Saturday, January 15, 2011

Press Release: The Nursing Home Complaint Center

The Nursing Home Complaint Center is calling its efforts to identify US nursing home patients, who needlessly get sepsis, septic shock, broken bones, and or victims of wrongful death, their number one priority in 2011. The group is saying, "we believe needless sepsis infections, septic shock, broken bones, wrongful death, and elder abuse in our nation's nursing homes are at epidemic levels, and we want to hear from family members who have proof the sick, or deceased family member was mistreated, or not treated at all-with the result being a wrongful death, or they are now in a ICU at a nearby hospital."

The group says, "one of the biggest problems we see in the vast majority of our nation's nursing homes is staffing levels, are not high enough to meet Medicare, or Medicaid standards, with the result being dead patients, or patients suffering from sepsis, or septic shock, due to medical malpractice, or broken bones."

If a family member, or loved one has died in a US nursing home from provable wrongful death, or now has sepsis, is in septic shock, or has broken bones, please call the Nursing Home Complaint Center at 866-714-6466, or contact the group via its web site: Nursing Home Complaint Center

Nursing Home Complaint Center Makes Discovering Victims Of Sepsis Septic Shock Broken Bones & Wrongful Death Its Number One Priority For US Nursing Home Patients

Former Rothstein Law Partner Looking Forward to Civil Trial

There's no love lost between one of Scott Rothstein's former law partners and attorneys tasked with recovering money from Rothstein's massive investment fraud, but they will be spending Valentine's Day together anyway.

Russell Adler is set to go before a federal jury that day to defend himself against a $1.2 million lawsuit brought by the attorneys handling the bankruptcy of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm.

It would mark the first time that any matter related to the implosion of Rothstein's law firm would be considered by a jury in either civil or criminal court. Rothstein's $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest financial fraud in South Florida history, sent shockwaves across Broward County where Rothstein had established himself as a power player in legal, political and charitable circles.

Adler adamantly denies knowing anything about Rothstein's crimes, saying he never saw the firm's financial statements.

"Russell did nothing wrong and I expect to go to trial and be vindicated very quickly," said Fred Haddad, one of Adler's attorneys. "We're looking forward to a trial."

Full Article and Source:
Former Rothstein Law Partner Ready for Feb. 14 Civil Trial

Friday, January 14, 2011

For-Profit Nursing Facilities Overbilling U.S. Govt

For-profit nursing home companies led by Kindred Healthcare Inc. and Sun Healthcare Group Inc. are likelier than non-profit counterparts to overbill Medicare for the costliest services, according to a U.S. government report.

Medicare should investigate instances in which companies keep patients longer, charge more for care and classify clients for more extensive and costly services than needed, the study released today by the inspector general found.

The findings, based on audits of nursing-home billings from 2006 to 2008, “raise concerns about the potentially inappropriate use of higher-paying” billing codes, said the report by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General. It recommends that Medicare, the U.S. health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, consider changing its payment method for nursing home services.

The program covers as much as 100 days of nursing-home services for beneficiaries who require skilled care or rehabilitation following a hospitalization of at least three consecutive days. Care can be provided in a hospital or free- standing facility.

Medicare plans to target an undisclosed list of nursing homes with “questionable” billing practices, according to the report. The program specifically is examining “special-nursing facilities” for patients recovering from an injury or who are disabled.

California Representative Pete Stark, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, has been critical of the reimbursements that special nursing facilities get from Medicare. Medicare pays too much for the therapy services that the companies were billing more for, and too little for other services, his Stark’s spokesman, Brian Cook, said in an e-mail.

Stark unsuccessfully attempted to change the payments to nursing facilities in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama in March.

Full Article and Source:
For-Profit Nursing Homes Overbilling U.S. Government

More Young People are Winding Up in Facilities

Adam Martin doesn't fit in here. No one else in this nursing home wears Air Jordans. No one else has stacks of music videos by 2Pac and Jay-Z. No one else is just 26.

It's no longer unusual to find a nursing home resident who is decades younger than his neighbor: About one in seven people now living in such facilities in the U.S. is under 65. But the growing phenomenon presents a host of challenges for nursing homes, while patients like Martin face staggering isolation.

"It's just a depressing place to live," Martin says. "I'm stuck here. You don't have no privacy at all. People die around you all the time. It starts to really get depressing because all you're seeing is negative, negative, negative."

The number of under-65 nursing home residents has risen about 22 percent in the past eight years to about 203,000, according to an analysis of statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That number has climbed as mental health facilities close and medical advances keep people alive after they've suffered traumatic injuries. Still, the overall percentage of nursing home residents 30 and younger is less than 1 percent.

Martin was left a quadriplegic when he was accidentally shot in the neck last year by his stepbrother. He spent weeks hospitalized before being released to a different nursing home and eventually ended up in his current residence, the Sarasota Health and Rehabilitation Center. There are other residents who are well short of retirement age, but he is the youngest.

Advocates who help young patients find alternatives to nursing homes say people are often surprised to learn there are so many in the facilities. About 15 percent of nursing home residents are under 65.

"When I tell people I try to get kids out of nursing homes, they have no idea," says Katie Chandler, a social worker for the nonprofit Georgia Advocacy Office.

Federal law requires states to provide alternatives to institutional care when possible, though its implementation varies from place to place. Navigating the system can require a knowledgeable advocate and, sometimes, litigation.

Full Article and Source:
More Young People are Winding Up in Nursing Homes

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Save Marcelle

This video was shot over a few days in 2008,when Marcelle had began to sleep by day. To force her to stay awake, accountant Richard Kaufman ordered that she be denied the recliner she had used all day for years, and that she be kept at the dining table, in a chair she finds quite uncomfortable.

When Mr. Kaufman bought some squeaky birds and a stuffed dog, the aides were supposed to make Marcelle love her new toys. The aides were told that the doctor wanted them to keep Marcelle awake with the squeaky birds. The aides obeyed. Please remember, when you watch the video, that the nurse aides who appear to mistreat Marcelle are not aware they are doing anything awful or cruel. They were told that these were doctor’s orders, and that they had to bother Marcelle a little, in order to help her. They did not know that these were not doctor’s orders, but accountant’s orders.


AZ Supreme Court Suspends 2 Lawyers for Violations

The state Supreme Court has suspended two attorneys who practice in probate law for violating professional standards.

John F. Giles was suspended on an interim basis after he failed to respond to allegations that he misappropriated trust funds. Giles practices in Phoenix and was suspended effective Jan. 4, 2011.

The Supreme Court also suspended probate lawyer Marshall Fealk of Tucson for 30 days after he admitted he failed to safeguard his clients' property and didn't comply with trust account requirements. He suspension begins on Feb. 4.

Fealk will be on probation for a year after his suspension ends.

Source:AZ Supreme Court Suspends 2 Lawyers for Violations

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wife Seeks to Have Detroit Businessman Don Barden Declared Incompetent

The wife of one of the city's most prominent entrepreneurs, Don Barden, has obtained a temporary restraining order to freeze family assets and wants him declared incompetent on claims that cancer treatments have made him incoherent.

Bella Marshall, 60, Barden's wife and the chief operating officer of the Wayne County government, obtained an order from Wayne County Probate Court preserving the "financial status quo" of the marital estate.

She also asked for the appointment of a conservator to take over her 67-year-old husband's far-flung businesses. Barden's companies have held interests in cable television, real estate development and casinos.

Marshall said she anticipated her husband's release in the new year from inpatient treatment at Karmanos Cancer Institute and arranged for 24-hour home nursing care, according to one of her lawyers. But Barden never showed up.

"It's sad and pathetic," said attorney Lisa Ritchie Neilson. "She was considering making a missing person report and resisted taking any action in court. But she doesn't know where he is, who he is with or who is influencing him."

Darci McConnell, Barden's spokeswoman, denied he is incapacitated.

"Mr. Barden is both physically and mentally capable of managing his affairs, and continues to do so," McConnell said. "As this now involves a potential legal matter, as well as a personal one, we have no further comment."

Full Article and Source:
Wife Seeks to Have Detroit Businessman Don Barden Declared Incompetent

Barden Fights Wife's Claim, Seeks Divorce

Cancer-stricken entrepreneur Don Barden has responded to his wife's request of a judge to have him declared incompetent to handle his far-flung business interests by filing for divorce.

In papers filed Monday in Wayne Circuit Court, Barden asked for a divorce from his wife of 21 years, Bella Marshall, 60. And in answer to Marshall's request filed last week to have the 67-year-old real estate developer and casino owner declared incompetent, Barden accused her of acting in a "scurrilous and slanderous manner."

"Here is a man, fighting to recover from cancer, and he gets slammed with these papers that say, 'I'm going to the probate court and having you declared incompetent.' That's just not fair at all," Barden's lawyer, Henry Baskin, said Monday.

Marshall's lawyer said she had anticipated her husband's release in the new year from in-patient treatment at Karmanos Cancer Institute and arranged for 24-hour home nursing care. But Barden never showed up.

Barden's lawyer said not coming home was Barden's conscious decision.

"I visited him for a couple of hours, and I talked to the doctors at Karmanos," said Baskin. "He is able to run his business. He is able to make decisions about his personal life without hesitation. He does not have what was portrayed in public as a disabling brain cancer. He is not well. He has lung cancer, and he is getting treatment for it."

Attached to the court filings is a statement signed by Barden, stating: "I am mentally capable of making decisions affecting my business interests, my marriage and my future. I suffer no disability which would prevent a clear and concise statement that I am of sound mind and aware of the proceedings that have been filed by my wife."

Full Article and Source:
Barden Fights Wife's Claim, Seeks Divorce

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Advocate Tom Fields Fights for Elder Rights

Tom Fields' father lay dying in a hospital bed in Florida on a morphine drip for cancer.Fields, a Mentor resident, believes that during his final hours his father was the victim of financial elder abuse by people close to him.He said his father's wishes about his property were altered as a new will was written."People took advantage of my father and got him to sign a document," Fields said."There was no protection against this. A protocol could have stopped that."Fields is now an independent advocate fighting to get laws passed to protect families in similar situations.

"People took advantage of my father and got him to sign a document," Fields said.

"There was no protection against this. A protocol could have stopped that."

Fields is now an independent advocate fighting to get laws passed to protect families in similar situations.

"Nothing here in Ohio holds abusers accountable," he said. "My main focus is to keep people out of the court system, which is basically taking advantage of people who are victims."

Fields' first step was writing the Ohio Department of Aging to ask it to create task forces looking at elder abuse issues and how to prevent them.

He also proposed a step-by-step list of protocols for hospitals to follow to prevent financial abuse.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Mentor Man Fighting for Elder Rights

MA: Lawyer Indicted for Tampering With Court Record

A Lynn lawyer accused of stealing and shredding the Jose Cabrera file in the trial set to begin [1/10/11] in Salem Superior Court has been indicted by an Essex County grand jury.

A single indictment was handed down Friday afternoon against Ilya Ablavsky, 32, charging him with tampering with a court record used in an official proceeding.

The charge arises out of an incident on Nov. 3 when Ablavsky appeared in the clerk's office at Salem Superior Court, presented his identification and asked to see the file on Jose Cabrera. Ablavsky allegedly left with the file when no one was looking and destroyed the file.

Lynn Attorney Indicted for Tampering With Court Record

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Growing Trend of Medicine

Time is more precious these days for Janet Bedin. Especially after learning she lost five months with her mom Dolores.

"If my mom didn't get nauseous that day, maybe we would have never known," she says.
Never known, she's dying. In September, a hernia sent 86-year-old Dolores to a Rockford hospital. That's when Janet says they learned Dolores has inoperable pancreatic cancer. How they found out? A cat scan taken at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital months earlier, in April.

"The hospital has known information my mother is terminally ill, which cut into the quality time we could have spent with her and the planning time," says Janet.

"I encourage patients to learn their test results whether they're normal or abnormal, don't assume hearing nothing means they're normal," says Dr. Martin Lipsky, Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Lipsky says unfortunately communication errors happen all of the time. And with any tests, call to get results within a week.

"It's important for family members to be very visible in the care of patients," he says.

Lipsky suggests children get a power of attorney for health care. Janet has that right, and it was a battle to keep it.

In a rare move, Northwestern Memorial Hospital took her to court to get that authority revoked. Dolores had already been in the hospital two months and didn't feel well enough to leave. So the hospital threatened to have a Public Guardian take over.

"How could you say to me I don't have my mother's best interest at heart," says Janet.

Like most daughters, Janet didn't want to lose her mom so she took her home.

Full Article and Source: (Note: Three Part Series with Video)
A Growing Trend in Medicine

TX: Will Money Woes Force Closing of DAD's Facilities?

Disability rights advocates try year after year to convince lawmakers to close Texas’ state-supported living centers — the large, institutional-care settings that have been targeted by the U.S. Justice Department for dangerous conditions. Every time, their efforts are rebuffed: by the adamant parents who rely on the facilities to care for their loved ones, and the lawmakers who count on them as economic drivers in their districts.

This session, advocates say they have a big plus in their column: the state’s giant budget crunch. They are hoping lawmakers, facing an estimated $18 billion to $25 billion shortfall, will have no choice but to shutter some of the facilities, which cost Texas a combined $500 million to operate every year.

“Does this economic reality make it easier for legislators to do it? I sure hope so,” said Amy Mizcles, governmental affairs director with The Arc of Texas, which wants people with disabilities to receive community-based care. “We keep hearing this fiscal responsibility mantra. We have a real opportunity to provide better quality care in a much less expensive setting.”

Full Article and Source:
Will Money Woes Force Closing of DAD's Facilities

Indiana Judge Makes Case for Court Reform

Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Baker makes lofty arguments for why the state needs major court reform to occur in the next legislative session.

“Why does it take a year and a half to get a divorce in one county when it takes six months in another?” said Baker. “Divorce is hell anyway, why drag out the process of dissolving a bad marriage?”

The answer, he said, has to do with disproportionate case loads in which some Indiana counties have too many court cases, too few judges to hear them and no capacity to help each other out.

But also part of the answer, he said, is what he calls the “Balkanization” of Indiana’s courts.

He labels the situation as “a fragmented system of mutually hostile units resistant to cooperation and change.”

It’s that system that he and others cite when talking about streamlining Indiana’s judicial system and making more efficient use of the $400 million in state tax dollars spent on it last year.

The time for reform seems ripe: The number of court cases in Indiana rose by more than 16 percent in the past decade but funding and resources haven’t kept pace.

Last week, state budget officials estimated a $700 million shortfall in revenues going into the biennial budget-making session that starts in January.

“When resources get tight, people have to get more efficient,” Baker said

That’s why he argues “with passion” in favor of a reform plan laid out in 2009 by the Indiana Judicial Conference, whose membership is made up of full-time judges in Indiana.

The plan, called “A New Way Forward,” proposed major changes in the court system at the local level.

Baker doesn’t expect the changes he wants to come quickly.

“My experience with reform in Indiana is that it moves a little faster than the glaciers,” he said.

Full Article and Source:
Judges Making Case of Court Reform

Sunday, January 9, 2011

MO AG: More Protections Needed for Seniors

Many Missouri investment firms lack specific plans for dealing with the unique needs of seniors who entrust them with their life savings, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said in a report released [12/26/10].

The report is the result of a six-month audit conducted by the secretary of state's Securities Division of the policies and procedures of 24 brokerage businesses and six investment adviser firms. Carnahan said she launched the review because of a growing number of complaints, an increase in reports of financial fraud involving seniors and the general aging of the state's population.

"Every year, hundreds of seniors call my office with questions and complaints about the investment advice they receive," Carnahan said in a written statement. "Missouri seniors should be able to invest their life savings confidently and without fear they will be taken advantage of by their adviser or broker."

Full Article and Source:
Carnahan: More Protections Needed for MO Seniors

See Also:
'Financial Abuse of the Elderly: A Detective's Case Files of Exploitation Crimes,' by Joe Roubicek

'Marked for Destruction,' by John Caravella

'Attorney on a Gurney' Strategy a Loser

In November, according to media reports, former assistant district attorney Mark F. Morrison was wheeled into a Fayette County courtroom on a gurney -- wearing a surgical mask -- for his competency hearing.

Defense counsel Bruce Manchester reportedly told the court that Mr. Morrison, who has been charged by the state Attorney General's Office with bilking two of his clients out of more than $99,000 in a mortgage refinancing scheme, was suffering from a severe bacterial infection. Mr. Manchester also said his client was not competent to stand trial because of mental illness, according to court papers.

But on Dec. 9, Fayette County Common Pleas Judge Steven P. Leskinen found Mr. Morrison fit to stand trial and set the trial date for Jan. 3, 2011. Several media outlets reported the story, dubbing it the "attorney on a gurney" case and focusing on the fact that two expert psychiatrists testified during the competency hearing that they were unable to rule out the possibility that Mr. Morrison was faking mental illness. (The case's nickname is a misnomer because Mr. Morrison voluntarily resigned from the bar in 2006.)

In its answer to Mr. Morrison's competency motion, the state alleged he was "engaged in deceitfulness and malingering relative to his cognitive abilities."

But was coming to court on a gurney mere theatrics?

Several defense attorneys across the state said that if Mr. Morrison and his lawyer, of Manchester & Associates in Bellefonte, Centre County, were trying to pull off an elaborate stall tactic, it was an ill-advised one at best.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney on a Gurney Strategy Usualy a Loser

Feds: Woman Takes Elderly Boyfriend for Millions

Federal authorities have raided the home of a convicted killer living in Coupeville accused of bilking an elderly eye doctor out of $2.2 million.

In recently unsealed filings in U.S. District Court, federal law officers claim the married 60-year-old woman portrayed herself as a widow and sparked an online relationship with the Kittitas County man, then conned him out of his life savings.

On July 9, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service received a complaint from a man who reported that his father, Norman D. Butler Sr., had been swindled by the Coupeville woman he'd met online. The man's son described his father as an aging optometrist who has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Butler's son said he began investigating his father's relationship with the woman and came to believe she'd bilked about $2.2 million out of the 80-year-old man, the postal inspector told the court.

Full Article and Source:
Feds: Coupeville woman Took 80-Year-Old Boyfriend for Millions