Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Homeless Nashville Man Placed in Conservatorship

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Ronald Carter, a 64-year old homeless Nashville man, has been a patient at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for well over a month but the health care facility has initiated legal action that could soon bring about his forced discharge.

Carter, according to court filings, was admitted to the facility on April 26 suffering from pneumonia. He had prior admissions at Vanderbilt in June, October and November of last year, records show.

John Howser, medical center spokesman, said in a Friday email response to questions that Carter was a Vanderbilt patient and that his current condition was stable.

He said that privacy laws barred him from releasing additional information. 

 The legal action initiated by Vanderbilt on May 28 was made under the provisions of a new law passed by the General Assembly in 2013 which made a series of changes in the state statutes governing conservatorships. Most of  the changes had been recommended by the Tennessee Bar Association following a series of statewide hearings.

It was a last minute amendment to that bill, however, that gave health care facilities a special route to seek the discharge of patients on an expedited basis.

Court records show that almost immediately after the new law became effective Nashville area hospitals, including Vanderbilt,  began filing petitions to have temporary healthcare conservators appointed for some of their patients. The majority of those patients were homeless and nearly all were subsequently discharged to nursing homes and other health care facilities.

In its petition filed by attorney Monica Edwards, Vanderbilt stated that their social workers believed Carter had been homeless for 20 years and, though he had said he had relatives in Tennessee, he gave no information about their whereabouts. Nor could Vanderbilt locate any relatives.

Stating that Carter's cognitive function is "profoundly impaired," the hospital center said that an emergency conservator was needed to arrange for his discharge or transfer.

The filing states that on one of his prior visits to the emergency room, Carter was brought to the facility by a nurse for the Room in the Inn, a Nashville center for the homeless.

Inn officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Probate Judge David R. Kennedy appointed April Jackson to serve as Carter's attorney ad litem or advocate and she subsequently filed a motion to require that Carter be allowed to attend a June 3 hearing on whether the conservatorship should be extended.

Records indicate the hearing was then transferred from the courthouse to the medical center.

Following the hearing Kennedy issued a ruling in which he acknowledged that Carter and Jackson opposed the extension, but he concluded that continuation of the conservatorship was appropriate.
Jackson, declined to comment and Edwards did not respond to a request for comment.

Anthony Burns, who was appointed as Carter's emergency temporary healthcare fiduciary also did not respond.

Full Article & Source:
Homeless Nashville Man Placed in Conservatorship


StandUp said...

Guardianship was not created as a weapon for hospitals. This makes me angry.

Anonymous said...

It's a ridiculous law!

John said...

I remember when this law passed in TN. They'd had these meetings and victims testified about all the problems involving their individual cases and then we heard by golly the Governor was going to take action...then we heard about the hospitals.

A prime example of big money getting its way and to hades with the citizens.

Betty said...

Judge Randy Kennedy. Ugh.