original, unpublished contributions are invited for any of the following sections of the Review:
- the Refereed section containing scholarly articles exploring different aspects of relational autonomy and vulnerability theory in relation to older adults and the law. While we will consider articles of any length, we prefer them to be between 3000 and 8000 words.
- the Comments section, which consists of contributions from government, lawyers and aged care representatives, commenting on issues which the contributor perceives to be of contemporary significance within elder law.
- News and Current Issues – including legislative changes and case notes.
- Elder Law in Practice which profiles legal practices, community projects, social justice initiatives and pro-bono schemes from all over the world that specifically target the legal needs of older people.
Submissions are due by March 1, 2019. For more information, see Call for Submissions, here.
Friday, September 14, 2018
Seton Hall Law School's Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy invites scholars to submit works-in-progress for discussion at its 3rd Annual Health Law Retreat scheduled for February 8, 2019. Here are the details:
The purpose of the retreat is to give area health law scholars an opportunity to share their work and exchange ideas in a friendly, informal setting. The retreat is open to anyone with an academic appointment in health law (including professors, fellows, and visitors) in any institution of higher education in the Northeast area (broadly defined to include Washington D.C. and all points north).
The retreat will consist of an in-depth discussion of approximately 5-6 draft papers. For each paper, a commentator will provide a 10-15 minute overview, as well as his or her reactions. The author will then have 5 minutes to respond, after which the floor will be opened for a general discussion among all retreat participants.
If you are interested in having your paper presented, please submit a preliminary draft or, if that is not possible, a detailed introduction or outline of at least 5 pages, no later than November 26, 2018, to Catherine Finizio, at catherine.Finizio@shu.edu, who will anonymize them before distributing them to the selection committee. You will be notified whether your paper has been selected for presentation by December 17. Final drafts will be due on January 18, 2019. Drafts will be made available to all participants on a password-protected website.
To give you additional background on this conference, here is a link to the speakers, program and paper topics discussed at the February 2018 conference.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Registration is open for Stetson Law's 20th annual Special Needs Planning Conference. The agenda is here . There are three pre-conferences on October 17: a full day program on Tax, a full day program on Pooled SNTs, and a half-day program on Veterans benefits. The National Conference is two days long and runs October 18-19, 2018. Registration info is available here. Can't attend in person? The National Conference is being webcast. Early bird registration ends September 21, 2018 so don't delay!
Disclaimer: I'm the conference chair. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, September 9, 2018
i was reading about ECHO MOLST the other day. ECHO MOLST is part of Project ECHO
a lifelong learning and guided practice model that revolutionizes medical education and exponentially increases workforce capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health disparities. The heart of the ECHO model™ is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams who use multi-point videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers. In this way, primary care doctors, nurses, and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities using an all-teach all-learn model.
Project ECHO links expert specialist teams at a “hub” with primary care clinicians and other professionals in local communities. Primary care clinicians, the “spokes” in the ECHO model, become part of a learning community, where they receive mentoring and feedback from specialists. Together, they manage patient cases so that patients get the care they need. Although the ECHO model makes use of telecommunications technology, it is different from telemedicine.
What makes this training unique? According to the website, "Project ECHO’s innovative approach will support the current and future needs of our clinicians and system leaders. ECHO MOLST will provide long term, sustainable MOLST education that will improve the competency and capacity of clinicians and improve adherence to patient preferences at end-of-life." The video conference 8 week training is set to start on September 13, 2018 .
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Register now for a free webinar from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care. The webinar is scheduled for September 5, 2018 at 2 edt. Here is some info about the webinar
Join this webinar to learn about sexual abuse in nursing homes. Presenters will discuss a variety of topics to help you recognize the signs of sexual abuse and immediately respond to it.
We will examine the full scope of sexual abuse in nursing homes, including: (1) its prevalence, (2) the physical and social signs of sexual abuse, (3) who is most at risk, and (4) who the perpetrators are. In addition, you will learn the protections the federal nursing home rule provides for nursing home residents against this abuse and how to respond to the needs of victims. Finally, we will equip you with concrete knowledge on how ombudsmen can advocate for nursing home residents who are victims of this type of abuse, including hearing from a special presenter on the ombudsman role in the Washington Alliance to End Sexual Violence in Long-Term Care.
To register, click here
August 14, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Register now for this DOJ Elder Justice Initiative webinar Digging Deeper: When Consent is Not Consent.The webinar is scheduled for September 6, 2018 at 2 p.m. edt. Here's a description of the webinar:
Jane Walsh, Director of At-Risk Protection, Denver District Attorney’s Office, will discuss the concept of consent, which underlies a range of actions in criminal and civil law, including gifting money. In the context of financial exploitation, prosecutors and law enforcement will regularly be faced with many situations where a victim is aware that money or assets are being transferred to a suspect, and is apparently consenting to this happening. It is easy for incorrect assumptions to be made about consent, for example, labeling a financial gift as a poor decision rather than the result of fraud or some other action. Learn more about the dynamics of these cases, how capacity factors in, and thoughts on tactics and strategies to consider when building and trying these cases.
The concept of consent underlies a range of actions in criminal and civil law, including gifting money. In the context of financial exploitation, professionals at times make incorrect assumptions about consent, for example, labeling a financial gift as a poor decision rather than the result of fraud or some other action. Increasing the complexity of these cases is the issue of consent. Learn about the elements of consent, how to confirm consent, and how to distinguish consent from actions or conditions (such as diminished capacity) that negate consent.
To register, click here.
While you are at it, also register for the 3rd in a series webinar on Financial Crimes vs. Seniors. This one, Financial Crimes Against Seniors Part 3 - Response, Prosecution, and Prevention
is set for September 19, 2018 at 1 p.m. edt and will cover
A collaborative project of NW3C and the Elder Justice Initiative, this webinar is the third in a series of three webinars based on the NW3C Financial Crimes Against Seniors class, and will include:
- Responding to a Senior Call
- Prosecuting Elder Exploitation
- Promoting Awareness and PreventionClick here to register for this one!
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
The National Center on Law & Elder Rights is offering a free webinar on August 14, 2018 at 2 edt on Legal Skills-Eviction Defense-Helping Older Tenants Remain at Home.
Here's a description of the webinar:
More older adults are choosing to rent, rather than purchase homes. Older tenants are particularly at risk of eviction due to unaffordable rent increases, or retaliation for complaints regarding code violations. Moreover, as adults age, landlords may be reluctant to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. Affordable housing is an important option for older renters, as it may offer reduced barriers and helpful amenities, but older adults may face other challenges preserving their tenancies in such housing.
This legal basics webcast will present a general overview of the tenants’ rights, examine one state’s process, and discuss defenses to eviction and other effective strategies to counter displacement.
To register, click here.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Here is a description of the webinar
Please join the EJI webinar on August 9, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. eastern time, as Nicole Sato, Deputy District Attorney, provides an overview of the role of a prosecutor at the MDT table. Learn how to strengthen collaboration with your team’s prosecutor by delving into their role, contributions, and professional perspective.
Join in a discussion about the ethical responsibilities of a prosecutor and the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in the fight against elder abuse. The discussion will include the prosecutor’s perspective on what makes a good case; what are their parameters on an MDT; what they get out of MDT collaborations and how best to collaborate; and what they contribute. Plus, we will clear up some common assumptions and misconceptions regarding the parameters of their work.
To register for the webinar, click here.
The following day, August 10, 2018 at 2 p.m. edt, another webinar will be held, focusing on Elder Justice Initiative: The Role of Judges in an Elder Abuse Case
Judge Karen Howze will discuss the dynamics of elder abuse, relevant issues such as cognitive capacity, expert witnesses that may be required, reasonable courtroom accommodations, the advantages of elder abuse multidisciplinary teams, and the importance of judicial leadership on the issue of elder abuse. Judges play a critical role in adjudicating the wide array of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation cases that come before them. Elder abuse and fraud enter courtrooms both directly in civil and criminal cases, as well as indirectly (e.g., in the context of a guardianship proceeding), so there are many critical issues to discuss.
To register, click here.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
On May 9, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved Pennsylvania Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement 403, recognizing an emeritus status for attorneys who retire from the practice of law and seek to provide pro bono services to legal aid organizations.
Emeritus programs serve as a pool of qualified volunteer attorneys to provide services to those in need. Emeritus attorneys can perform valuable roles in the community by bolstering legal aid and other nonprofit programs to help close the gap between the need for and the availability of free legal services.
In order to transfer to emeritus status in Pennsylvania, an attorney must be on retired status. The retired attorney must complete six hours of continuing legal education within one year prior to the application date as a prerequisite to transferring to emeritus status. The emeritus applicant must verify that he or she is authorized solely to provide pro bono services, is not permitted to handle client funds, and is not permitted to ask for or receive compensation. At the time of application, the applicant must pay a registration fee of $35.
Emeritus attorneys can renew their status on an annual basis, paying an annual fee, or can "transfer back" to retired status. While on emeritus status, they are subject to annual continuing legal education requirements.
Pennsylvania doesn't tend to rush to adopt "new" ideas, and thus it is relatively late among the states to approve such a program. Emeritus programs have existed for quite some time. For more on them, see the white paper on "Best Practices and Lessons Learned," authored for the ABA in 2010 by David Godfrey and Erica Wood. See also the 2016 updated report by David Godfrey and April Faith-Slaker.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
During a session at the first day of the 21st Annual Pennsylvania Elder Law Institute, we had an interesting dialogue about how best to utilize Physician Orders of Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms. One attorney described how clients sometimes arrive at her law firm for advice on various estate planning matters, including a blank POLST form that was given to them in the hospital. The client asks, in essence,"what should I do with this?" One attorney said she walks through the form with clients, but always emphasizes that the most important part of the process is the conversation with the client's physician about her choices that should be happening before completing the document.
Along that line, there is a timely post on the Health Affairs Blog today, with the headline "Counting POLST Form Completion Can Hinder Quality." The authors, two physicians in Oregon, describe an incident in which a patient reported feeling pressured at a hospital to complete a POLST form, and they raise the potential for the pressure being a side effect of that patient's health plan keeping track of frequency of completion of POLSTs or other advance directives for all patients 65 or older, marking a high rate of completion as success. They observe:
Many stakeholders have been concerned about how best to measure the quality of advance care planning and use of the POLST form. Some health plans and payers measure the frequency of POLST form completion without a clearly delineated eligible denominator population. Use of such a metric erodes the quality of the POLST program as the following case illustrates. . . .
When health care professionals encourage patients who are “too healthy” to complete a POLST form (instead of an advance directive), even when orders are for “CPR/Full Treatment,” they may cause harm. If the patient later loses decision-making capacity and clinically deteriorates to a condition in which he or she would have desired a comfort-oriented approach, the presence of the inappropriate POLST may increase the decision-making burden on the family. Another concern is that some healthy patients have been denied life insurance because their medical record inappropriately includes a POLST form; the company incorrectly believing the patient has a limited life expectancy.
The authors argue persuasively that:
Accordingly, we do not believe that POLST forms should be mandated or counted as a quality measure. Instead, POLST quality measures should count conversations about patients’ goals for care as they near the end of their lives.
I recommend the full article, linked above, including review of their "seven imperatives to preserve POLST quality."
July 19, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
On Friday, July 13, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. eastern time, the Elder Justice Initiative presents the webinar “The Forgotten Victims: Elder Homicides Part 2, A Prosecutor's Perspective." Please join us as Belle Chen of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office discusses the unique challenges of investigating and prosecuting elder and dependent neglect homicides... This webinar will highlight some of the challenges and common dynamics in these cases through a comparison of two elder neglect cases that went to trial and were presented to juries. This presentation can aid law enforcement in their investigations of complex elder neglect cases and prosecutors in their review, filing, and litigation in criminal court.
To register, click here
Friday, June 1, 2018
Happy June 1. Celebrate by registering now for a free webinar for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day! From the DOJ Elder Justice Initiative, this 4 p.m. webinar will include:
A presenter from the Social Security Administration will share the latest on representative payees; an EJI representative will talk about the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act and new resources being developed to better respond to elder abuse; an expert from the Administration for Community Living will describe their guardianship grant programs and the importance of data collection for policy and programmatic enhancement; and the Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse will present on some of the latest trends and resources that will help you to better respond to elder abuse.
Expert presenters include:
Lydia Chevere, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration
Aiesha Gurley, Aging Specialist, Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Susan C. Lynch, Senior Counsel for Elder Justice, U.S. Department of Justice
Julie Schoen, Deputy Director, National Center on Elder Abuse
To register for this webinar, click here
Monday, May 28, 2018
One of my heroes, Alfred "Chip" Chiplin, who died last year, was the 2018 recipient of the NAELA Theresa Award. The award is presented by the Theresa Foundation and was awarded at the 24th Annual Theresa awards as well as at NAELA's 2018 annual meeting. The award "is an annual community service award presented by the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation to a NAELA member in recognition of his or her advocacy and support of individuals with disabilities." The award was accepted by Chip's sister.
More information about the amazing work of the Theresa Foundation is available here.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The 2019 conference will have a strong focus on critical and emergent topics facing the field of aging, as well as cutting-edge and responsive programmatic, research, policy and advocacy efforts. Potential interest areas include: emergency/disaster readiness, housing and transportation access, caregiving, substance use/opioid crisis, multiple aspects of dementia, technology and aging, intergenerational models, population health, and shifting policy and legislative issues affecting older adults. Additionally, we welcome proposals spanning the theme of aging that offer innovative policies, programs, practices, models, businesses and learning.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
NAELA celebrated its 30th year with its annual conference in New Orleans, LA on May 17-19, 2018. The conference consisted of three tracks: legal tech, advocacy and public benefits. The well-attended conference packed in a great amount of programming in two and a half days. Speakers included leaders from the field of elder law, consultants, cyber security experts, researchers and more. NAELA members unable to attend may check the NAELA website for more information.
In addition, Michael Amoruso was sworn in as the next NAELA president by outgoing president Hy Darling. Congrats NAELA!
(In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a former president of NAELA and co-chair of the planning committee for this conference.)
May 22, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Medicaid, Medicare, Programs/CLEs, Property Management, Social Security, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Last Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes ran an extended feature story on the role of grandparents as primary caregivers for grandchildren, often because of untrustworthy parents with opioid or other addiction problems. The story reported that "stoked by the opioid crisis, 21,000 children -- just in Utah -- live with their grandparents."
The feature also suggested some of the financial consequences for the extended family, as grandparents were exhausting their own retirement savings in order to provide for the younger children. Nonprofit programs, such as Grandfamilies, sometimes are able to provide informal support for the grandparents.
Along the same lines, Pennsylvania's Governor Wolf signed new laws, Senate Bill 844 (Printer's No. 1531), which became Act No. 21, on May 4, 2018. The law recognizes expanded standing for grandparents to seek physical or legal custody for grandchildren, if they can show "clear and convincing evidence" of all of the following:
(I) The individual has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child.
(II) The individual has a sustained, substantial and sincere interest in the welfare of the child.
In determining whether the individual meets the requirements of this subparagh, the court may consider, among other factors, the nature, quality, extent and length of the involvement by the individual in the child's life.
(III) Neither parent has any form of care or control of the child.
Pennsylvania estimates that there are 82,000 grandparents acting as sole caregivers for roughly 89,000 grandchildren. Other related bills still pending in Pennsylvania include support for creation of a "Kinship Caregiver Navigation Program," and a means to appoint a temporary guardian when a parent enters drug or alcohol treatment.
Additional history on the shifts in thinking on grandparent rights can be important. For example see this Pennsylvania law firm's blog post from 2013 on amendments that removed "automatic" standing for grandparents to seek custody.
The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, responding swiftly to the latest changes, is offering a Webinar tomorrow (May 17, 2018) on the new laws.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
This summer I will attend (and be a speaker for) the two-day Elder Law Institute hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI). It is the 21st time the annual institute has been offered and I think I've attended 20 of them. Many of the movers and shakers in elder law from the national scene, including my blogging colleague Stetson Law Professor Becky Morgan and Justice in Aging's Eric Carlson, just to name two, have been keynote speakers over the years. I find the Elder Law Institute to be not only educational in the traditional sense of classroom learning, but an important place to catch up with the informal ways that our profession is changing and moving on.
So, it was with a real dose of surprise when I was catching up on local news today and learned that PBI's parent organization, the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), voted in mid-April to "dismiss" the governing body for PBI and to, in essence, shut it down as the educational arm of the bar association. Financial problems are cited in one article from Law360 as the motivating reason:.
... Dennis Whitaker, a partner at Hawke McKeon & Sniscak LLP who was removed as the president of PBI's board of directors as a result of last month's vote, told Law360 on Thursday that the takeover plan had come as both a complete surprise and despite what he said were viable plans to right the institute's finances.
"The action was unexpected and we all felt it was unwarranted," he said. "We were on a path to turn the organization around."
Whitaker said that the bar association's move to dissolve and absorb the institute, which has provided continuing legal education programming as an independent entity for more than half a century, was unveiled at a meeting between the leadership teams of the two organizations on April 11.
"We had no notice this was coming," Whitaker said.
That news was supplemented by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's announcement via email today that PBI will become "a department" of PBA, and will continue producing live programs and publications.
Signs of the times -- including a sign of what seems to be the legal profession's impatience with traditional formats for mandatory CLE. In my experience, the demand for modular, portable education is growing -- but that type of product isn't necessarily more cost effective to produce.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
As is true for many states, Maryland is increasing the education, support and supervision for guardians appointed by the Maryland courts. In connection with this, beginning on January 1, 2018, prospective guardians must watch a video-based "orientation program" before they are appointed guardian of a minor or disabled person. The 9-minute video introduces the "roles, duties and responsibilities" of a guardian and explains mch of what to expect if appointed by the Maryland Courts. Here is a link to the video.
What I particularly like about this video is the message "You Are Not Alone as a Guardian," and the emphasis that Court-appointed guardians are subject to the ultimate authority of the Court. I think that many courts are still struggling with their own roles in this regard, but here the lines of responsibility are explained clearly.
The balance here is delicate, requiring careful thought about how to provide threshold information essential for a candidate to make an informed decision about whether to serve, but without making the information so overwhelming that good candidates decline the role. The Maryland courts caution that this particular orientation and the related training requirements do NOT apply to public guardians or guardianships that terminate parental rights.
In my opinion, this type of video is a good first step. But just a first step.
May 6, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)