Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Close Call for Stroke Victim

A Rwandan immigrant woman and survivor of the horrors of the 1994 genocide who had her feeding tube removed because a U.S. Catholic-affiliated hospital deemed her care too expensive, apparently will not die of starvation and dehydration thanks to a court order and the efforts of her children.

Rachel Nyirahabiyambere, a 58-year-old grandmother and refugee from war-torn Rwanda, had been denied food and water since Feb. 19 after her feeding tube was removed by order of her court-appointed guardian. But 21 days later, Rachel is still alive, and now Judge Nolan Dawkins has ordered Rachel’s feeding tube reinserted at the request of her family’s new legal counsel.

Casey Mattox, Legal Counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, won a temporary injunction preventing Rachel’s legal guardian Andrea Sloan from control over Rachel’s food and fluids, and even her remains in the event of her passing. A copy of Dawkin’s order obtained by requires Sloan to have Rachel’s feeding tube immediately reinstated by her heath care providers “unless and until there is a further order from this court.”

“Innocent life deserves to be protected. ADF is pleased that the court agreed to put the brakes on this rush to intentionally starve a defenseless woman to death,” said Mattox. “It’s a simple decision to respect the family’s wishes and protect the life of this Rwandan genocide survivor.”

Rachel was without insurance when she suffered a severely disabling stroke. She was cared for by Georgetown University Hospital without remuneration for eight months, until the hospital convinced a court in December to remove guardianship from the family to a lawyer recommended by the hospital’s attorney.

Andrea Sloan took over as Rachel’s guardian, and removed Rachel to a nursing home in Millersville, Maryland. The Times reported that the hospital then offered to pay for Rachel’s nursing home care, but had never extended this offer to Rachel’s family before Sloan took over as guardian.

At that point Sloan decided to remove Rachel’s feeding tube on the basis that Rachel was consuming too many health care resources to stay alive.

She explained her reasoning for having the feeding tube removed to the Times in an e-mail: “Generically speaking, what gives any one family or person the right to control so many scarce health care resources in a situation where the prognosis is poor, and to the detriment of others who may actually benefit from them?”

Full Article and Source:
Feeding Tube Restored to Immigrant Woman Unable to Pay Jesuit Hosptial

See Also:
Family Forced to Watch Mom Dehydrated to Death

Assisted Living Advocate Calls for More Public Funding, Less Federal Regulation of the Industry

The issues facing Medicaid coverage in assisted living are fundamentally economic, not regulatory, according to at least one participant in Tuesday's roundtable discussion on assisted living held by the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

“Sub-market payment rates, lack of payment for room and board, and restrictive state policies are the root causes of limited options for low-income seniors in many states,” according to Howie Groff, president of Tealwood Care Centers and immediate past chair of the National Center for Assisted Living. “It is imperative for policymakers to consider ways to expand the availability of affordable assisted living and to help states cover the funding gaps that currently exist.”

Speaking on behalf of NCAL, Groff recommended to the roundtable that the Department of Housing and Urban Development create vouchers to cover the room and board portion of assisted living, and that more public financing be made available to build affordable assisted living projects. He also expressed NCAL's support of continued assisted living regulation at the state level, arguing that state regulations are more easily adaptable to the changing needs of assisted living residents.

Groff also cautioned the group against excluding assisted living facilities from the Medicaid program. Such a move could reduce care options and discriminate against those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, he said.

Full Article and Source;
Assisted Living Advocate Calls for More Public Financing, Less Federal Regulation of Industry

Friday, March 18, 2011

Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) Now the Law in 23 States

The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) has now been enacted in 23 states nationwide. The UAGPPJA was drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2007.

The Uniform Act addresses the issue of jurisdiction over adult guardianships, conservatorships, and other protective proceedings. Under the Act, a “guardian” is appointed to make decisions regarding the person of an incapacitated adult, and a “conservator” is appointed to manage the property.

The objective of the Uniform Act is simple: to ensure that only one state has jurisdiction at any one time. To that end, the Act contains specific guidelines to specify which court has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated adult. The Act does this by prioritizing the states which might claim jurisdiction. The state with primary jurisdiction is the “home state,” defined as the state in which the adult has lived for at least six consecutive months immediately before the beginning of the adult guardianship or protective proceeding.

The second is the “significant-connection state,” which is broadly defined to include the location of the individual’s family, a state where the individual might have lived for many years, or the state where the individual’s property is located.

If the home state and all significant-connection states decline jurisdiction, or if the individual has no home state or significant-connection state, then another state may claim jurisdiction. The Act provides that once a court has jurisdiction, this jurisdiction continues until the proceeding is terminated or transferred.

The Act provides comprehensive procedures for transferring guardianship or conservatorship proceedings from one state to another. The Act also includes provisions for the enforcement of guardianship and protective orders in other states.

The UAGPPJA has now been enacted in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.

Uniform Adult Guardianship Act Now the Law in 23 States

Iowa: Fund Won't Reimburse Some Who are Bilked by Lawyers

Attorneys in Iowa set up a fund 35 years ago to reimburse clients who were wronged by dishonest lawyers. But the commission hasn't necessarily paid up if the dishonesty took place when an attorney was suspended.

The commission is now weighing whether it should.

The hesitation by Iowa's Client Security Commission seems counterintuitive to Randall Archer, a businessman bilked out of $33,500 by his Des Moines attorney, Kristine Corcoran Frye.

Archer said he relied on Frye for years to close sales on a number of properties he purchased. But on their last deal together, the attorney kept the money he gave her to put in a trust account for the closing.

In 2010, Archer filed a claim with Iowa's Client Security Fund to try to recover some of the money he lost. But the commission that controls the fund, established by the Iowa Bar Association and overseen by Iowa's Supreme Court, decided to table a decision on paying any claim.

The hang-up: Frye's license was suspended at the time she took his money.

Full Article and Source:
Fund Won't Reimburse Some Who are Bilked by Lawyers

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Attorneys Ask to Close Hammons Guardianship to Public

Attorneys in the guardianship case of an elderly hotel magnate in southwest Missouri have asked that the case be closed to the public.

Friends of John Q. Hammons, 92, filed a petitoin in Greene County Circuit Court last year asking probate officials to appoint a legal guardian to oversee Hammons' care. Hammons, a prominent developer, now lives in a Springfield nursing home.

The case was reassigned to Probate Judge Michael Cordonnier on Monday. He likely will decide whether to close it.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that closing the case would allow only court personnel and attorneys access to the case files. The motion to close the case notes that information about Hammons' medical condition, medical records, business affairs and personal relationships would likely find its way into the file.

Attorneys Try to Close Hammons Guardianship Case

See Also:
Lt. Gov Encouraged Petition to Guardianize John Q. Hammons

Media Hires Attorney to Argue to Keep John Q. Hammons Guardianship Public

The Springfield News-Leader and KY3 have hired a media attorney to argue why the John Q. Hammons guardianship case should remain open to the public.

A hearing has been set for 10 a.m. Friday in Probate Judge Michael Cordonnier's third-floor courtroom.

Jean Maneke, an expert on First Amendment cases who also provides legal advice on behalf of the Missouri Press Association, will represent both media companies.

Full Article and Source:
News-Leader KY3 Hire Attorney to Keep Hammons Case in Public Eye

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The People's Bill vs. The Status Quo


Hours of public testimony, countless calls and emails, and multiple visits to the offices of legislators by citizens fighting for reform allowed HB2424 to become a hope.

When the deep-pockets of those who stand to profit from the status quo did their very best to kill this was the voice of the people that kept it alive!


It is time for the abuse and exploitation in the name of justice to end...



Source and Contact List to Email or Call:
The People's Bill vs. The Status Quo

Colorado 2011 Rocky Mountain Conference on Aging Scheduled

Elder Financial Exploitation is the theme for the 2011 Rocky Mountain Conference on Aging Thursday, April 21 at The Ranch near Loveland.

The conference is for anyone who comes in contact with older adults and may have concerns whether the individual is a victim of some type of abuse or exploitation. Conference attendees might be care providers, senior center personnel, doctors, bankers or even close friends.

While we hear of entities outside the family or close friends exploiting vulnerable individuals, unfortunately statistics show it more commonly occurs from within the close circle of family or friends. Conference attendees will explore the challenges and complexities of financial exploitation, learn to recognize warning signs, and acquire tools for investigation and prevention.

Peggy Tracy from Illinois will open the conference presenting "Elder Victimization: When Trusted Individuals Become Trust Violators". Tracy is a certified financial planner with extensive training in fraud criminology related to finances of older adults. She has appeared in an expert capacity on many radio and television programs.

Four breakout sessions are available: Outsmarting Investment Fraud; Communicating in Sensitive Situations; Using Internet to Investigate Financial Fraud; and Understanding the Emotional Toll of Financial Abuse on Older Adults. Following lunch a panel representing social services adult protection, medical, legal, and financial entities will address the role they play when a case of financial exploitation is suspected as well as the challenges and limitation they face.

Full Article and Source:
Confrerence on Aging Topic Elder Financial Exploitation

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ohio Man Accused of Illegally Altering Client's Will has Arraignment Postponed

AMentor man accused of illegally altering a dying woman's will was supposed to appear Monday in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

Instead, William Dilley's arraignment was postponed until March 14 at his request, according to the court docket.

Dilley, 66, is charged with theft, tampering with records and perjury.

He was the financial adviser of Betty Montgomery, who lived in the Stratford Commons nursing home in Glenwillow.

Montgomery had no family and planned to divide her considerable estate between three friends, Save-A-Pet and the Holy Cancer Family Home.

However, Dilley altered her will and coerced her into signing it, so he would be the sole heir of her $750,000 estate, prosecutors said.

Full Article and Source:
Mentor Man Accused of Illegally Altering Client's Will Has Arraignment Postponed

Monday, March 14, 2011

NASGA Press Release

For immediate release

March 14, 2011
For more information contact:
Annie McKenna
NASGA Media Liaison


NASGA Releases its Second Open Letter to Congress and the White House

NASGA continues its mission to reform unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships with the release of its second “Open Letter to Congress and the White House,” mailed to approximately 300 members of Congress, including every member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

In its previous white paper, NASGA warned that unlawful and abusive guardianships can be dangerous to the health and are dangerous to the wealth of all Americans. The focus of NASGA’s second white paper is the growing threat of fraudulent and/or unlawful non emergency “emergency” hearings leading to “temporary” guardianships and conservatorships – without prior notice to the prospective “ward” of the state – whose assets are seized, leaving respondent without means of hiring counsel to defend.

Wards' families aren’t the only victims affected by these fraudulent proceedings. In the end, after the fiduciaries have bled the once-ample estates dry, they withdraw from the case and move on, thrusting their wards onto the taxpayer’s backs via Medicaid. With the growing Medicaid crisis, it is of paramount importance that the unlawful aspects be addressed and resolved without further delay.

NASGA continues to advocate for federal intervention to bring about swift and meaningful reform in all “protective” proceedings.

Read "An Open Letter to Congress and the White House-2"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lt. Gov Encouraged Petition to Guardianize John Q. Hammons

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said that he encouraged friends of John Q. Hammons to file a guardianship petition in Greene County probate court to resolve lingering concerns he had about the hotel magnate’s treatment.

Kinder also said he felt he was being “stonewalled” by Hammons business associates in the fall, when he investigated complaints that Hammons was being blocked from seeing his longtime friends.

“It’s now properly before the court,” Kinder said, referring to the petition filed Friday in Greene County Probate Court.

“I’m delighted to see the involvement of the public administrator as a possible guardian in this case, which is what a public administrator is supposed to do.”

Full Article and Source:
Lt. Gov Says He's Still Concerned About John Q. Hammons

Court-Appointed Attorney Soon to be Involved in Hammons Case

An independent court-appointed attorney will soon talk to John Q. Hammons to assess his well-being and mental status, according to a local attorney familiar with guardianship cases.

If the case follows a typical path, the court appointed attorney, would then file a report with Greene County Probate Commissioner Carol Aiken, who decides whether a guardian should be appointed to handle Hammons’ personal - though not financial - affairs.

Attorney Elise Barker, who specializes in juvenile and adult guardianship cases in Springfield, said an independent attorney is always appointed by the courts when guardianship is an issue.

The action was triggered by a guardianship petition filed Friday by a group of Hammons’ friends.

They say the renowned Springfield hotelier is being prevented from seeing his friends by Jacqueline Dowdy, a longtime associate of Hammons who took over management of Hammons’ company last year.

Dowdy has said Hammons gave her durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney to handle his personal and medical decisions.

Barker said the court appointed attorney, Evelyn Mangan, would meet with Hammons “to talk about the guardianship petition and to see how Mr. Hammons feels about it.”

Full Article and Source:
Court-Appointed Attorney Likely to Check on John Q. Hammons

See Also:
Eight Petition for Guardianship for John Q. Hammons