Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ohio Court Battle Over Moving Elderly Abuse Victim

MetroHealth wants her out. The family wants her to stay put.

Esther Piskor, 78, has been physically abused by nurses' aides inside the Prentiss Center nursing home at MetroHealth Medical Center.

The abuse was caught on a hidden camera that Esther's son, Steve Piskor, placed inside Esther's room with the staff's knowledge.

The family went to court seeking a temporary restraining order, trying to stop MetroHealth from moving Esther out of its facility.

The nursing home argues that Esther should be placed in another facility to ensure her safety and welfare. Steve Piskor says it doesn't make any sense.

MetroHealth disciplined eight employees based on abuse caught on the hidden camera. Now that MetroHealth has presumably cleaned house, Steve says they want to toss Esther out the door.

"Metro should be taking responsibility and stop being so defensive. My mother is the victim here, not Metro," Piskor said.

Family attorney David Krause says MetroHealth is giving Esther the boot to retaliate against the Piskor family for coming to Channel 3 to expose the abuse.

Full Article,Video, and Source:
Investigator: Court Fight Over Moving Elderly Abuse Victim

OH: Nursing Homes Take 6% Hit in New Budget

The usual tactics - a pricey television advertizing blitz, personal pressure on lawmakers and piles of campaign contributions - didn't work this time for Ohio's nursing homes.

The two-year state budget Gov. John Kasich sign[ed] into law [6/30/11] slashes Medicaid rates paid to nursing homes by nearly 6 percent starting [7/1/11], and it eliminates guaranteed increases that the powerful lobby persuaded legislators to put into state law years ago.

"In some ways you live by the sword, you die by the sword," said Robert Applebaum, director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center.

"There are only two states where the reimbursement formula is in state law, and Ohio is one of them. In the past, that has served nursing homes well because they have done better than other Medicaid providers. ... But when budgets are tight, it can have a very negative impact."

Full Article and Source:
Once Powerful Nursing Homes Take a 6% Hit in New Budget

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grant Goodman Suspended Without a Hearing

Longtime Arizona attorney Grant Goodman has made serious allegations over the last year against attorneys and guardians in Maricopa County Probate Court.

“Assets are being raped and pillaged every day,” said Goodman.

Accusations like that may have landed him in trouble.

“The conduct that’s going on in probate is in effect, unconstitutional," he said.

The State Bar of Arizona has now temporarily suspended Goodman's license to practice law.

The bar claims his conduct "will result in substantial harm, loss or damage to the public, the legal profession or the administration of justice."

“I haven't had a client so far that has complained,” said Goodman.

The suspension comes after Goodman filed lawsuits on behalf of incapacitated adults. They were adults Maricopa County Probate Court ruled couldn't handle their money or medical care.

The ABC15 Investigators reported on those lawsuits in a series of stories last year, uncovering flaws in the Maricopa County Probate System.

Families accused the court of allowing their loved ones to be isolated and heavily medicated while their assets were liquidated.

In an interview with ABC15 more than a year ago, Goodman described the county's probate process as criminal.

“These people are more organized than the mob. Plus, they have a court rubberstamp the proceeding.”

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Attorney Grant Goodman Suspended Without a Hearing

Attorney Grant Goodman Suspended

Local attorney Grant Goodman had his law license suspended for five years following a finding that he habitually exploited "vulnerable" Probate Court clients.

In an order signed [7/21/11] by William O'Neil, the presiding disciplinary judge for the Arizona State Bar, Goodman's actions are described as potentially harmful to the public and the legal profession if allowed to continue.

Grant Goodman, Attorney, Gets Law License Suspended For Exploiting "Vulnerable" Probate Court Clients

See Also:

Read the "Temporary Restraining Order of Temporary Suspension and Report"

Arizona Attorney Grant Goodman Sanctioned

Family "Friend" Ordered to Pay $2 Mil in Restitution

Ellis Hanson pulled a small piece of paper out of his pocket and stared at it blankly.

Not understanding what it was, he asked his wife to look. It was a receipt for a $260 lunch at Shula’s Steak House in Naples.

Velta Hanson was surprised. Her then- 84-year-old husband, a brilliant engineer in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, had no recollection of eating there hours earlier.

That day, Sept. 30, 2008, Velta Hanson hired a private investigator. But days before receiving his report, she found a letter revealing her husband had written a $10,000 check to a friend of two decades, Alma Teti.
That was the day she asked her husband if she could take over their finances.

It turned out that was just a fraction of what Ellis Hanson had given Teti, now 69: more than $1 million in checks from 2006 to 2008, nearly $85,000 in jewelry since 2005, including a $26,000 blue stone ring for her birthday, and thousands in expensive lunches, champagne and drinks.

In 2009, the couple sued Teti, alleging exploitation of a vulnerable adult and conversion, illegally depriving the Hansons of their property.

“I’ve known Alma for over 20 years and I’m shocked at her lack of integrity by taking advantage of her friend’s trust and exploiting her friend’s husband, a vulnerable elderly gentleman who is mentally compromised,” Micheline Yuan said.

“This should be a lesson to anyone attempting to take advantage of a vulnerable adult,” she [Shirley Moore]said.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Rules Family Friend Exploited, Took $2 Million From Naples Man With Dementia

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Justice O'Shea Responds to Gary Harvey Suit

State Supreme Court Justice Judith O'Shea has formally responded to a lawsuit that seeks to force Chemung County to prove it did not exceed its legal authority in its guardianship of a Horseheads man.

In her response dated July 18, O'Shea denied allegations made in the suit filed by Sara Harvey of Horseheads, who has been fighting for guardianship of her husband Gary. O'Shea also requested that Harvey's suit be dismissed.

In a June 30 ruling, the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division in Albany denied motions by the county to dismiss the suit and ordered O'Shea to file a response to the lawsuit by Aug. 1. State Mental Hygiene Legal Services Attorney Kevin Moshier and the county Department of Social Services guardian were also ordered to file responses.

Gary Harvey, now 60, suffered a traumatic brain injury following a heart attack and subsequent fall down a flight of stairs in January 2006. Sara Harvey had sought legal guardianship of her husband, but the county Department of Social Services was appointed as his legal guardian indefinitely.

Judge Responds to Horseheads Woman's Lawsuit

See Also:
Gary Harvey - At the Mercy of a Cold, Heartless System

Gary Harvey - Out of Sight Out of Mind

NY Supreme Court Appellate Division Will Not Dismiss Gary Harvey's Suit Against County, Judge, and Court-Appointed Attorney

Ciavarella's Sentencing Set for August 11

The sentencing date has been set for a disgraced northeastern Pennsylvania judge convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from a real estate developer who built a pair of private juvenile detention facilities.

A federal judge scheduled the sentencing hearing for former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella for August 11.

Ciavarella was convicted in February of counts including money laundering and wire fraud as part of the scheme involving another judge.

Prosecutors alleged Ciavarella and former county President Judge Michael Conahan ran a kickback scheme involving the closure of the county-run juvenile facility and the construction of two private detention centers. Conahan pleaded guilty to racketeering last year.

The scandal prompted the state Supreme Court to throw out thousands of juvenile cases handled by Ciavarella.

Sentencing Scheduled for Corrupt Ex-PA Judge

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Judge Randy Kennedy Sued!

Renate Arnold says she never used her children to help her shoplift.

Never used her 20-year-old daughter, Lisa, to help her become one of the top sellers of The Contributor newspaper.

She did not leave Lisa, who has Down syndrome, sitting in a soiled diaper, alongside traffic, in the cold. She did not make her kiss homeless men. No abuse, no neglect.

Rather, she says she is being picked on by a group of nosy strangers who disapprove of her lifestyle and the way she raises her children. She has fired two attorneys for not doing enough to get Lisa back in her care.

Now, she is suing Davidson County Probate Judge Randy Kennedy, claiming he, too, is keeping her from her daughter and best friend. The formerly homeless woman, who now is representing herself in court, says the judge did not respond to a motion in the time she says is required by law.

Now, Kennedy has recused himself from the case. Lisa Arnold, who has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old, will be left in the temporary custody of Belinda Mitchell, a caseworker with The Arc of Davidson County, a nonprofit that helps the disabled, until another judge is appointed on the case. No hearings have been set.

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Homeless Woman Sues Judge Over Custody

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Last week, I wrote as a Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer about arbitration agreements in nursing homes. This is a hot topic right now, as more and more private homes require patients or their families to sign arbitration agreements as part of their admissions to the home. That was true in the several consolidated cases before the West Virginia Supreme Court in Brown v. Genesis Healthcare Corp. et al, decided June 29. In all three of the cases at hand, patients; family members signed arbitration agreements with nursing homes, and later sought to sue the homes for substandard care after the patients died. Prior to death, all three were admitted to hospitals with conditions including infection, dehydration, pneumonia, malnutrition and untreated pressure sores.

In each case, the nursing homes asked the courts to dismiss their claims and compel arbitration under the contracts. In two of the cases, the plaintiffs appealed from a dismissal; in the third, the trial court asked the Supreme Court to decide whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempted the West Virginia Nursing Home Act. The Supreme Court started by noting that families are generally under a lot of pressure and unable to shop around when choosing a nursing home. The Nursing Home Act prohibits patients and their representatives from waiving their rights to the courts. However, the Supreme Court said, the FAA preempts the state Act because the state Act does not provide "grounds for the revocation of any contract"; it applies specifically to nursing home arbitration contracts.

Full Article and Source:
Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

See Also:
West Virginia Supreme Court Finds State Nursing Home Law Preempted by Federal Arbitration Act - Brown v. Genesis Healthcare Corp.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Medicaid Dispute: Ohio State Audit Faults APSI (Advocacy & Protective Services, Inc) With Spending of $1.3 Mil

State auditors said the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has failed to account for more than $1.3 million in tax money it paid to a company that provides protective services to the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled.

The Ohio attorney general's office, which pursues Medicaid fraud, is investigating, The Dispatch has learned, although a representative would not comment.

Advocacy & Protective Services Inc. received the money in 2009 for administrative costs from the Department of Developmental Disabilities. The questions arose after the department sought reimbursement from Medicaid - the state health-care program for the poor and disabled.

"The Department of Developmental Disabilities has been unable to provide sufficient documentation to support the services performed by Advocacy & Protective Services and subsequent costs reimbursed through (Medicaid)," according to a 10-page preliminary audit by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Instead, the state agency was simply cutting checks on a regular basis to the company even though it didn't detail what the money was for, the preliminary audit found.

A final audit has not been released, but preliminary findings were provided to The Dispatch in response to a public-records request.

Advocacy & Protective Services (APSI) is a private, nonprofit organization based in Columbus that is under contract with the developmental-disabilities agency to serve as a court-appointed legal guardian and trustee for about 4,800 Ohioans with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities.

Full Article and Source:
State Audit Faults Disability Agency in Spending of $1.3 Million

Private Caregivers for Elderly Get Little Oversight but Government Resources Underutilized

Private caregivers who help the elderly are not subject to background checks or oversight, and officials concede that government resources to help vet them are largely unused, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregon Department of Human Services reports that there were 2,350 cases of abuse involving elderly people living at home last year. Elder abuse can take the form of physical or sexual attack, although it's more common that vulnerable seniors and their families become victims of fraud and theft.

"It's a common misconception that if someone holds themselves out to be a caregiver they must have been checked by someone, somewhere. When, in fact, they have not," Jeff Lesowski, a senior deputy district attorney in Washington County, told The Oregonian.

State law requires background checks for caregivers paid through Medicaid or other public programs, but not for those who are paid privately. State and local agencies offer training, background checks and help with aging spouses or relatives. But officials say that most people aren't aware of those government resources and often turn to online classifieds like in search of caregivers.

Decisions about a senior's care are often made during times of high stress or medical crisis, and there's often little time to investigate all the options.

In an effort to help people connect with vetted caregivers and other services for seniors, the Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon launched a searchable website with resources in every county. The Oregon Home Care Commission also offers connection to an online registry of caregivers who have cleared criminal background checks.

Full Article and Source:
Private Caregivers for Elderly Get Little Oversight, but Government Resources Underutilized

Caregiver Charged With Stealing From Elderly Woman

A caregiver is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly resident.

According to an incident report obtained by News Channel 7, 32-year old Layla Jessica Davidson, of Spartanburg, was arrested and charged with financial transaction card theft, financial credit card fraud greater than $500 and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

The report states that a man told deputies that his mother's caretaker, Davidson, used his mother's debit card and wrote 13 checks belonging to his mother between May 2 and June 8. The man told authorities that between $6,000 and $7,000 had been taken from his mother.

Davidson was arrested and later released from the Spartanburg County Detention Center on $15,000 bond.

Full Artice and Source:
Caregiver Arrested Charged With Stealing From Elderly Woman

Monday, July 25, 2011

NASGA Press Release

For immediate release

July 25, 2011

For more information contact:
Annie McKenna, NASGA Media Liaison


NASGA Releases its third “Open Letter to Congress and the White House” focusing on the Medicaid crisis _________________________________________

In the midst of a Medicaid crisis, NASGA continues its mission of reform of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships with the release of its third “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), other government entities and related organizations.

With “The Fleecing of Medicaid and the American Taxpayers,” NASGA focuses on an out-of-control problem, completely antithetical to the purpose of "protective" statutes; i.e., CONSERVE the estates of vulnerable elderly/disabled and PROTECT the taxpayers from the ward becoming a public charge.

Lack of monitoring and enforcement by court, legislative and executive branches permits good law to be misused by state-court judges and their appointed fiduciaries.

Without “watchdogging,” wards’ estates can be systematically bled dry instead of protected; in short, fleeced by fiduciaries engaging in breach of fiduciary duty. Previously financially capable wards placed on Medicaid for their guardians’ benefit is an ironic, appalling and staggering burden on America’s taxpayers.

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

Fleecing Medicaid and the Taxpayers
NASGA's third Open Letter to Congress and the White House

See Also:
Protecting Our Citizens From Unlawful And Abusive Guardianships And Conservatorships
NASGA's first Open Letter to Congress and the White House

A Review of Unlawful Emergency Guardianships
NASGA's second Open Letter to Congress and the White House

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Attorney Found Dead Inside Garage of Home

An attorney formerly from Alton was found dead in the garage of his Edwardsville home Thursday morning, the same day he was scheduled for sentencing on a federal mail fraud charge.

Dennis Nalick, 63, was found inside a vehicle in the garage of his home in the 300 block of Jefferson Road. The vehicle was running and the garage was locked, Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn said.

Nalick could have been sentenced to up to 51 months in federal prison. Authorities also had been seeking restitution and an order to take his property if he could not pay the restitution.

Nonn said the case has not been found to be a suicide.

"We don't know that yet; we can't jump to any conclusions," he said.

Full Article and Source:
Attorney Found Dead Inside Garage of Home

See Also:
Illinois Lawyer Charged With Financial Exploitation

Son Accused in Mom's Starvation

Authorities allege an Omaha caregiver so malnourished and neglected an elderly woman that it caused her to suffer bedsores from her neck to her heels.

Then, Omaha police say, he carried her emaciated body from her urine-and-feces-soaked mattress, put fresh clothes on her, propped her on a couch and tried to make her death appear natural.

The elderly woman: his mother.

In a rare case, the Douglas County Attorney's Office charged Robert R. Rogers, 44, in a warrant with manslaughter and abuse of a vulnerable adult. The charges stem from the May 27 discovery of the body of his 66-year-old mother, Connie J. Rogers.

Omaha police said he told investigators he was his mother's caregiver but that she refused to see a doctor, that she suffered from dementia and that her health had been declining for months.

On the day he reported her death, Rogers told police, he had fed her a protein shake. Then she got out of her bed, put a movie on the DVD player and walked to the couch of her home.

Rogers said he found his mother dead a short time later.

Full Article and Source:
Son Accused in Mom's Starvation