ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Baby Boomer's Guide to Nursing Home Care

Many Baby Boomers are confronted with helping their elderly parents arrange and pay for nursing home care; however few Boomers know much about nursing homes.

Where can they turn to quickly obtain unbiased and plain English information? The National Senior Citizens Law Center, (www.nsclc.org) recently published The Baby Boomer's Guide to Nursing Home Care (the "Guide"). The authors, Eric M. Carlson and Katherine Bau Hsiao, are nationally recognized experts on nursing homes.

The Guide contains nine chapters
covering the following subjects:

• Eldercare options including in home care, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes;

• Choosing a nursing home;

• Paying for nursing home care including Medicare and Medicaid;

• Admission process and agreements;

• Moving In: transition and safeguarding resident property;

• Quality of care including care plans and no discrimination against Medicaid eligible residents;

• Health care decision making including health care directives;

• Eviction rules and bed hold policies; and

• Resolving problems.

The Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm decided to put the Guide to three tests. The first test was the frequently asked question about whether a nursing home can discriminate against Medicaid eligible applicants or residents. The Guide correctly states that nursing homes have the discretion to admit or reject applicants. Medicaid reimbursements account for about 60% of total nursing home revenue, and 94% of nursing homes are certified to accept Medicaid applicants. The Medicaid rate is the lowest reimbursement rate, and, as the Guide points out, nursing homes may admit private payment residents before Medicaid residents. The Guide also correctly states that, once admitted, all residents are entitled to the same quality of care and the same staff attention regardless of how their bills are paid.

The second test was to research a client question concerning the right of a son to visit his mother in a nursing home outside of normal visiting hours. The Guide correctly states that a resident's family member must generally be allowed to visit the resident at any time, assuming that the resident wishes to be visited by the family member at that time.

The third test is a question posed at a recent ALI-ABA elder law conference. May a nursing home discharge for non-payment a resident who has spent down the resident's funds and has a pending Medicaid application? The Guide does not have the answer, but the author, Eric Carlson, e-mailed the answer. The federal government's State Medicaid Manual, in appendix PP, states: "A resident cannot be transferred for non-payment if he or she has submitted to a third party payor all the paperwork necessary for the bill to be paid. Non-payment would occur if a third party payor, including Medicare or Medicaid, denies the claim and the resident refused to pay for his or her stay."

The Guide correctly answered two of The Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm's three test questions, and the Guide's author supplied the answer to the third question. The Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm recommends the Guide for Baby Boomers with family members requiring nursing home care; however, the Guide can also be a useful reference for elder law attorneys, social workers, nursing home staff, and discharge planners.

At 191 pages, the Guide is relatively short, and it is written in plain English question-and-answer format with practical advice concerning frequently asked questions and problem areas. The price of the Guide is $13.45, and it can be ordered at www.nsclc.org/publications/manuals.

Pooled Trust Update

There is a pooled trust in the District of Columbia, the Wesley Vinner Memorial Trust, operated by Shared Horizons, Executive Director, Yolanda Mazyck, 5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20015 202-448-1460, www.shared-horizons.org.

Speakers

If you are interested in having an Elder Law attorney from The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. speak at an event, then please call us at:

Maryland (301) 214-2229
Virginia (703) 243-3200
Washington DC (202) 223-0270

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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