Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Importance of Guardianship Tracking Systems (and a related CLE Program!)

I've been a bit busier than usual lately and haven't felt I could take the time to Blog regularly even though I'm constantly seeing intriguing topics to discuss.  I'm buried in a manuscript with a looming deadline!  Fortunately, I'm seeing that Becky Morgan is keeping everyone updated and I've been benefiting from her regular reports.  I hope to get back to daily posts of my own by January.  

In the meantime, I can report on a smaller, interim task of  serving as a co-presenter for a half-day Continuing Legal Education program at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on  new developments in Guardianship Practice and Procedure on Friday, December 7.   Among the important developments, the Pennsylvania Courts is nearing completion on its statewide implementation of a Guardian Tracking System or GTS.  In 2014, the Supreme Court's Elder Law Task Force strongly recommended adoption of such a system, having determined just how little was actually known across the state about open guardian cases.  Implementation of the new system began with a pilot in Allegheny County in July 2018.  As of today, 60 counties are "live" in the system.  The remaining 7 counties are scheduled to be included by the end of this month.

With the help of the new tracking system, I learned that we currently have more than 14,000 active guardianships in Pennsylvania.

Key features of the GTS system include:

  • Automation:  a means of automatically running a process to check specific aspects of guardianship reports for missing information or other concerns;
  • Flagging:  when a concern is detected, the item is automatically flagged, allowing court personnel to review and respond to the potential problem;
  • State-wide Court Communications: providing the court system with a means of immediate and cost-effective state-wide communications whenever a judge in one case is alerted to suspicion of neglect or other improper conduct by a guardian; and
  • Alerts on Specific Guardians:  when an "alert" is triggered on a specific guardian in one case, the system will generate notices to all of the other courts in the state, alerting them to the potential need for action on that individual in their cases.  

Such a system required entirely new software, new reporting forms, and new court rules to make implementation effective.  We will be talking extensively about the new rules and forms on Friday.  The migration  from the older system of record-keeping imposes a huge learning curve on many involved in guardianship matters, including lawyers.

The need for better systems in Pennsylvania has been highlighted during the last year of controversies surrounding appointment of one particular individual as guardian for alleged incapacitated persons in three Pennsylvania counties.  She is accused of mismanaging cases, plus it turned out she had a criminal history for fraud in another state. 

See also the recent news reports about another Pennsylvania guardianship matter that asks the troubling question "Where's Grandma?" The  reporter on this case, Cherri Gregg, who also happens to be a lawyer, opines that everyone in the case, including the lawyer appointed as guardian, and the family members of the person subject to the guardianship, needed better education about their roles after the grandmother's own children passed away, as the grandmother became more vulnerable, and especially when it became necessary to place her in a nursing home.  

My special thanks to Karen Buck, Executive Director of the SeniorLAW Center in Philadelphia, and the good folks at Pennsylvania Courts' Office of Elder Justice for helping me with my part of the presentation for Friday!

December 5, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Call for Proposals-National Center for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Victims of Crime has released a call for proposals for its 2019 training institute. The website announcing the call for proposals explains:

The National Center is pleased to present the National Center for Victims of Crime 2019 National Training Institute. As in past years, this training will emphasize a multidisciplinary approach to sharing promising practices, current research, and effective programs and policies that are victim-centered, practice-based, and research-informed. Our National Training is a forum for law enforcement, victim service professionals, allied practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to share current developments and build new collaborations. Conference sessions will highlight practical information to better support services for the wide range of persons victimized by crimes of all types.

 Call for Workshop Proposals

The National Center for Victims of Crime is seeking presenters for its National Training Institute, to be held September 4-6, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. Workshops will address a wide range of topics organized into separate conference tracks. Workshops are scheduled for 90 minutes (1.5 hours) in length, unless otherwise specified in the proposal. Accepted presenters will be assigned day and presentation time by the Institute planning committee.

Click here  to submit a proposal.

November 8, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Disaster Recovery Resources

The National Consumer Law Center sent out an email listing resources for attorneys and others helping elders recover from natural disasters. The email described the situation:

Older adults living in communities hit by natural disasters disproportionately suffer emotional trauma and financial hardship after the event. Age-related changes, including decreases in mobility and cognitive abilities make it harder for older adults to navigate the recovery process and access resources to repair or rebuild their homes. Once the immediate danger has passed, older adults will need assistance from insurance, government, and nonprofit organizations or other aid agencies to rebuild their home and community support system. In the days and weeks after the disaster older adults are forced to deal with a wide variety of issues, including home repair, reconnecting utilities, and making payments, including mortgage, credit cards, and student loans. Unlike many others affected by disasters, older adults may have fewer private assets to aid in recovery making the process to rebuild financially more difficult. Here are some resources the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has compiled to help guide advocates in advising older adults.

The Disaster Relief & Consumer Protection Project  offers information and resources in several categories. For individuals who are older, the resources address the following:

November 1, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink

Monday, October 29, 2018

Elder Justice Coordinating Council-Save the Date

The next meeting for the Elder Justice Coordinating Council is December 6, 2018. The EJCC was created as part of the Elder Justice Act and is intended 

to coordinate activities related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the federal government. The Elder Justice Coordinating Council is directed by the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary serves as the Chair of the Council. The HHS Secretary has assigned responsibility for implementing the Coordinating Council to the Administration on Aging (AoA) within ACL. AoA has long been engaged in efforts to protect older individuals from elder abuse including financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Through the Older Americans Act, AoA endeavors preserve the rights of older people and protect those who may not be able to protect themselves.

The final 2018 meeting is set for December 6, 2018 from 9:30-noon. You can register here to attend.  It will also be live streamed.

October 29, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Students Attend Annual Meetings for LeadingAge and NaCCRA

Law students from Penn State's Dickinson Law attended sessions hosted by LeadingAge and National Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) on October 28 in Philadelphia.  It was my pleasure to share this experience with students.  I see these opportunities as a great way to think about the wider world of business and law opportunities, and to consider how law and aging can intersect.  

In the morning, we heard from A.V. Powell about best practices for actuarial evaluations  to  Dickinson Law Student Mark Lingousky and Parker Life CEO Roberto Muniz promote greater understanding of financial issues for continuing care and life plan communities across the country.  At lunch we met Parker Life's CEO Roberto Muñiz, shown here on the right with Dickinson Law student Mark Lingousky, and discussed Roberto's ongoing projects such as working to established coordinated care options not just in Parker's center of operations in New Jersey, but also in Roberto's family home in Puerto Rico.  

After lunch we attended a LeadingAge educational program on "Legal Perspectives on Provider Operational Issues," presented by four attorneys from around the country.  Afterwards the students commented that they were surprised by how many of the topics had come up in one of Dickinson Law's unique 1L courses, on Problem Solving and Lawyering Skills.  It is great to see such correspondence between real life and law school life.  Of particular interest was hearing how residential communities are coping with issues connected to legalization of marijuana, including medical marijuana and so-called recreational marijuana, both from the context of resident use and potential use by employees.  

On the drive home from Philadelphia, I had the chance to debrief with the students about what most interested them at the conferences.  They quickly said they appreciated the opportunity to talk with engaged seniors about what matters concerned them.  Indeed, after the attorneys leading the afternoon program took a quick poll at the outset to ask how many of the members of the audience were attorneys (outside or inside counsel), operational staff, or board members, one student leaned into me and said, "They forgot to ask how many people in the audience were residents or consumers of their services!"  

Music to our ears, right Jack Cumming?  

October 29, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, International, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, Property Management | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sign of the Times: CLE on Long Term Care Planning for Blended (and not so blended) Families

A notice about an upcoming continuing legal education program struck me as an apt sign of the times in elder law planning.   The Pennsylvania Bar Institute explains:  

Many clients are members of "modern family" structures. Our experienced faculty — with different legal perspectives — will explore the issues and opportunities available when planning for the long term care needs of clients in blended and non-traditional families. At the intersection of family law and elder law, they will examine various techniques, including long term care planning for clients with children from previous marriages and planning for unmarried partners. 


Receive practical guidance on counseling clients
        • Representation and conflict issues
        • Information gathering tips


Examine issues at the intersection of family law and elder law
        • Pre and post nuptial agreements
        • Marriage
        • Divorce
        • Cohabitation agreements
        • Gifts to divorced or separated children, alimony & child support issues


Explore long term care planning tools and techniques
    • To marry or not to marry for long-term care
    • Use of irrevocable trusts
    • High assets/income: private pay, life insurance, and long term care insurance
    • Spousal refusal
    • Transfers by the community spouse after Medicaid eligibility
    • To gift or not to gift: single individual vs. community spouse

For more, see Long Term Care Planning for Blended and Non-traditional Families, scheduled for first airing on November 27, 2018.  

October 24, 2018 in Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Legislative Update on Guardianship Reform and Other Bills in Pennsylvania

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.  

October 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs, Retirement, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Aging, Law and Society CRN Call for Papers in Advance of 2019 Annual Meeting in D.C.

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

Call for Papers: Elder Law Review E-Journal Solicits for Special Issue on Relational Autonomy

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.  

September 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Grant Deadlines/Awards, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Call for Papers: 3rd Annual Health Law Works-in-Progress Retreat To Be Hosted by Seton Hall Law

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.

September 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stetson's 20th Annual SNT Planning Conference

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!

September 11, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Programs/CLEs | Permalink

Sunday, September 9, 2018

ECHO MOLST

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 .

September 9, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Webinar-Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

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

Webinar-When is Consent Consent?

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!

August 12, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Webinar-Defending an Eviction Case for Older Tenants

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.

August 8, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Housing, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink

Monday, August 6, 2018

Two Upcoming Elder Abuse Webinars

The Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative has announced an Office of Victims of Crimes webinar on MDT Cross-Training: Prosecutors and MDTs, scheduled for August 2, 2018 at 2 edt.

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.

August 6, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pennsylvania Adopts Emeritus Status for Retired Attorneys to do Pro Bono Work

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.  

 

July 26, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What is the Best Way to Measure Appropriate Use of POLST Forms?

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

Register Now-Webinar-Elder Homicides

The Elder Justice Initiative at the DOJ has announced a new webinar on July 13, 2018. Here's the information about the webinar:

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

 

 

June 20, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 1, 2018

2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Webinar

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

June 1, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, International, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)