Monday, December 2, 2013
3L Nerissa Irizarry reports on her experiences at this year's NALI conference in Washington, DC (Part 2 of a series)....
The 2013 National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys conference held a session entitled “Making Your Office and Beyond Accessible to Your Clients With Intentional ‘Elder Friendly’ Design.” The session’s presenters were Professor Rebecca Morgan, Professor Roberta Flowers, both currently at Stetson University College of Law, and John E. Wittman from Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC. The discussion that ensued was tremendously practical. The presenters sought to demonstrate, with assistance from the audience, the unique needs presented when creating an office that is welcoming to older clients. In addition to the distinctive interactive nature of this session, the presenters highlighted the intersectionality that is inherent in an elder law practice by including an architect in the discussion. Throughout the conversation, presenters and audience members commented on the ways in which design wishes and legal concerns coalesced, not always harmoniously, in the office planning process. For example, municipal regulations can pose a problem for the considerate elder law attorney who wants to install signage that is not consistent with local requirements. Mr. Wittman, NAELA’s featured architect, paid special attention to aesthetically appeasing as well as functional features of a welcoming elder law office. For instance, there was much attention paid to colors that contrasted, but did not clash, as well as light that was illuminative and diffused. The idea was to have an appealing office that was not harsh to the eyes of an older or (dis)abled client. The presenters enhanced the quality of their presentation by including pictures of elder law offices from around the country. These visuals invoked lots of conversation and comments from the audience. Overall, the interactive, practical aspects of this session blended fun into an educational, professional conference.
The overall atmosphere of the 2013 NAELA conference can be summed up in two words: inviting fun! As a first time attendee, who ventured to the conference knowing absolutely no one, I expected my social interactions to be at least slightly awkward. I was pleasantly surprised to have had exactly the opposite experience. Nearly everyone I interacted with was not only welcoming, but inviting. I was asked about my interests, passion, and future goals in the field of elder law. I spoke with attorneys who encouraged my induction into the field, as well as offered their moral support for any stumbles along the way. The interactions with elder law attorneys stood out as the outstanding aspect of the conference. In fact, one attendee (Ruth Ratzlaff) handed me her card and told me to call her if I ever needed a cheerleader. I will be sure to remember her when I am spending my summer tediously studying for admission to the California Bar.
The sessions were digestible, and that characteristic is particularly important for new and soon-to- be attorneys like myself. I especially enjoyed the interactive atmosphere within the sessions. As attendees, we did not sit still for too long before we were asked to participate in the conversation. The presentations truly felt like conversations. From the venue to the environment, the 2013 NAELA conference created an ambiance that was engaging and convivial to attendees.
--Nerissa Irizarray, J.D. expected, William Mitchell College of Law, May 2014.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Earlier this month I sent three of my students to NALI. NAELA members and others were welcoming, and the students learned so much there! I've asked the students to write some blog posts about their experiences, and will be posting these over the next few days. This one is by my RA Regan Bovee, who will graduate in December with a JD from William Mitchell and a Health Compliance certificate from Hamline.
My Experience at the NAELA National Aging and Law Institute
On November 7th-9th I had the incredible opportunity to attend the NAELA National Aging and Law Institute as a third-year law student. The conference began with a discussion on the budget and policy landscape and what can be expected in the next year. From there, I attended a whirlwind of sessions about everything from designing an elder friendly office to a funny and informative panel featuring staff from the Center for Medicare Advocacy playing “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
Jonathon Blum, the Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Director of the CMS Center for Medicare spoke about Medicare’s ‘observation status.’ Among other topics, he discussed accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are groups of health care providers accountable for quality and cost of healthcare for beneficiaries in traditional fee-for-service care. Service quality is tied to an ACO’s rating.
Mr. Blum said that prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fifteen percent of Medicare beneficiaries were in four or five star plans. It is now more difficult to meet the requirements of being labeled a four or five star plan, but CMS projects that by 2015 more than half of beneficiaries in private plans will be in a high ranking plan.
My highlight from the conference was the large amount of content that involved the ACA. Almost every session I attended mentioned the ACA in one way or another, whether it be transitioning from a healthcare exchange to Medicare or the impact the ACA is having on long term care services. The final session, given by David Lillesand, focused solely on the ACA and addressed many common complaints such as, “my insurance plan is skyrocketing” and “why do men have to have maternity coverage?”
Mr. Lillesand also discussed the impact the ACA will have on personal injury law, since a large percentage of personal injury claims often goes toward future medical costs associated with having preexisting conditions and no longer being able to find coverage. With preexisting conditions no longer affecting coverage, the amount awarded in personal injury suits may decrease drastically.
It was such a wonderful experience being surrounded by elder law experts and having the opportunity to listen to them speak about topics that are so relevant. I left the conference feeling very inspired and excited to enter the field of elder law.
--by Regan Bovee (JD expected December 2013, William MItchell College of Law)
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
An interesting title for a CLE program is attached to an upcoming New Jersey event: "19th Annual Sophisticated Elder Law Forum." So, are some CLEs offered for "unsophisticated elders?" (Just joking, of course)
Speakers and topics include:
Keynote Address: "Maximizing Social Security Benefits," by Avram Sacks, Esq., from Chicago
Interstate Aspects of Guardianships: Shirley Whiteneck, Esq.
Estate Planning fo Same Sex Couples: Mark Friedman, Esq.
Special Needs Trust Update: Lawrence Freedman, Esq.
Hot Tips in Estate and Retirement Planning: Richard Greenberg, Esq.
Medicaid and Veterans Benefits Planning: John Callinan, Esq. & Donald Vanarelli, Esq.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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Friday, November 1, 2013
Penn State Law colleague Laurel Terry works hard on cross-border issues in regulation of lawyers and has had several big presentations recently in Canada. Professor Terry pointed out to me the agenda for an upcoming Elder Law Conference sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association to be held in Halifax Nova Scotia on November 15.
Here at the interesting topics:
- For the Expected, Unexpected, and Everything in Between: A Boot Camp Overview
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Powers of Attorney
- The ABCs of Personal Directives
- Busted by the Border? How to avoid cross-border tax issues
- Should You Be Trusted? Using trusts in estate planning
- Adding Insult To Injury: The need for guardianship orders when no powers of attorney are in place
- Navigating Adult Protection: Lessons from the Pros
- Capacity: A Geriatrician’s View
- Whose Wishes Are They Anyway? A review of undue influence
- So What Now? The NS Department of Seniors Can Help
The title that particularly resonates for me these days, especially given recent meetings with an Elder Law Task Force, is "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" as it suggests the importance of ethical and legal obligations for agents tied to powers of attorney.
Monday, October 28, 2013
The fall meeting of the National Continuing Care Residents' Association (NaCCRA) in Dallas on October 27 was attended by CCRC residents from at least a dozen states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and D.C.
The morning workshop focused on "Imagining CCRCs of the Future," starting with round table discussions that identified 25 topics deemed important to the future of the industry, including planning for consumers who may have less financial resources while also seeking greater services; interest in building more diverse communities; and the importance of training for emerging leaders. From the broad list, the group identified 7 priorities for NaCCRA in the coming year and beyond, accompanied by specific action recommendations. Stay tuned!
In the afternoon, members of NaCCRA were part of a panel discussion on "Resident Engagement" led by Ron Herring, the President-Elect of NaCCRA. The panelists were Ellen Handler, President of ORANJ, the residents' organization in New Jersey; Marilyn Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer for Episcopalian Senior Communities in the San Francisco area, and Mary Ann Colwell, a resident at St. Paul's Towers, one of Episcopalian Senior Communities' CCRCs.
Handler presented highlights from successful advocacy on the part of the New Jersey group in achieving state legislation requiring resident membership on governing boards of CCRCs, and, most recently, mandating threshold rights for residents in "independent living." Kennedy and Colwell talked about the 10 year history of progress in their communities, building multiple pathways for residents to participate in the life of their communities, including working with provider representatives to plan for the future. Kennedy discussed the role of California state law that helped to frame the provider/resident discussions.
The audience included provider representatives. During the Q & A that followed the panelist presentations, the interaction generated observations about effective roles for residents on governing boards and key board committees (such as finance and quality), including success stories from communities. Several people remarked on the "process" of resident engagement, as it takes time for true engagement to become engrained as the culture of the community.
The NaCCRA meeting was part of the opening day action at the national meeting of LeadingAge, the national trade group for nonprofit senior living providers, which runs through October 29.
Friday, October 25, 2013
This weekend I'm heading off to Dallas for a quick visit, to help with a Sunday workshop for the good folks at NACCRA, the National Continuing Care Residents' Association. Then I get to attend part of the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo that runs from October 27-30.
I have to say I've been a bit overwhelmed with the email traffic from participants at the LeadingAge Expo (next time I'll be more careful about what boxes I check on the registration forms). But, it is always good to see an industry from different perspectives and to get outside the "academic" world for a broader view. I'm also looking forward to catching up with friends, including Trisha Cowart, who will be presenting on "Surviving the Medicaid Maze," on Tuesday, October 29, speaking from her experiences the last few years as an attorney representing long-term care providers. Trisha and I co-authored a book on Financial Abuse and Exploitation (Bisel 2011) and she's a cherished former partner from the Penn State Elder Protection Clinic.
I'm also looking forward to seeing some of the high-tech developments in long-term care I've been reading about. More after I return.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
This year the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) are joining forces to host the National Aging and Law Institute in the Washington D.C. area on November 7-9. Highlights include:
- An opening session on Thursday, "Washington Update: On What Will Washington Agree This Fall?"
- A morning session on Friday, "The Vision for Medicare and the Challenges Ahead," by CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum
- A Friday session with Charles Sabatino and others on "Health-Care Decision Making and HIPPA Privacy Barriers."
- A morning session on Saturday, "Technology and Design to Promote Independence and Quality of Life"
Details and registration are available here. Also note that a special "Senate Briefing: Elder Justice and Special Needs Issues " is free, but does require a separate, advance registration.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Those Canadians know how to promote world events, and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law in British Columbia has teamed up with Stetson and University of Hawaii to host the World Elder Law Study Group 2013, in conjunction with the International Elder Law Conference, set for next month in Waikiki:
"The World Study Group offers elder law professors, practitioners and other professionals from around the world to meet up with colleagues and exchange ideas on elder law research, issues and teaching. The Study Group has been meeting annually since 2007 and attracts participants from around the globe.
The event is being held [on November 11] in conjunction with the International Elder Law Conference with a Veterans Focus (November 12 - 13, 2013), being hosted by the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program with the support of Stetson University College of Law (Florida)."
Here's the link for details, including registration for the Study Group.
Friday, October 11, 2013
"The 50+ Workforce:
High Potentials You Might Be Overlooking"
Webcast Date: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Click here to view an introductory video from the webcast presenters:
This webcast explores what employers should know about a group that has been called the largest trained pool of future employees, and sheds light on challenges and opportunities faced by mature workers.
- Susanne Bruyère, ILR School associate dean, director of the Employment and Disability Institute, and professor of Disability Studies, will share recent research, including findings of an employer survey focused on mature workers;
- Linda Barrington, executive director of ILR’s Institute for Compensation Studies, studies employment and pay issues, and will offer perspectives on implications for maturing workers;
- Emily Allen, vice president of income impact, AARP Foundation, will talk about strategies to effectively engage the 50-plus workforce as a solution to worker and skill shortages.
For more information about upcoming webcasts, please contact Lori Biechele, Cornell University ILR School, 607-254-8941, email@example.com
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The Jordan Liebhaber Scholarship Fund and Elder Decisions are jointly sponsoring a scholarship for young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 to attend an Elder Decisions Elder / Adult Family Mediation Training.
The Jordan Liebhaber Scholarship Fund was created in loving memory of Jordan Washor Liebhaber, May 22, 1986 - March 29, 2013, with the intention to carry forward Jordan's clear values and good works to help make the world a better, more caring place for our elders. The fund seeks to help young adults with interest in the elder services field.
If you or someone you know is between the ages of 18 to 30, a trained mediator, and interested in participating in Elder Mediation Training held in Newton, MA, please submit an application directly to the fund (a link to the application is below). The selected applicant(s) may enroll in an upcoming Elder Decisions training (on a space-available basis) at a rate of $75, with the remaining registration fee shared equally by The Jordan Liebhaber Scholarship Fund and Elder Decisions. (Note that transportation and lodging, if applicable, are additional.)
Download the application here:
www.mediate.com/elderdecisions/docs/Application for the Jordan Liebhaber Scholarship.pdf
Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with the first round due no later than October 15th, 2013. Applications for other uses of the scholarship fund are also welcome.
For more information about the fund, please visit www.bnaior.org/JLscholarship.html.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Pennsylvania has the 4th largest population of "older adults," with more than 21.4% over age 60, according to Pennsylvania Department of Aging's State Plan on Aging 2012-2016. Not surprisingly, "elder law" is a hot topic in the state. Upcoming continuing legal education programs offered by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute include:
The Nuts & Bolts of Medicaid Planning (Live in Pittsburgh on October 9, Philadelphia on October 10)
Estate Planning: Beyond the Basics (Live in Pittsburgh on October 17, Allentown on October 29)
Elder Law Update (Live in Mechanicsburg on November 7, Philadelphia on November 15 and Pittsburgh on November 21)
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The New York City Bar is hosting an evening program on October 24, 2013 on Tax & Estate Planning under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The CLE program will be available in multiple formats, including a live Webcast.
The program description:
"Estate planning has become more complicated as a result of the new tax law, especially in decoupled states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Preparing an estate plan involves the interplay of the Federal estate tax, the state estate tax, portability, higher income tax rates, basis step-up, and asset protection. This course will cover the provisions of the new law and how the new law and its interaction with state law affects the planning for clients with various size estates. Income tax issues including the benefits of the Roth conversion under the new law will also be discussed."