Thursday, April 15, 2021
The elder justice legislation found in this document was elicited and finalized from the National
Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) Listserv and independent websites in February 2021. The
compilation is intended to reflect highlights across the nation and does not include all legislation related to elder justice. However, updates will be sent biannually and states are encouraged to send updates on significant legislative action to Ageless Alliance. This document reflects activity in 15 states and highlights at the federal level.
In addition to summaries by state, the highlights include links to the individual legislation.
Oh and btw, mark your calendars now for the 2021 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2021.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
First, have you read this article from the New York Times? Maggots, Rape and Yet Five Stars: How U.S. Ratings of Nursing Homes Mislead the Public
Twelve years ago, the U.S. government introduced a powerful new tool to help people make a wrenching decision: which nursing home to choose for loved ones at their most vulnerable. Using a simple star rating — one being the worst, five the best — the system promised to distill reams of information and transform an emotional process into one based on objective, government-blessed metrics.
The star system quickly became ubiquitous, a popular way for consumers to educate themselves and for nursing homes to attract new customers. During the coronavirus pandemic, with many locked-down homes unavailable for prospective residents or their families to see firsthand, the ratings seemed indispensable.
But a New York Times investigation, based on the most comprehensive analysis of the data that powers the ratings program, found that it is broken.
Then, a couple days later, another article from the New York Times, this time about California, California Sues Nursing Home Chain, Saying It Manipulated Ratings System
California prosecutors sued the country’s largest chain of senior living communities on Monday, accusing the company, Brookdale Senior Living, of manipulating the federal government’s nursing-home ratings system.
* * *
The lawsuit is among the first of its kind to accuse nursing homes of submitting false information to Medicare’s ratings program. The system assigns stars — one being the worst, five being the best — to the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes.
Health News Florida explained that COVID Cases Plummet 83% Among Nursing Home Staffers Despite Vaccine Hesitancy, "Federal records show a steep decline in staff cases since December, when health care workers at thousands of nursing homes began getting their shots. Still, many are reluctant to get vaccinated."
Then, this New York Times article from Canada, Elderly, Vaccinated and Still Lonely and Locked Inside
Long-term care homes, as they are called in Canada, were prioritized for the first precious doses of vaccines, to few objections — they were ground zero for the pandemic’s cruel ravage. Around 66 percent of the country’s terminal Covid-19 victims lived in nursing homes, among the highest rates in the world.
But while the vaccines have given the majority of nursing-home residents protection from death by the virus, so far they have not offered more life....
March 24, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, International | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
DOJ's Elder Justice Initiative is offering this webinar, Tackling Transnational Robocall Scams: The Importance of State and Federal Partnerships on April 13 at 2 eastern time. Here's info about the webinar
Consumers report losing approximately $500 million per year to phone scams. Phone scammers often impersonate government officials, such as officials with the Social Security Administration, FBI, IRS, and local law enforcement entities. This webinar will discuss what the scams are and how they work. It will delve into local and state law enforcement’s vital role in the fight against these scams. It will also describe investigative techniques that state and local law enforcement can use in the fight against transnational scammers. Finally, it will touch upon public education tools that can help community members protect themselves from scammers.
Jolee Porter, Assistant US Attorney, Northern District of Georgia, currently detailed to the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force at the US DOJ Consumer Protection Branch
Senior Special Agent Jon Heslep, Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration
Detective Margaret Moore, Aiken Department of Public Safety, South Carolina
To register, click here.
Friday, March 19, 2021
Educate yourself on the various scams, how they work and how to protect yourself by listening to these 7 podcasts from the New York Times. 7 Podcasts About the Art of the Scam "delve deeper into scam stories you may already know from the headlines ... and also illuminate some less familiar, like the extraordinary saga of how thousands of people were conned into blowing their life savings on a plot of worthless land in California."
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Check out this new factsheet from the National Center on Elder Abuse, Role of Guardian Standards
in Addressing Elder Abuse. This five page fact sheet answers 16 wide-ranging FAQs and includes resources both within some of the FAQs and at the end of the fact sheet. It's worth checking out!
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Register now for two upcoming webinars.
1. Webinar: Financial Protection for Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic set for Feb 23, 2021 at 1 eastern.
Join experts from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and ACL on Tuesday, February 23 at 1 pm ET for a free webinar on financial protection of older adults during the COVID pandemic. The FCC will begin the program with an overview of coronavirus-related phone scams targeting older adults. The CFPB will share resources to help older adults address the financial impact of the pandemic. HHS will conclude the webinar with a discussion of the role of the aging services network.
Click on FCC live link to join the webinar on Feb 23 at 1 eastern.
2. A series of 3 webinars from the DOJ Elder Justice Initiative;
- March 4th 2pm EST | Programs for Older Adults Who Have Experienced Financial Exploitation. Learn about three distinct programs designed specifically for older adults who have experienced financial exploitation. Register here.
March 23rd 2pm EST | The Path Forward: One MDT’s Journey to Address the Impact of Racial Injustice on Their Work. The Hennepin County Minnesota Adult Protection/Law Enforcement Multi-Disciplinary Team “MDT” provides a model case study of the impact of racial injustice on their work as an elder abuse MDT in Minneapolis. Register here.
April 13th 2pm EST | Tackling Transnational Robocall Scams: The Importance of State and Federal Partnerships Features a Federal and State partnership that successfully fought against computerized autodialing “robocall” scammers. Register here
February 18, 2021 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
In case you missed these, here are two recently released resources on fighting elder abuse. The latest elder abuse roll call video is on an elder abuse guide for law enforcement interviewing older adults. It is part of a series of roll call videos. all of which are available here.
As well, there is an update to a toolkit, Supports and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention (STEAP) Initiative Toolkit Updates. The updated toolkit can be accessed here.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Mark your calendars now for this important webinar, Advancing Guardianship Reform through Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) on Feb. 9, 2021 at 2 eastern.
Improvements to state adult guardianship systems can include the promotion of less restrictive options, strengthening rights, and ensuring accountability. To make real changes in law and practice requires the collaboration of courts with stakeholders in the legal, aging, and disability communities. Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) or similar collaborative entities in many states have begun to forge positive changes.
The 2020 American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging WINGS Briefing Paper makes key findings and recommendations about the effectiveness of WINGS and the need for their long-term, systemic support. This webinar will highlight the WINGS Briefing Paper findings and recommendations, and summarize guardianship reform obstacles and efforts and the development of WINGS. Presenters will also offer tips to establish or enhance WINGS in your state.
Click here to register.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
A new GAO report was released last week. ELDER JUSTICE: HHS Could Do More to Encourage State Reporting on the Costs of Financial Exploitation offers fast facts, highlights and the report, all available for download or access via the links. Here are the fast facts:
Financial exploitation of elders—illegal use of their funds or property—affects the victims, their families, and society. Estimated financial costs to victims are in the billions.
Most state-run adult protective services agencies have provided some data on financial exploitation of elders to the Department of Health and Human Services. But it's hard to collect the data because
not all incidents of exploitation are reported to state agencies
victims can be reluctant to implicate family members or caregivers
HHS and state data systems may not align
We recommended that HHS work with state agencies to improve the data on financial exploitation.
Consider this from the report:
Studies estimate some of the costs of financial exploitation to be in the billions,
but comprehensive data on total costs do not exist and NAMRS [National Adult Mistreatment Reporting System] does not currently collect cost data from APS agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found actual losses and attempts at elder financial exploitation
reported by financial institutions nationwide were $1.7 billion in 2017. Also, studies published from 2016 to 2020 from three states—New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—estimated the costs of financial exploitation could be more than $1 billion in each state alone. HHS does not currently ask states to submit cost data from APS casefiles to NAMRS, though officials said they have begun to reevaluate NAMRS with state APS agencies and other interested parties, including researchers, and may consider asking states to submit cost
data moving forward. Adding cost data to NAMRS could make a valuable contribution to the national picture of the cost of financial exploitation. Recognizing the importance of these data, some APS officials GAO interviewed said their states have developed new data fields or other tools to help caseworkers collect and track cost data more systematically. HHS officials said they plan to share this information with other states to make them aware of practices that could help them collect cost data, but they have not established a timeframe for doing so.
January 28, 2021 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
A DOJ press released announced that a Home Health Aide [has been] Charged in Twenty-Two Count Indictment for Stealing Elderly Clients’ Identity, Banking, and Credit Card Information and Using it to Commit Financial Fraud.
According to allegations contained in the indictment and previously filed criminal complaint, for over a year starting in January 2019, Cofer worked as a home health aide servicing senior citizens in the South Florida community. During that time, Cofer gained access to her elderly clients’ social security numbers, dates of birth, bank accounts, credit cards, and other information. Without the knowledge or consent of these elderly clients, Cofer allegedly used the information to steal money from bank accounts, open unauthorized credit card accounts, deposit unauthorized checks, make herself an authorized user on credit accounts, make unauthorized purchases of items such as a mannequin head and wig stand, pay her mobile phone, insurance, and other bills, and send money to a prison inmate, among other things.
The press release notes that additional information, including "court documents and information" here www.flsd.uscourts.gov. Use case #s 20-MJ-8273 and 21-CR-80003-Middlebrooks.
Monday, January 11, 2021
The American Bar Association Commission on Law & Aging has released its 2020 summary of guardianship legislation. The summary, Directions of Reform: 2020 Adult Guardianship Legislation Summary, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging is available .here.
The summary is divided into the following: pre-adjudication issues, multi-jurisdictional issues, guardian selection, guardian actions, fees, rights of the individual, capacity matters, guardian & fiduciary misconduct, and post-adjudication/monitoring matters. The summary includes a chart at the end for a quick reference. The link to the archives for prior year summaries is available here.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Mark your calendars for January 21, 2021 at 2 p.m. eastern for a webinar on Elder Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Remediation from the National Center on Law and Elder Rights.
Everyone who works with older adults has a role to play in prevention, intervention, and remediation of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Helping starts with understanding the landscape of elder abuse and the service providers and systems involved in addressing abuse. This legal basics training will provide an overview of the fundamentals of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and the signs and signals of abuse that attendees can reference in their daily lives and work.
At the end of this training, participants will be able to:
- Describe the three stages of responses to abuse
- Apply basic definitions of abuse, neglect, and exploitation
- Identify risk factors or signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- Identify the differences between undue influence, exploitation, and fraud
- Describe added risks in a time of COVID-19
To register, click here.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Although in truth, there is no "season" for scammers. They operate year round. The only thing that changes is the scam. The Washington Post a few weeks ago highlighted this with the following story, A professor thought he was sending money to help federal officials catch human traffickers. It was a scam.
The story seemed hard to believe, but whatever doubts the professor said he harbored melted away as the purported agent unspooled detail after detail of the man’s life. He knew his Social Security number. He listed properties the man had purchased 20 years ago and knew the banks he used.
** *Government impersonation scams are an exploding category of crime with losses increasing tenfold from $12.5 million in 2017 to $124 million in 2019, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The FBI, U.S. Marshals, IRS and police departments nationwide have reported issues in recent years, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been one of the hardest hit.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
GeriPal, a geriatrics and palliative care blog, has released a podcast, Guardianship and End-of-Life Decision Making: A Podcast with Andy Cohen and Liz Dzeng, discussing a recent study led by Dr. Cohen.
The big surprise finding of this study was veterans who were nursing home residents aged 65 and older with moderate to severe dementia and who had a professional guardian were no more likely to receive high‐intensity treatments than the same population who died with decision makers who were not professional guardians. We talk to Andy about his study, potential reasons behind the study, and what, if anything, we should do differently knowing these results. We also talk to Liz about whether substituted judgement is really all that it’s cracked up to be.
The article, Guardianship and End‐of‐Life Care for Veterans with Dementia in Nursing Homes and editorial, We Need a Paradigm Shift Around End‐of‐Life Decision Making, are available here and here.
December 20, 2020 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, December 14, 2020
On Thursday, December 17, 2020, for a webinar through the National Center for State Courts Elders and Courts. The webinar covers "a new web-based interactive tool: the Judicial Response Protocol for Guardianship and Conservatorship abuses (http://www.eldersandcourts.org/guardianship_conservatorship/guardianship-conservatorship-resources-for-courts/responses-to-allegations-of-wrongdoing). This webinar will be helpful for judges and for court staff. This project was developed with the support of the State Justice Institute..'
To register, click here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EuKscJoASJaNSY4hJs2jlg
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Last week I tweeted a link to an article from the AP about poor care in SNFs that wasn't due to COVID, Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care wrote a response; and their full statement is available here.
Consumer Voice has heard from hundreds of families whose loved ones have been harmed by neglect. Family members report that many residents have experienced significant physical decline, such as losing their ability to move, or sit up or stand up without assistance. Others no longer talk because almost no one has spoken to them since March. There are residents who have not been bathed nor had their teeth brushed for months, and residents who have been confined to their rooms -while missing their eyeglasses and hearing aids. One resident sat in her room with a fractured hip for a month – the result of a fall and lack of medical attention, despite complaints of pain for weeks. Weight loss, bed sores, infections, and cognitive decline are ravaging nursing home residents. Much of this suffering could have been prevented.
The statement called on Congress for changes, including '"[ensuring] adequate numbers of well-trained and well-compensated staff. ... [and] [opposition of] any kind of immunity from civil liability for nursing homes" They also called on CMS to "[i]ncrease oversight of resident care ... [and] [r]equire facilities to permit family to conduct compassionate care visits."
November 24, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, November 20, 2020
The ABA Commission on Law & Aging released recently this paper, WINGS Briefing Paper
Advancing Guardianship Reform and Promoting Less Restrictive . Here are some highlights from the report.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded a grant to the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging (ABA Commission) to establish, expand or enhance state Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS)…
This briefing paper discusses the ABA Commission’s WINGS Project, its results, and its potential for positive changes. Specifically, it (1) describes the challenges of adult guardianship reform and the rationale for creating WINGS; (2) presents project findings and conclusions about WINGS; (3) discusses the potential for applying the CIP model to the adult guardianship system; and (4) makes recommendations for next steps in federal policy.
The ACL funding was awarded with the goal of testing whether WINGS is an approach that can advance guardianship reform to:
(a) avoid unnecessary and overbroad guardianship when less restrictive options are available, promoting self-determination; and
(b) prevent, detect and address abuses in the guardianship system.
* * *
While the project WINGS, and indeed all state WINGS, have advanced adult guardianship reform, their modestly funded efforts are not enough to significantly improve outcomes for adults subject to, or potentially subject to, guardianship… Programs like WINGS should exist in every state under a national infrastructure with consistent, ongoing technical assistance and support… [T]he Commission on Law and Aging offers the following … Recommendations:
- Recommendations for Federal Policy
ACL, in coordination with other federal entities, should provide funding to support the following recommendations:
- Support WINGS Through Systems Change Grants
- Administer a five-year WINGS systems change grant initiative.
- Include programmatic requirements for monitoring guardians.
- Create a WINGS capacity-building/technical assistance entity.
- Support local or regional WINGS.
- Take Steps Toward Establishment of a Guardianship Court Improvement Program
Plan for establishment and implementation of a Guardianship Court Improvement Program. Pilot the program and support a capacity-building center.
• Secure federal legislation with appropriations to implement and sustain a Guardianship Court Improvement Program.
The full report is available here.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I love the Marvel movies and always enjeoyed seeing the cameos of Stan Lee in the movies. I'd heard stories about the last few years of his life.
The Last Days of Stan Lee: A heartbreaking tragedy about the (alleged) abuse of the Marvel Comics creator by those who swear they loved him opens with the telling of a video of Mr. Lee filmed at a Comic Con, followed a few days later by a story in another publication. The article notes that almost 2 years after Mr. Lee's death, there are many unanswered questions and several cases pending in courts:
[A] half-dozen civil suits are pending and a criminal elder-abuse prosecution by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office remains mired in pretrial maneuverings. The courts have yet to shed light on many of the details and the veracity of the elder-abuse charges against several people. Elder-abuse cases are difficult to bring to trial, tough to litigate and hard to win. Was Stan Lee, like 1 in 10 Americans over age 60, a true victim of elder abuse, which can include physical violence, emotional torment, financial exploitation and willful deprivation? Plenty of evidence and testimony suggests that may be true.
The article details the decades of his career and his personal life. The article focuses on Mr. Lee's relationship with those close to him, including his daughter.. As the story wraps up, the writer tells us
THE LAWSUITS churn through the system. Delays give way to delays, and the accused sit mostly at home like the rest of us this year. As with so many elder-abuse cases, those involving the Lee estate will likely come down to “he said, she said.” Except, in this situation, there’s a three-ring circus of barkers and performers who may not have had Lee’s best interest at heart, in a charade that went on for years. Call it the long con, but “those types of relationships are much more difficult to pinpoint as being perpetrators,” said elder-abuse prosecutor Paul Greenwood. “I always say that the longer the victim and suspect have known each other, the more difficult it becomes to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that undue influence was exerted over that person, because sometimes loyalty is rewarded.”
In a less lawyerly explanation, the villain in this story is love. Abuse of the elderly routinely cloaks itself in love, which is, in many cases, returned by the victim. The perpetrators might even call love their motivation.
It will be a while before we know the full story (if ever). Stay tuned.
November 19, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, November 2, 2020
The National Center for Law & Elder Rights is offering a free webinar on November 10, 2020 at 2 eastern on Representing a Person with a Guardian. Here's the info about the webinar
Attorneys, including legal services attorneys, should be open to representing individuals under guardianship. When representing a person with a guardian, an attorney may need to take extra steps to ensure their client has the right to counsel of their choice, and be a strong advocate to ensure that the proceedings are treated with dignity and the client’s due process rights are upheld. By using procedural and evidentiary tools—including alternatives to guardianship—advocates can increase clients’ independence and autonomy and restore their civil rights.
In this training, presenters will share:
Considerations for representing a legally incapacitated client;
Strategies for advocating for clients’ rights;
Standards and burdens for modifying or terminating guardianship; and
Information on requesting reasonable accommodations.
To register for the webinar, click here
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Alliance for Caregiving are offering a free webinar on Tuesday, October 20 at 2 p.m. eastern on Tools for Financial Caregivers of Older Adults.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) will provide a free webinar on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 2-3 pm ET. NAC will share findings from its joint study with AARP on caregiving, including ways financial strain can affect caregivers and older adults. The CFPB will share free resources for financial caregivers of older adults, with an emphasis on tips and tools that can be used during the Pandemic to manage someone else’s money.
Gabriela Prudencio – National Alliance for Caregiving
Lisa Weintraub Schifferle – CFPB, Office for Older Americans
Kate Kramer – CFPB, Office for Older Americans