Saturday, March 1, 2014

American Idol Finalist LaKisha Jones Could be Jailed for not Paying Flint Father's Bills

"American Idol" finalist and Flint native LaKisha Jones could face jail time for failing to pay her father's nursing home bills after she was named his legal guardian, a judge ruled.

Jones, a Flint native, was found guilty by Judge Jennie Barkey on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 at Genesee County Courthouse of civil contempt of court for failing to pay her father's nursing home bills.

Genesee Probate Judge Jennie Barkey found Jones guilty of civil contempt of court Feb. 25, after the court was alerted that Jones' father was involuntarily transferred out of a nursing home for failure to pay and was behind in payments at his current nursing home.

Barkey told Jones that she has 60 days to catch up on the missing payments or she could be sentenced to time in the Genesee County Jail.

"I didn't steal my dad's money," Jones told the judge before the ruling.

Flint attorney Christopher J. Ebbott, who represented Jones, declined to comment on Barkey's ruling.
Jones, 34, was granted full guardianship of her now-68-year-old father Aug. 7, 2012, after he was released from Hurley Medical Center in June 2012 following a stroke, according to court records.

Barkey's ruling also removed Jones as her father's legal guardian.

The guardianship required Jones to pay the monthly bills for her father's care at a Flint skilled nursing facility after doctors told the court her father was unable to reasonably understand his condition.

However, a court-appointed advocate for her father reported to the court in July 2013 that Jones' father was involuntarily discharged from the facility after Jones failed to pay nearly $6,500 for her father's care.

He was placed at a new facility in April 2013, where again Jones fell behind in making payments for her father, according to court records. A billing representative from the facility testified Tuesday that Jones still owed more than $1,600 to the facility despite making a $2,000 payment less than two weeks before Tuesday's hearing.

Jones, who now lives in Texas, was responsible for paying $987 per month for her father's nursing home care at the most-recent facility. Her father receives $1,047 monthly in Social Security benefits.
Barkey asked Jones where her father's Social Security payments were going if they weren't being used to pay for the nursing care.

"I was paying his apartment and other things as well," Jones told the judge.

Full Article and Source:
American Idol Finalist LaKisha Jones Could be Jailed for not Paying Flint Father's Bills

"The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors"

The Tennessee Bar Association released "The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors."

It is a new resource designed to help Tennesseans better understand federal and state benefits, new health care laws, and a wide range of other issues of importance to older citizens.

"As difficult as it is to fathom, an average of 7,000 Americans are becoming senior citizens each day," said TBA President Cindy Wyrick. "This trend is expected to continue for years, so it is important that we do something meaningful to assist this rapidly growing, but typically 'undeserved', segment of the population."

New Legal Handbook Helps Tennessee Seniors Understand Benefit Programs

CLICK HERE to download handbook

Friday, February 28, 2014

78-Year-Old Man Wakes Up in Body Bag at Miss. Funeral Home

Workers at a Mississippi funeral home say they found a man alive and kicking when they opened a body bag.

Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard calls it a miracle that 78-year-old Walter Williams is alive.

The coroner was called to Williams' home in Lexington, a community north of Jackson, where family members believed he had died.

Howard says Williams had no pulse and was pronounced dead Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Early Thursday, workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were preparing to embalm Williams when he started to kick in the body bag.

Family members were called and Williams was taken to a hospital. Howard says he believes Williams' pacemaker stopped working, then started again.

Full Article and Source:
Man Wakes Up in Body Bag at Miss. Funeral Home

Elderly Texas Man Sent to Nursing Home Pushes to Leave

An 85-year-old North Texas man said he couldn't get out of a local hospital on Wednesday. Instead of going home, he ended up in a nursing home.

Charlie Fink called FOX 4 for help Wednesday after he went into Richardson Methodist Hospital on Friday for hernia surgery and wasn't released.

Thursday, Fink was in an Arlington nursing home.

"I tried to get out of Methodist and they locked the door," said Fink. "They wouldn't even let me out."
While Fink was in the hospital, he was placed in the psychiatric unit, and the state was in court asking a Dallas County probate judge to find Fink unable to take care of himself.

In an email, the state wrote, "APS was in court yesterday concerning the well-being of Mr. Fink. APS presented the information obtained by field staff to the court. Mr. Fink did have representation present at the hearing. An Emergency Order of Protection was presented in court. A judge did make a ruling on information presented. Due to confidentiality and to protect our client, that is all the information I can release."

Fink's attorney said the state presented an anonymous referral, a doctor's affidavit to his health, concerns about his protecting himself and said that Fink had threatened case workers.

Fink's wife, Edith, was removed from their home by APS earlier this month.

Now the two, married 57 years, are together again – though, not in the place Fink wants to be because state law allows for the elderly to be removed from their home to protect them from themselves and others.

"I just don't think they should have a law like that," said Fink. "I don't know who initiated this law. I don't know how old it is, but it should not be allowed to be."    

Elderly Man Sent to Nursing Home Pushes to Leave

Florida Advocates Say Senate Nursing Home Bill Benefits Industry and Trial Lawyers, Not Patients

A Senate committee Tuesday gave swift approval to a bill that is being criticized by elder-care advocates as a “sweetheart deal” designed to help nursing homes and trial lawyers make money but do little to improve the quality of care for the homes’ residents.

The Senate Health Policy Committee voted 8-1 for a bill that would shield nursing home investors from lawsuits when their homes are accused of abuse and neglect. In exchange, it would give trial lawyers easier access to documents. Other Senate committees must still review the legislation, but it has strong support among House and Senate leaders

“This benefits elders as well as their loved ones,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who is sponsoring the bill. He said shielding nursing homes from lawsuits provides them with “extra economic protection so they can stay in business,” which is good for residents.
But Brian Lee, executive director of the Florida Family Care Association, who was the state’s elder-care ombudsman for eight years, said the bill was less about protecting elders and more about protecting profits.

“Does keeping the industry viable mean protecting the people who cut back staff levels, who demand that their residents curb food costs and say they can only have one diaper per resident every eight hours?” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”

The measure ends years of feuding between the Florida Health Care Association — which represents nursing homes — and the Florida Justice Association, which represents trial lawyers. Both are major campaign contributors in Tallahassee. The bill also has the support of AARP and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Full Article and Source:
Advocates Say Senate Nursing Home Bill Benefits Industry and Trial Lawyers - not Patients

Iowa Senate Approves Bill to Strengthen Power of Attorney for Seniors

The Iowa Senate on Monday approved a bill designed to strengthen the state's power of attorney laws, changes that AARP Iowa said would help combat the increasing problem of financial abuse of seniors. Senate File 2168, passed on a unanimous 49-0 vote, contains provisions that allow protections for current as well as new power of attorney relationships executed after July 1, 2014, and would ensure that standardized power of attorney forms cannot be denied. Multiple national studies find that financial exploitation of seniors is the most common type of elder abuse, estimating that one-sixth of adults over age 64 have been victims of elder financial abuse, according to AARP Iowa. The organization is urging the Iowa House to approve similar provisions in its version of the legislation.

Senate Approves Bill to Strengthen Power of Attorney for Seniors

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alaska Family Living In ‘Nightmare’ After Son Declared Ward of State Following Hospital Visit

An Alaska family says they are living in a “nightmare” after their son’s visit to an Anchorage hospital morphed into a custody battle that stripped them of their right to visit their child. In an extensive interview with TheBlaze Wednesday, Lorraine and her husband Glenn told their heartfelt story.

Last year, they said, at 26 years old, Bret was an athletic, healthy field guide for hunters. His only medical issue was the development of some nasal polyps — overgrowths in the nose — last fall.

After they were surgically removed, the growths came back and Bret was prescribed Prednisone, an anti-inflammatory
medication.That’s when his trouble started.

While on the drug, Bret soon became unable to sleep. In October, his parents took their son to Providence Medical Center for severe insomnia. Doctors there prescribed drugs and sent him home. Things soon got worse. Bret’s health deteriorated rapidly and, after a seizure, his family decided to take him back to the hospital.

In the hospital, Bret was unable to sleep for some 24 days and his mental faculties were significantly diminished.

His parents said that at this point, they assumed power of attorney over him, using a written agreement allowing them to make medical decisions for him.

That agreement was initially drawn up in 2007, when Bret was a healthy 20-year-old.

More than 35 lab tests were conducted to diagnose Bret, but all came back clean. Meanwhile, his family said, doctors were medicating him with dozens of drugs, rendering him in a state of “delirium.”

At one point, they said, Bret became so frustrated that he attempted to leave the hospital on his own, but was talked down by his parents. That’s when his family, who contend the hospital’s course of treatment made their son worse, asked for a second opinion or different course of medical action.

They say they were denied and were not permitted to withdraw their son from the hospital.

Eventually, a custody battle broke out. A judge ultimately ruled in favor of the state.

Now, the 27-year-old is a ward of the state and has been diagnosed with a metal-disorder, which has resulted in doctors heavily medicating him with various drugs, his family told TheBlaze. “The state of Alaska owns him basically,” Lorraine Bohn said.

Full Article and Source:
Alaska Family Living In ‘Nightmare’ After Son Declared Ward of State Following Hospital Visit

A National Outrage: Father of 15-Year-Old at Center of Boston Children's Controversy Says, 'We're Fighting Evil"

Lou Pelletier says his family is a “wreck” after a judge ruled Monday that his daughter, 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, will be placed into foster care for the time being.

“We’re fighting corruption. We’re fighting evil,” he told TheBlaze’s Lis Klimas, adding that the case is a “national outrage.”

Lou and his family have been engaged in a legal battle for over a year in an attempt to regain custody of Justina. It began when physicians at Boston Children’s Hospital concluded that Justina has somataform disorder, a physiological condition, not mitochondrial disease. After Lou and his wife, Linda, objected, citing Justina’s diagnosis and extensive treatment for mitochondrial disease by doctors at Tufts Medical Center, the Department of Children and Families was brought in and they lost custody of their daughter.

Mat Staver, the founder and Chairman of the Liberty Counsel, told Beck that in his 27 years of practicing law, he has “never seen anything like this.”

First, he said, he’s never seen a case where a family following the expert medical advice of one group of physicians over another can lose their daughter for 13 months. He’s also never seen anything like the gag order placed on the family. And he’s never seen a situation where the media and additional legal counsel have been so thoroughly blocked from the case.

Essentially, he said, the state wants to keep the case “quiet” and “kick the can down the road,” so to speak.

Full Article and Source:
A National Outrage:  Father of 15-Year Old at Center of Boston Children's Controversy Says, 'We're Fighting Evil."

See Also:
Justina Goes to Foster Care, Her Mom is Rushed to Hospital - Pelletiers Still Denied Custody

Judicial Watchdog Seeks Discipline of Mississippi Judge Joe Dale Walker

The Mississippi Supreme Court has suspended Chancery Judge Joe Dale Walker with pay while waits to hear the results of an inquiry by the Commission on Judicial Performance Commission.
Walker sits on the bench in Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson and Smith counties.

The Commission on Judicial Performance had sought interim suspension with pay for Walker while its investigation continues into alleged inappropriate actions regarding a conservatorship in Walker's court.

Walker is represented by State Rep. Bob Evans, who is an attorney in Monticello. Evans had asked for the proceedings to be delayed until after Legislature adjourns in April.

The Supreme Court said Thursday that issue was moot because of its interim suspension order.

Judicial Watchdog Seeks Judge's Discipline

Ohio: Lawyer's Relationship in Judge's Campaign Determines Recusal

A judge is required to recuse from a case handled by a lawyer who participates in the judge’s campaign if there’s a “substantial political relationship” with the lawyer during the campaign fundraising period, according to an Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline advisory opinion.

Opinion 2014-1 covers Rule 2.11 of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. The lawyer requesting the advisory opinion also asked the board to re-examine a 1992 Advisory Opinion, which addressed some aspects of disqualification questions under the former code. Based on its updated view, the board withdrew the advice given in Advisory Opinion 92-9.

“Jud.Cond.R. 2.11 requires disqualification ‘in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned,’” according to the opinion. “The political reality in Ohio is that judges are publicly-elected officials. Lawyers are charged with advancing the administration of justice, which includes participation in the evaluation of candidates for judicial office. This participation often takes the form of supporting a judge during an election campaign.”

“Given this framework,” the opinion continues, “the Board is of the opinion that a lawyer’s mere participation in a current judicial election campaign does not create a reasonable question as to the judge’s impartiality when the lawyer is before the judge.”

“However, if a lawyer’s current campaign activities evidence a substantial political relationship with a judge, a reasonable person would question the judge’s impartiality in cases involving the lawyer.”

Rather than creating a “bright-line test” regarding the judicial campaign activity of lawyers, the opinion lays out the factors for a judge to consider – on a case-by-case basis – to determine whether a substantial political relationship exists.

“If a judge concludes that he or she has a substantial political relationship with a lawyer involved in a case before the judge, disqualification is warranted for the duration of the current campaign fundraising period.”

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer's Relationship in Judge's Campaign Determines Recusal

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Avoid the Two Words That Cost Thousands in Medicare Bills: "Under Observation"

It’s not something they teach doctors in medical school. And it’s probably not something you’d know to look for if you were suddenly rushed to the hospital in an emergency. But when a doctor decides to write the words “under observation” on a Medicare patient’s chart, it can have lasting consequences.
Those two little words can be the difference between spending thousands of dollars out of your own pocket and having Medicare cover the entire bill.

Brenda Kelley-Nelum was driving her husband Al 'Doc' Nelum to an appointment when he started having symptoms of a stroke.   An ambulance took him to the nearest hospital with a stroke clinic. Hours later they were still there, waiting on test results, when someone mentioned her husband had been put on observation status.  As an advocate for seniors in Virginia, Kelley-Nelum had a vague recollection that she’d heard that term before. And it wasn't good. 
She was right to worry.
As it turned out, her husband would go on to a nursing facility for rehabilitation, at a cost of about $22,000. Medicare pays for rehab only for people admitted to a hospital for three or more days as “inpatients.” Medicare will not pay for rehab if they were classified as “observation status” when they received treatment at the hospital.
Kelley-Nelum did what advocates advise anyone on Medicare to do. She found out how her husband was classified and asked if he might need rehab later. Then she spoke up -- loudly. She asked so many questions, she said, the doctors grew tired and sent in someone from hospital administration. That person relented and changed Doc Nelum's status to “inpatient.” His entire $22,000 bill was ultimately covered by Medicare.

Kelley-Nelum says her husband was lucky she was there.
“If I had not been there my husband probably would have accepted the observation status ... on face value.”

How to Avoid the Two Words That Cost Thousands in Medicare Bills

YouTube Video: Ella Card - "Slavery in the Name of Guardianship"

 Coming back into the United States from her native country, Ella Card risks her life and liberties by being a radio guest on the Gloria Minot show in Washington, DC. This takes place eight months after she has been declared "Incapacitated" by Kings County Supreme Court, Judge Betsy Barros in Brooklyn, NY. This interview was filmed in the radio station after the Gloria Minot panel had concluded the show.

YouTube:  Ella Card - "Slavery in the Name of Guardianship"

Minnesota nursing home defends rapist: 89-year-old victim was a ‘flirt’

An elderly woman in Minnesota is seeking punitive damages against a nursing home that placed her in a mental health facility and protected her attacker after she was raped.

According to court documents obtained by the Star Tribune, Edgewood Vista senior living facility forced the 89-year-old woman to spend 72 hours in the mental health unit of St. Luke’s Hospital near Duluth after she reported that 30-year-old Andrew Scott Merzwski had raped her in her bed at the senior home.

After the victim’s daughter notified police, Merzwski admitted that he had sex with the 89-year-old woman.

About that same time, the nursing home transferred the woman to a psychiatric ward at St. Luke’s Hospital for nearly three days.

Testimony filed with the court said that the nursing home’s clinical services director, Marilyn Moore, tried to defend that rapist after he had confessed to police.

“Did she tell you that this was consensual?” Moore asked Flesvig. “Did she tell you that she flirts with this boy mercilessly?”

Moore later allegedly told sexual assault advocate Mary Salisbury that the victim was “was making it up,” and described her as a “flirt.”

“I was just shocked that somebody was so blatantly putting the blame on this woman,” Flesvig noted.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Minnesota nursing home defends rapist: 89-year-old victim was a ‘flirt’

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Justina Goes to Foster Care, Her Mom is Rushed to Hospital - Pelletiers Still Denied Custody

A West Hartford, Conn., woman hoping to regain custody of her sick 15-year-old daughter from the state of Massachusetts collapsed Monday afternoon on her way from a hearing in juvenile court.

The woman, Linda Pelletier, fell to the ground outside the courtroom. Emergency personnel took her out on a stretcher.

A representative of the family said that Linda and her husband, Lou Pelletier, learned in court Monday that their daughter, Justina, would be transferred from Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in Framingham to foster care in Merrimac.

The Pelletiers have been trying to regain custody of Justina since February 2013, when she was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, where she spent the rest of the year before being moved to Framingham…

Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., was also at the courthouse Monday. He said his organization is starting a national campaign called “Free Justina.” He was with the family when they left the courtroom and spoke with them shortly before Linda Pelletier collapsed.

“My understanding is that Justina is being moved to foster care and they are outraged by that. There is no medical care there,” Mahoney said.

The press was ordered off the fourth floor of the coutroom where the hearing was held–more of the “gag order” secrecy that surrounds the actions of DCF and Boston Children’s in this case. The judge has yet to remove the gag order, but nobody’s explained why it’s there, either.

So now, not only do the Pelletiers have to worry about their daughter’s health, they have to worry about the fact that she’s being sent home with strangers–strangers picked by DCF and, therefore, with a 1 in 10 chance of having a criminal record.

Full Article and Source:
Justina Goes to Foster Care, Her Mom is Rushed to Hospital-Pelletiers Still Denied Custody
See Also:
Free Justina - The Killing of an American Family

Judge Dismisses Arapahoe County Public Administrator, Tamra Palmer

The chief District Court judge in Arapahoe County has dismissed a public administrator who had been accused by four families of mishandling their estates with her business partner.

The order from Judge William Sylvester, dated Thursday, discharged Tamra Palmer "effective immediately" without explaining why. But it came after two previous orders from the judge concerning her business relationship with another lawyer and a story in the Denver Post detailing that relationship.  The Post reported that Palmer and Jennifer Gormley, who had borrowed $1.5 million to buy an office building for themselves and other tenants, together charged four estates more than $400,000 in fees. Members of the four families say they were not informed of the business relationship between Palmer and Gormley.

Public administrators are appointed in probate court cases where no heir is named or willing to distribute the assets of an estate. They also may be called as conservators of estates when people are judged incompetent to handle their own finances.

In 2012, Palmer reported charging with the court's approval a total of $319,851 in fees and costs for managing 87 estates.

One of the heirs welcomed Judge Sylvester's decision.

"That's rather pleasant news," said Robert Lewis, one of Eleanor Lewis' four children. He and his sister, Janet Van Vliet, said much of their mother's $2 million estate was depleted in four years for 24-hour care, guardianship services, legal fees and other costs.

Palmer was the conservator of Eleanor Lewis' estate, and Gormley was paid about $41,000 in legal fees after the guardian hired her. "The only thing that's left is the family ranch we're trying to keep," Lewis said.

In April, Judge Sylvester issued an order that Palmer and Gormley could not be involved in the same estate cases without court approval. Last month, he asked Palmer to advise him of any cases where she and Gormley continued to collect fees. Palmer responded that there were four, but she had been appointed to each before the judge's April order.

Full Article and Source:
Arapahoe Judge Dismisses Official Who Heirs Say Mishandled Estates

Heirs Cry Foul; Say Two Colorado Probate Lawyers Depleted Their Estates

Note: This article originally ran 1/26/14:

Four families with cases in Arapahoe County's probate court say that two attorneys involved in their estates should have disclosed a real estate investment they made together before charging the estates at least $400,000 in fees.

Colorado's disclosure requirements for attorneys generally do not extend to family members of clients, experts said. But the attorneys' joint investment concerned the district's chief judge enough that he issued an order in April that they could not be involved in the same estate cases without court approval.

Last week, the judge ordered one of the attorneys, court-appointed public administrator Tamra Palmer, to advise him of any cases since April in which she has participated with lawyer Jennifer Gormley. Palmer responded that there are four such cases but that she was appointed to each before the judge's April order.

Palmer and Gormley say they are precluded by confidentiality rules from discussing any probate cases. However, each has said they have no conflict of interest. Palmer has told the court the relationship did not influence her decisions and that she had no obligation to disclose her real estate investment with Gormley.

Cliff Battista, who was trustee of his father's estate, said Palmer testified to have him removed, then, on Gormley's recommendation, took his place as a court-appointed trustee. Both lawyers then billed the estate for their work on the case.

"I'm appalled that people have the audacity to do that to someone else," he said.

Full Article and Source:
Heirs Cry Foul, Say Two Probate Lawyers Depleted Their Estates

AARP: Caregiving: Life Changes and Coping Strategies

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lawsuit Filed Against Two CA Assisted-Care Facilities for Allegedly Abusing and Punishing Residents

City Atty. Mike Feuer has filed a lawsuit against two assisted-care facilities for allegedly abusing their disabled patients in "deplorable, overcrowded and substandard living conditions."

At the behest of Feuer's office, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday also appointed a receiver to immediately begin relocating those being cared for at the two facilities with the assistance of state and county officials.

The two facilities, Agape Mission House and Agape Home Church — located at 2205 and 2217-19 South Hobart Blvd. in the historic Adams district, just a short distance from First AME Church — are also unlicensed, the city attorney's office said.

“These residents are among the most vulnerable in our society and they were forced to live a daily nightmare,” Feuer said. “We are bringing that nightmare to a close."

According to court documents, residents at the facilities would be punished for failure to attend religious services twice a day, despite their individual beliefs.

The punishments allegedly included being made to stand by a tree for up to four hours, being required to translate Bible verses for an entire day and sleeping outside at night.

The lawsuit also alleges that the operators collected county or federal benefits cards as rent at the beginning of each month and denied residents access to their own money.

From January 2011 to October 2013, Los Angeles police reported receiving more than 180 calls related to the properties, including a dozen attempted suicides, numerous assaults and batteries, assault with a deadly weapon, narcotics activity, indecent exposure and burglary from a motor vehicle.

Full Article and Source:
City Attorney:  Assisted Living Facility Abused, Punished Residents

FL Bill to Prosecute Elder Abuse Goes to Committees

With elder exploitation already a problem in a state rich with seniors, a proposed bill that may make it easier to prosecute cases is making its way through legislative committees.

House Bill 409 proposes to modify existing laws to create a “presumption of exploitation” when someone takes advantage of an elderly or disabled victim. It also would provide criminal penalties for joint holders of a senior or disabled person’s bank account who take money for their personal use.
Gainesville attorney Shannon Miller, who specializes in elder law, is part of a panel of lawyers, legislators and others from across Florida who developed the bill.
“When it comes to getting these criminal cases prosecuted we have literally beat our heads against the wall. Before this year we had no prosecutions in Alachua County on elder exploitation cases. None. Not a single prosecution,” Miller said. “The problem the prosecutors have had is the statutes are really hard. You have to prove deception and intimidation. This legislation that is pending is literally groundbreaking.”

Year-Long Investigation Nets Charges of MO Man Exploiting Elderly, Stealing

Following more than a year long investigation, Charlie Day, 83,  of Troy, has been charged with two felonies including exploitation of the elderly and stealing. Both are class B felonies. The case was investigated by the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS). Gregery Martin, led the investigation.  The charges were filed Feb. 10 in the Lincoln County Circuit Court. Day was released on Feb. 18 on a $25,000 bond.

According to court documents,  it  states that  Mr. Day ‘used undue influence, by improper use of a power of attorney, to obtain more than $50,000 from the victim (assets including bank accounts,  CD and  credit card). Mr. Day drew on those assets by making cash advances, taking withdrawals and writing/depositing checks in a number of banking institutions located in and around the City of Troy, County of Lincoln, State of Missouri. The victim, age 83, is an elderly man as defined by statute and is incapacitated. Mr. Day, through his actions, benefited himself and detrimentally affected the man.’

Full Article and Source:
Year Long Investigation Nets Charges of Exploiting Elderly, Stealing

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Texas Guardianship Reform Advocates wtih Debby Valdez

5:00 pm PST6:00 pm MST7:00 pm CST8:00 pm EST

Debby Valdez joins us from Texas to discuss the violations of rights of those disabled and the elderly.  Debby is a “boots on the ground advocate” fighting to preserve and restore the individual rights of those targeted by the predators operating in her state.

  • Debby Salinas Valdez:   is a parent of a young adult born with multiple disabilities.  She is founder of Texas Adults w/Autism & IDD, a parent and advocacy support group in San Antonio, Texas. 
  • She teaches legislative advocacy to parents and adults with disabilities to advocate for change in their community, or at the state and national level. 
  • She is a member in several other local and state wide organizations and committees focused on supporting persons with disabilities.
  • As a civil rights activist she primarily remains focused on reforms to the guardianship laws in preserving and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Became a member of GRADE- the Guardianship Reform Advocates for the Disabled & Elderly. 
  • Our mission is:  When families are torn apart we are the voices of those unseen and unheard.  My goal as a member of GRADE was to protect my daughter’s civil, human and Constitutional rights.
  • I wasn’t aware at the beginning that my efforts would eventually be about my rights as a Baby Boomer where the Guardianship Industry is also gearing up to take over our lives and our assets with little to no accountability, oversight or monitoring.  It has been within my experience that those who operate this industry are better protected that those Guardianship was created to protect.
LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Kids' Autism Care Runs $11.5 Billion Annually, Study Finds

Substantial costs come along with an autism diagnosis, researchers say in a new study that attempts to put a price tag on the care needed by children with the developmental disorder.

When factoring expenses for health care, schooling, caregiving, therapy and similar family-coordinated services, a study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that an autism diagnosis brings an annual cost of $17,081 per child.

For the study, researchers surveyed more than 200 parents and looked at data from the federal government’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and National Health Interview Survey. They compared the cost of care for kids with autism ages 3 to 17 to expenses for typically-developing children.

Health care expenses for those with autism were about $3,000 higher than for other children, the study found. But it was school-related costs that packed the biggest punch, adding over $8,600 per year.

Nationally, with 673,000 kids estimated to be on the autism spectrum, the researchers said that the cost of caring for this group in 2011 likely totaled $11.5 billion in the U.S. alone.

A 2012 study found that autism costs total $137 billion annually, but indicated that adults account for the majority of spending since they require housing and are often unemployed or underemployed. The current study focused exclusively on children.

Despite the hefty price tag, parents of kids with autism did not report significantly higher out-of-pocket costs, the study found. Rather, the expense is largely borne by society through special education services and other offerings.

Full Article and Source:
Kid's Autism Care Runs $11.5 Billion Annually, Study Finds

Feds Clarify How to Apply for Autism Tracking Devices

A week after announcing that the federal government will pay for tracking devices for kids with autism, officials are offering more details about how families can access the technology.

Police departments nationwide will be able to make the tracking devices available to children in their communities who are at risk of wandering using money available through the Justice Department’s Byrne grant program, officials at the federal agency said.

Byrne is an existing program that law enforcement agencies routinely tap to pay for everything from crime prevention programs to officer training and equipment like police radios and lights for emergency vehicles.

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that his office had determined that Byrne funding could be used for tracking devices.

“Byrne grant money can be made and will be made available for the purchase of these devices,” Holder told a U.S. Senate panel.

The commitment came in response to a  request from U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. The New York Democrat was prompted to act after 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who had autism, went missing from his New York City school in October and was recently found dead.

Now it’s starting to become clearer how communities can obtain the funds Holder referenced.

Full Article and Source:
Feds Clarify How to Apply for Autism Tracking Devices

Georgia Suspects Sentenced for Elder Cruelty and Exploitation

A Chatham County Superior Court Judge has sentenced a Garden City woman and man for cruelty and exploitation of the woman's 68-year-old mother.

Mary Daphne Wiggins, 48, and Michael Victor Nesmith, 52, deprived Wiggins' mother, Caroline Louise Thomas, of access to food and water and withheld her medications between June 1 and June 26, 2012, according to ADA and Elder Abuse Prosecutor Shalena Cook Jones.

During that time Wiggins and Nesmith are also accused of removing the window air conditioning window-unit and boarding up the windows to the room where Thomas spent most of her time. In addition, they routinely spent Thomas' Social Security Checks, said Jones.

Garden City Police were alerted to the situation after EMS was called to the Dean Forest Road home to provide medical assistance to Thomas and she detailed her abuse.

Wednesday Wiggins was sentenced to 20 years with 6 to serve for cruelty to a person 65 years of age or older, with an additional 5 years to serve concurrently for exploitation of an elderly person.

Nesmith was sentenced to 20 years with 8 to serve for cruelty to a person 65 years of age or older, with an additional 5 years to serve concurrently for exploitation of an elderly person.

Full Article and Source:
Suspects Sentenced for Elder Cruelty and Exploitation