Friday, May 28, 2010

May 2010 ADA Newsletter now available online

Friday, May 21, 2010

New from the Elder Law Studies eJournal

Browse all abstracts here:

The Costs of Estate Tax Dithering
Paul L. Caron, University of Cincinnati - College of Law

Using Matched Survey and Administrative Data to Estimate Eligibility for the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program
Erik Meijer, RAND Corporation
Lynn A. Karoly, RAND Corporation - Santa Monica CA Offices
Pierre-Carl Michaud, RAND Corporation, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Elderly Poverty and Supppplemental Security Income, 2002–2005
Joyce Nicholas, affiliation not provided to SSRN
Michael Wiseman, Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration

A Missed Opportunity: Health Care Reform, Rhetoric, Ethics and Economics at the End of Life
Joshua E. Perry, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Dept of Business Law & Ethics

Integrating Catholic Social Thought in Elder Law and Estate Planning Courses: Reflections on Law, Age and Ethics
Lucia Ann Silecchia, Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law

The Social Long-Term Care Insurance in Germany: Origin, Situation, Threats, and Perspectives
Stephan Lothar Thomsen, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW)

May 21, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

European Court of Human Rights upholds voting rights of persons under guardianship

Via the Mental Disability Advocacy Center:

Persons with disabilities placed under guardianship are one of the most vulnerable groups of Hungarian society. One reason for their exclusion is that they are automatically deprived of their basic right to participate in political decision-making. Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this blanket disenfranchisement is contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights.  In its judgment the European Court of Human Rights stated that Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the ECHR does not allow for an absolute bar on voting rights applied to anyone placed under partial guardianship irrespective of a person's actual abilities. Even if the Protocol permits restrictions to ensure that only citizens capable of assessing the consequences of their decisions and making conscious and judicious decisions should participate in public affairs, the Court found that a blanket restriction is not in compliance with the Convention.  The Court's judgment means that the legal regulation on the rights of persons with disabilities needs to be reconsidered, including amending the Hungarian Constitution. The ruling should provide further impetus to the somewhat halted reform process currently taking place with regard to the rights and legal status of persons with disabilities in the framework of the adoption of a new Civil Code. Read the Court's press release.

May 20, 2010 in Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Table of Contents

(Browse ALL abstracts for this journal at:

Celebrity, Death, and Taxes: Michael Jackson's Estate
Bridget J. Crawford, Pace University School of Law
Joshua C. Tate, Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Dedman School of Law
Mitchell Gans, Hofstra University - School of Law
Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

You Can’t Take it with You, and Maybe You Can’t Even Give it Away: The Case of Elizabeth Baldwin Rice
J. Thomas Oldham, University of Houston Law Center

More Parents, More Money: Reflections on the Financial Implications of Multiple Parentage
Melanie B. Jacobs, Michigan State University College of Law

Chief Justice Burger: A Better Tax Lawyer Than His Critics
Paul L. Caron, University of Cincinnati - College of Law

What Estate Planners Need to Know About Firearms
Gerry W. Beyer, Texas Tech University School of Law
Jessica B. Jackson, Estate Planning & Community Property Law Journal

May 17, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 10, 2010

News from Wake Forest

Check out the spring issue of the Wake Forest Elder Law Clinic newsletter:



May 10, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Center for Elder Justice and Policy Spring newsletter now available online

The Spring 2010 edition of the Center for Elder Justice and Policy's occasional newsletter is now available at:

The newsletter highlights the efforts of William Mitchell students who are working to advance the cause of elder justice in Minnesota and the nation.  Special thanks to John Simshauser, '09, for his outstanding volunteer assistance in serving as editor and publisher of this issue.

May 6, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nursing Home build on "Green House" model

From our friends at the ElderLaw Answers Blog

Last Month, I visited the first nursing home I wouldn’t mind living in myself some day.  The Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Massachusetts (just over the Tobin Bridge from Boston), is built on the “Green House” model.

All rooms are private!  And they are designed in units of 10, all organized around a common area that includes a kitchen, dining area and living room.  The aides are trained to cook and food is commonly available, so that residents can eat what they want, when they want.

Each unit is designed for patients with similar disabilities.  Thus a younger resident with ALS or multiple sclerosis lives with similar individuals, rather than being placed with older residents suffering from dementia.

This level of privacy and individual attention doesn’t come cheap.  The facility charges $425 a day to private-pay residents, but it also accepts Medicare and Medicaid.

. . . . They even have a day spa.

May 5, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Senior Citizens Law Center publishes issue briefs on the health care bill

NSCLC's issue brief, "Health Care Reform & Low-Income Older Adults: An Overview" provides a summary of key provisions of the new health reform law that impact low-income older adults.
For those interested in going deeper, NSCLC has also developed in-depth analysis of the various provisions, broken down by topic.
•    The Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports Provisions in the Health Care Reform Law
•    Health Care Reform, Dual Eligibles & Coverage Expansion  
•    Health Care Reform: "Medical Assistance" as Payment (produced by NHelp and NSCLC)
•    Health Care Reform & Long-Term Care Facilities
•    Mandatory Health Insurance: Is it Constitutional? (published by the American Constitution Society)

May 4, 2010 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

News from NHeLP (National Health Law Program)

State Option for Early Medicaid Expansion

On April 9, CMS issued a letter to state health officials and Medicaid directors that implements the provision of the health reform law addressing Medicaid coverage for populations with the lowest incomes.  The guidance explains that the law expands Medicaid eligibility of individuals with low incomes (up to 133 percent FPL) who have traditionally not been eligible for Medicaid.  States have an option to phase-in coverage for this population beginning April 1, 2010.  In January 2014, states participating in Medicaid must cover the expanded eligibility population. 

To be eligible, an individual must have income of less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level and not be: included in a state plan or waiver before December 1, 2009; an adult under the age of 65; not pregnant; not eligible for Medicare Part A or B; or not already eligible under the Medicaid statute.  The letter also provides further details on increased federal matching rates for the newly eligible group of individuals in calendar year 2014, as well as benefit packages, and income and asset rules. For more information, click here.

State Flexibility for Medicaid Benefit Packages -- Final Rule

On April 30, CMS published a final rule, revising an earlier rule, on how states can design Medicaid "benchmark" benefit packages.  These benchmark and benchmark-equivalent benefit packages, authorized in the Deficit Reduction Act for certain eligibility groups, offer more limited benefits than generally available to Medicaid enrollees.  The final rule includes guidance on populations that are exempt from the benchmark option, voluntary and mandatory enrollment in the benchmark plans, as well as other information.  The final rule becomes effective as of July 1, 2010.  Click here for the Federal Register notice.

New CMS Administrator and Chief of Staff

On April 19, the President officially nominated Donald Berwick, M.D., to be the new CMS Administrator.  He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the School of Public Health.  CMS also announced that Caya Lewis, M.P.H., will be Berwick's Chief of Staff.  She is currently Director of Outreach and Public Health Policy for the HHS Office of Health Reform.

CMS Transparency

On April 7, HHS announced its Open Government Plan in response to the President's Open Government Directive for executive departments and agencies.  The goal of the directive is to implement principles of transparency, participation and collaboration.  CMS has developed "CMS Dashboard (BETA)," an electronic tool to determine trends in the cost of certain services under fee-for-service Medicare (by using inpatient hospital payment and volume information).  Click here for more details on CMS Dashboard (BETA).

CMS has also announced that Medicaid State Plan documents will be available to the public without charge.  Each state's Medicaid state plan documents will be accessible online, as they were during earlier administrations.  State Plans reflect details of each state's Medicaid program including coverage of optional eligibility groups and services.  For a link to Medicaid State Plans, click here.

Health Care Grants to Enroll Eligible American Indian/Alaska Native Children

On April 16, HHS and CMS announced the availability of $10 million in grant funding to 41 health programs operated by the Indian Health Service, tribes and tribal organizations, and urban Indian groups to improve outreach to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities to increase the enrollment of eligible, yet uninsured children in Medicaid or CHIP.  The grants are specifically for increasing the enrollment and retention of AI/AN children in these health programs from funding in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009.  For more details and a list of grantees, click here.

New HHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight

On April 19, HHS created the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, whose mission is to provide guidance on implementing private health insurance provisions of the new health reform law.  Divisions with the Office include an Office of Oversight, which will be responsible for rate reviews and implementing and monitoring compliance with new rules governing the insurance market and medical loss ratios; and an Office of Consumer Support, which will provide assistance to consumers to aid them in benefiting from the new health insurance system.  For additional information, click here for the Federal Register notice.

May 4, 2010 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 3, 2010

March-April Issue of Bifocal

>Attached is the April 2010 issue of Bifocal, Journal of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. Download Mar Apr 10 ABA Bifocal J

In this issue:

-A Decade of Partnerships in Law and Aging: A Retrospective of the Innovative Grant Program Aimed at Increasing Awareness and Access to Legal Services for Older Persons (by Jamie Philpotts)
-Comments Sought on Proposal Requiring Banks to Protect from Garnishment Social Security and Other Federal Retirement Income (by David Godfrey)
-Elder Justice Act Becomes Law, But Victory Is Only Partial (by Lori Stiegel)
-Partnerships Legacies Continue Helping Elders Today (by David Godfrey)
-The Brooke Astor Case: “An Appalling Set Of Circumstances” (Part 3 of an Interview with Alex Forger conducted by Lori Stiegel)
-Can the Development of Elder Law in the U.S. Work As a Model for the Israeli System? (by Carmit Shay)
-Plus, Recommended Reading: Everyday Law for Seniors (review by Jamie Philpotts) and Public Guardianship: In the Best Interests of Incapacitated People?

The ABA Commission on Law and Aging distributes Bifocal six times a year to elder bar section and committee officers and members, legal services providers, elder law and other private practitioners, judges, court staff, advocates, policymakers, law schools and elder law clinics, law libraries, and other professionals in the law and aging networks.

To subscribe or to submit news or a manuscript for consideration, e-mail Jamie Philpotts at Include the word "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject heading.

May 3, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Website addresses all things dying...

Courtesy Laurie Hanson, Long, Reher & Hanson,

Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Claude Peck recently wrote about Obit Magazine, an online forum addressing issues such as life, death, and transition - through obituaries, essays, book reviews, articles, and a blog. Peck claimed it was one of the best finds on the internet. Indeed, it is! As elder law attorneys, we deal with long-term, chronic illness and death on a daily basis. This magazine does, as well…but in an entertaining and educational way. This week there is a review of the book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me, authored by Bruce Feiler. After Feiler was diagnosed with a rare and virulent cancer, he appointed a Council of Dads, men from different stages of his life, to fill his role for his twin daughters, then five years old. This book is about the relationships his daughters have established with these men in the year he has been treated for the cancer and lessons learned. Check out the website and the article. I signed up to get email updates and have found the articles interesting and useful. The link to Obit Magazine is available at

May 1, 2010 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)