Saturday, March 10, 2012

YouTube: Elder Exploitation

Elder Exploitation by Cesar Lebel

Judge Sets Bail in Alleged Death of Incapacitated Adult by Caregiver

Judge Thomas Keadle arraigned a Lewis County woman accused of one count of death of an incapacitated adult by a caregiver.

Judge Keadle set Burkhart's bail for $25,000.

Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Morris asked for a $50,000 bail but Burkhart's attorney disputed it because she has a child in middle school and said she couldn't afford $50,0000.

Angela Burkhart is the mother of Cory Burkhart, 19, who had Down syndrome and was killed a year ago.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Keadle Sets Bail for Angela Burkhart

An Important Message Regarding Your Rights

This message and the story that goes with it is a cautionary tale about Health Care "rights" in general and the needs of our elderly kin in particular. It actually reads ""An Important Message Regarding Your Medicare Rights." The discovery of this message came when my father was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia over a year ago, (or rather, a few weeks later.) One would hope that importance would be attributed to the knowing an individual themselves upon a hospital admission, rather than having a systemic eye assessing them as another stereotypical elder.

However, if the person has the term "dementia" in their chart, you can't necessarily count on staff noticing or making differentiations regarding how confused the person actually is, or how oriented they are normally. They may just assume that disorientation in the hospital may be the way the person is, when it actually can be a sign of something more serious. This prejudice may especially be true if the person is coming from a nursing home, and has the aforementioned label in their paperwork.

If you are like me, you may be trying to be a caregiver from afar - helping your elderly relative from another state. And if you are also like me, in order to preserve your own life and job, there may come a time after repeated hospitalizations, that you may have to choose depending upon circumstances whether to come immediately each time your relative goes to the hospital.

The ideal situation would be that there would be someone there who could be a support, and yes be a watchdog, every step of the way, particularly if your relative has memory problems. (My father has short term memory problems but can become very confused with a hospitalization.)

Full Article and Source:
An Important Message Regarding Your Rights

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

‎"Animals help patients keep their mind off their problems," says Jean S. Uehl, the director of nurses. "The love the patients get from the animals is unconditional."

One particular stroke patient was withdrawn and rarely smiled, until she began to play with the resident cat. The patient and the cat became closely bonded to each other, and when the cat had kittens, "they became like the patient’s babies," according to Uehl. The kittens played and slept on a tray on the resident’s wheelchair and slept in a chair near her bed whenever they could. The kittens brought the resident out of her shell and she began to talk and smile.

"The kittens in particular get all the residents’ attention," says Uehl. "Everyone always wants to know where they’re at and what they’re doing." When there are kittens in the building, a number of residents stay busy all day, following them, playing with them, and keeping an eye on them. ~ From

Consider taking your pet to visit residents at a nursing home or an elderly neighbor. They do NOT have to be registered therapy animals. Call your local nursing homes and ask about their policies. Usually only updated shots are required for your pet.

Don't have a pet? Go hold a residents hand instead. ♥

Facebook: The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

Oregon Bills Protecting Seniors From Abuse Approved by Senate

The Oregon Senate backed a bill this [3/1/12] that will make major changes to Oregon law with respect to elder abuse, creating critical new protections for Oregon’s most vulnerable seniors. House Bill 4084 integrates several recommendations from a work group on elder abuse created in 2011 including increasing the statute of limitation for crimes against the elderly, modifying records disclosure laws to make sure law enforcement can investigate allegations of abuse, and creating a council to review reporting of abuse to determine root causes of abuse and how abuse can be prevented.

“In a time when criminals are creating new opportunities to prey on vulnerable victims, this legislation will arm law enforcement, financial institutions, medical providers, and the agencies charged with protecting Oregon’s elderly with the tools to prevent abuse,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), a member of the task force that developed HB 4084.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, state and local offices investigate more than 11,000 complaints of elder abuse or neglect each year. Oregon’s Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act defines an elderly person as any person 65 years of age or older.

“Our seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and we have an obligation to look out for those who are least able to care for themselves,” said Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-NW Portland/Washington Co.), a practicing physician. “Many vulnerable seniors depend on assistance from others to take care of their basic needs. While the vast majority of these caretakers do admirable and compassionate work, there must be a system of accountability for those bad actors that take advantage of the most vulnerable.”

Full Article and Source:
Bills Protecting Vulnerable Seniors From Abuse Approved by Senate

Britney Spears' Beverly Park House Headed For Probate Sale

You probably best remember this house as the one that police helicopters circled and cops guarded when Britney Spears was carted off to rehab in a $25,000 taxpayer-sponsored rescue. If that wasn't enough to cause neighbors to drop their membership in the Britney Spears' fan club, news that the mansion that Britney paid $6.75 million for in 2007 has come back on the market -- at a lowly $2.995 million -- surely will. "Ouch" cry the area comps in pain.

Britney Spears' Beverly Park House Headed For Probate Sale

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Video: "Outrageous Payments to William D. Mahoney, Esq."

YouTube: OC Public Guardians Bill Excessively and Abuse 90 yo Mom.

Law Student Pro Bono Award Winner

Salima Burke, a member of the class of 2012 at the University of Virginia School of Law, is the winner of the 2012 Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

The award, named for a late Virginia civil rights litigator, recognizes a law student's commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and other public service. It is bestowed by the VSB Committee on Access to Legal Services.

While a full-time law student, Ms. Burke still contributed more than 480 hours of pro bono work. She has volunteered with the Musawah Islamic Law Project, Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates, Catholic Charities Community Services' Department of Immigration Services, the Language Access Court Monitoring Project at the Legal Aid Justice Center, Wills for Seniors, and the Elder Advocacy and Housing Clinics at the Legal Aid Justice Center.

Full Article and Source:
Bedford Resident Named Law Student Pro Bono Award Winner

FL Woman Going to Prison for Cheating Man With Alzheimer's

The former caretaker for an 83-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease was sentenced Wednesday to 8 1/2 years in prison after admitting she had duped him out of $10,000.

Brenda Caillier, 40, used the man’s debit card for $10,000 in purchases for herself.

Caillier, who pleaded guilty before Circuit Judge Leo Zappa to financial exploitation of the elderly, has seven prostitution convictions dating back to 1992, as well as convictions for criminal trespass to state land, forgery and theft.

Full Article and Source:
Woman Going to Prison for Cheating Man With Alzheimer's

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Questions Surround State Agency in Wake of Autistic Man's Death

Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy and mental retardation. In California, some of the most severely disabled are cared for at several state-run facilities with around-the-clock supervision.

But while the state spends about $300,000 a year on each patient, an investigation by Eyewitness News media partner California Watch has uncovered a pattern of abuse and neglect at the centers and a failure to hold staff and administrators accountable.

When he was a child, Van Ingraham was diagnosed with mental retardation and severe autism. As he grew older, his family found they could not cope with his disabilities.

"It became very clear that he was not going to be able to ever talk or function on his own, in society," said Larry Ingraham.

The Ingrahams turned to Fairview Developmental Center in Orange County. It's one of five state-run institutions in California for those with severe developmental disabilities, serving roughly 2,000 patients who need full-time supervision and care.

"We would go up and visit and Van seemed happy there," said Larry.

But one day in 2007, Larry Ingraham, a retired police officer, got a call that his brother Van had been rushed to the hospital.

"He was in ICU, intensive care, Hoag Memorial Hospital," said Larry. "I've seen a lot of bad sights in my life, but this is one of the worst."

The staff at Fairview Developmental Center said Van had simply fallen out of bed. But a neurosurgeon at the hospital said Van's injury was no accident.

"They said either your brother was bodysurfing at The Wedge in Huntington Beach and had a severe impact into the sand with a large wave, or somebody did this to your brother," said Larry.

Van Ingraham died as result of his injuries.

If Van had been an ordinary citizen, his death would likely have been investigated by local police. But California's developmental centers have their own in-house police force, hired by the same administrators who run the centers. In Van's case, those in-house police waited five days before interviewing potential suspects.

Full Article and Source:
Questions Surround State Agency in Wake of Autistic Man's Death

MN: Voter Eligibility for Guardianship Wards

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) sponsors HF2188 that would clarify voting rights with regard to those under guardianship. She said the goal is to ensure that individuals who are not competent to vote are denied eligibility, while competent individuals aren’t denied.

The impetus for the bill stems from a 2010 incident in Crow Wing County in which a group of mentally disabled adults were allegedly manipulated into voting by their caregivers. The father of one of the affected individuals claims in an affidavit that his son is not mentally competent to vote and thus should have been denied.

Under a 2003 law, individuals under guardianship are presumed to be eligible to vote unless a court declares them otherwise. Kiffmeyer’s bill would reverse this by delineating between individuals under “limited guardianship,” who would be presumed to be eligible, and those under regular guardianship, who would be presumed to be ineligible.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the bill and referred it to the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd) sponsors the companion, SF1753, which awaits action by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.

Full Article and Source:
Voter Eligiblility for Individuals Under Guardianship

Lawyer Pleads No Contest to Felony Grand Theft

A Pismo Beach lawyer pleaded no contest to felony grand theft by embezzlement and is scheduled for sentencing in May.

William Peter Terhune II, 57, entered the plea before San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbara, who set sentencing for 8:30 a.m. May 10 in Department 2.

San Luis Obispo police began investigating Terhune’s law practice in 2010 after receiving reports he misappropriated funds from estates his office was administering.

Terhune, who specialized in estate planning, wills, probate, conservatorships and public benefits planning, subsequently was arrested for allegedly embezzling $275,000 from a single client.

Terhune initially pleaded not guilty to the charges before changing his plea this week.

Full Article and Source:
Pismo Lawyer Pleads No Contest to Embezzlement

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Questions Surround Ex-Conservator's Cases

Attorney Zondra Hutto was assigned to be a conservator to hundreds of cases in Tuscaloosa County since 2005. She retired from the practice of law last year when allegations arose that a staff member used more than $20,000 of an elderly woman's money to buy gas, clothing, a designer purse and a trip to Mexico for himself and Hutto. She is now serving a three-month federal prison term for knowing about but not reporting the felony.

Zondra Hutto retired from the practice of law last year when allegations arose that a staff member used more than $20,000 of an elderly woman's money to buy gas, clothing, a designer purse and a trip to Mexico for himself and Hutto. She is now serving a three-month federal prison term for knowing about but not reporting the felony.

Full Article and Source:
Questions Surround Ex=Conservator's Cases

Judge Delays Extra Damages Hearing

A judge's decision on a punitive damages hearing and its defendants will wait until later this week in the estate recovery case of Tupeloan Florence Aldridge.

Late this morning, Chancellor Mike Malski heard agreement from all sides' attorneys that he should decide whether state Rep. Brian Aldridge will be brought back into the matter as it relates to punitive damages.

Brian's aunt, Florence, sued his parents, his Tupelo charity and him over her lost estate.

Full Article and Source:
Aldridge Update: Judge Delays Extra-Damages Hearing Until Decision on Brian Aldridge

See Also:
Judge to Decide on More Damages in Aldridge Case

Aldridge Couple Files Bankruptcy to Avoid Relative's Claims

Aldridges Back in Court Over Woman's Assets

Judge Irate Over Aldridge's Looting of Widow's Estate

Aldridge v Aldridge, Judge Sets August Trial

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bill to Allow Organ Farming From Unconscious Patients

Good grief! A Maryland state legislator has filed a bill that would allow surrogate decision makers to “donate” kidneys and liver lobes. From HB 449:





Unconscious patients would hardly seem to be in a state of health to permit such surgeries. But surely when people can’t make their own decisions, surrogates–as fiduciaries–must work solely for the medical benefit of the incompetent person.

I know people will say, “What if it is the patient’s child” or some such. But we can’t do it! We can’t treat incompetent patients as objects for the benefit of others.

Full Article and Source:
Bill to Allow Organ Farming From Unconscious Patients

Undercover 82-Year Grandma Catches Medicare Fraud

In the wake of an ABC News undercover investigation, federal authorities in Texas are investigating how an active 82-year-old grandmother was diagnosed as homebound, with a range of ailments that she did not have, including Type 2 diabetes, opening the door to potentially tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payments for home health care, supplies and equipment she did not need.

A hidden camera recorded the undercover grandmother's visit to a doctor in McAllen, Texas, where she told the doctor and nurses she exercised regularly and, other than some hypertension and arthritis, was in excellent health.

"I've really enjoyed good health all my life, God's been good to me," the doctor was told by Doris Ace, the grandmother of ABC News producer Megan Chuchmach.

Yet the official certification sent to Medicare for home health care services indicate she was homebound and suffered from two internal infections, incontinence and needs "assistance in all activities, unable to safely leave home, severe sob," an abbreviation for shortness of breath.

On a patient referral form for home health care service, signed by the doctor, our undercover grandmother was also wrongly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, even though she was not given a blood test which doctors say is the only way to authoritatively diagnose diabetes.

Full Article and Source:
Undercover 82-Year Grandma Catches Medicare Fraud

See Also:
NASGA's Third Open Letter to Congress: The Fleecing of Medicaid and the Taxpayer

TX Doc Accused of Bilking $375 Mil From Medicare, Medicaid

A Texas doctor has been charged with running a massive health fraud care scheme with thousands of fraudulent patients and intermediaries allegedly offering cash, food stamps or free groceries, to bilk Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $375 million.

A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday charges Jacques Roy, a doctor who owned Medistat Group Associates in DeSoto, Texas, and six others in an alleged scheme to bill Medicare for home health services that were not properly billed, not medically necessary or not done.

The scheme was the largest dollar amount by a single doctor uncovered by a task force on Medicare fraud, authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana accused Roy of "selling his signature" to home health agencies that rounded up thousands of patients' names and billed Medicare and Medicaid for five years.

The indictment alleged that from January 2006 through November 2011, Roy or others certified 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries for more than 500 home health service agencies - more patients than any other medical practice in the U.S. More than 75 of those agencies have had their Medicare payments suspended.

Roy, 54, is charged with several counts of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Full Article and Source:
Doc Accused of Bilking $375 Million From Medicare, Medicaid

See Also:
NASGA's Third Open Letter to Congress and the White House:The Fleecing of Medicaid and the Taxpayer

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"First They Rob You...Then They Kill You"

There has been a rash of crimes committed in Pinellas County, Florida over recent years, and the problem is getting worse. Exploitation of the elderly is the principle crime, and it can be heart wrenching to witness.

These are people who are partially disabled, hurt and trying to heal from a wound, or suffering from a chronic disease that tortures them daily. These seniors need more care than the average person and sometimes aren’t completely clear mentally, or are too weak physically to take care of themselves totally.

They do make easy targets though. They can be preyed on without even knowing what is going on, but many times they do know, and are simply unable to do anything about it, or get any help from the outside to put an end to their misery. This cruelty usually starts with the intention of stealing from the elder victim, taking over all his physical and liquid assets, until he is financially bled dry. Though money and control over property is the main focus, the steps that have to be taken to acquire it all soon develops into horrific abuse.

This doesn’t mean that the elder person is alone, or without friends and family. It means they are not permitted to have company other than the court appointed guardian and who ever that person decides can see their ward.

Full Article and Source:
First They Rob You...Then They Kill You

Senator Gillibrand Promotes Legislation to Help the Aging

The growing number of senior citizens in the North Country will benefit from programs in the Older Americans Act that U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is supporting in the Senate, the Albany-area native and Democrat says.

According to Census Bureau figures cited by Gillibrand, 7,529 people in St. Lawrence County will reach 60 years old in the next five years. Her report says that there are now 21,907 people 60 or older in the county.

“When seniors stay in their homes and maintain their independence, they live longer, healthier, happier lives, and taxpayers save millions,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. “From opportunities to continue living independently, to access to better nutrition, empowering our seniors with better financial literacy and protecting them from abuse, these are the priorities I will be fighting for to ensure the Older Americans Act works for New York’s seniors.”

Gillibrand, who is running for re-election this year, says her priorities include providing better aging-in-place opportunities so more seniors can get the care they need in their own homes instead of moving to costly nursing homes, providing more effective financial literacy services, improving nutrition, and preventing elder abuse.

Sen. Gillibrand Promotes Legislation to Help Aging

CO: Speaking Up for Abused Seniors

The graying of America is a long-established trend that has given rise to something more sinister and repugnant -- an increase in abuse of the elderly.

A bill pending in the Colorado legislature would require county workers who come in contact with this vulnerable population to have criminal background checks. It would also establish a task force to study reporting of mistreatment and service provision for older residents.

It's a good measure designed to protect the aging, but we think it could be better.

The measure falls short of requiring something the state has needed for quite some time -- mandatory reporting of suspected elder abuse.

Full Article and Source:
Denver Post: Speaking Up for Abused Seniors