Saturday, March 8, 2014

How a Bank Account Hid a Woman's Death for Years

For years, the payments went out of the woman’s bank account.

Nobody batted an eyelid.

Bills were paid.

And life went on as normal in the quiet neighborhood of Pontiac, Michigan.

Neighbors didn’t notice anything unusual.

The woman traveled a lot, they said, and kept to herself. One of them mowed her grass to keep things looking tidy.

At some point, her bank account ran dry. The bills stopped being paid.

After its warnings went unanswered, the bank holding the mortgage foreclosed on the house, a common occurrence in a region hit hard by economic woes.

Still, nobody noticed what had happened inside the house. Nobody wondered out loud what had become of the owner.

Not until this week, when a worker sent by the bank to repair a hole in the roof made a grisly discovery.

The woman’s mummified body was sitting in the backseat of her car, parked in the garage. The key was halfway in the ignition.

Authorities say they believe the woman died at least six years ago. They’re still trying to figure out what happened.

“I’ve been doing this 37 years. Never seen anything like this before,” said Undersheriff Mike McCabe of Oakland County, Michigan, just outside Detroit.

Full Article and Source:
How a Bank Account Hid a Woman's Death for Years

Washoe County District Judge Authors, "Who is Guarding the Guardians?"

The Jason Hanson and Guadalupe Olvera cases are not isolated. The exploitation of the disabled and elderly illustrated in both cases is just the tip of the iceberg in a racketeering enterprise running rampant throughout Nevada and the US.  

A Washoe County District Court Judge has authored the following paper to help improve guardianship systems and monitoring in his county, something completely lacking in Clark County. 

The reform that Judge Hardy recommends would put a stop to the abuse caused in Clark County Family Court by appointed "Guardianship Commissioners" like Jon Norheim - a former mob lawyer - - who rubber stamps everything greedy private guardians like Jared E. Shafer want. - SM


Who is Guarding the Guardians?  A Localized Call for Improved Guardianship Systems and Monitoring
By: Judge David Hardy, Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County, Nevada
What is generally described above remains specifically accurate in Washoe County, Nevada. A statistical analysis of local guardianships demonstrates that Washoe County guardianships do not compare well to “exemplary” courts in which best practices exist. As but a few examples, 64% of all Washoe County guardianships begin as temporary guardianships in which an order is entered before the proposed ward is given notice of the action and an opportunity to respond. The judges granted 99% of the ex parte petitions for temporary guardianship. Few proposed wards are represented by counsel or guardians ad litem. Only 7% of the petitions sought limited authority in recognition of the proposed wards’ situational capacity. Inventories, personal status reports, and financial accountings were late or missing in alarming numbers. There were also recurring substantive problems relating to the content of petitions and medical evidence, sufficiency of notice, consistency of orders and financial accountings, statutory noncompliance with inventory requirements, widely divergent administrative expenses, and post-death property disposition orders. Finally, judges have no county resources with which to investigate the propriety of guardianship or monitor the performance of their guardians. Washoe County can improve its guardianship systems and adopt best practices by implementing several reforms, each of which is fully discussed in this article.

READ "Who is Guarding the Guardians? A Localized Call for Improved Guardianship Systems and Monitoring "

See Also:
The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story"  "Special Administrator" Jared E. Shafer Takes House and Inheritance From 24-Year-Old Man With Cerebral Palsy

Guadelupe Alvera, NV/CA Victim

Marcey E. Dudeck, NV/CA Victim

An Amazing Village Designed for People With Dementia

Centuries after Shakespeare wrote about King Lear's symptoms, there's still no perfect way to care for sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer's. In the Netherlands, however, a radical idea is being tested: Self-contained "villages" where people with dementia shop, cook, and live together—safely.
We, as a population, are aging rapidly. According to the  Alzheimer's Association, one in three seniors today dies with dementia. The process of finding—and paying for—long-term care can be very confusing, unfortunately, and difficult for both loved ones and patients. Most caretakers are underpaid, overworked, and must drive far distances to their jobs—giving away some 17 billion unpaid hours of care a year. And it's just going to get worse: Alzheimer's has increased by an incredible 68 percent since 2000, and the cost of caring for sufferers will increase from $203 billion last year to $1.2 trillion by 2050.
In short, we're not prepared for the future that awaits us—financially, infrastructurally, or even socially. But in the small town of Weesp, in Holland—that bastion of social progressivism—at a dementia-focused living center called De Hogeweyk, aka Dementiavillage, the relationship between patients and their care is serving as a model for the rest of the world
Hogeweyk, from a certain perspective, seems like a fortress: A solid podium of apartments and buildings, closed to the outside world with gates and security fences. But, inside, it is its own self-contained world: Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more.
The idea, explains Hogeweyk's creators, is to design a world that maintains as much a resemblance to normal life as possible—without endangering the patients.
 For example, one common symptom is the urge to roam, often without warning, which had led most "memory units" and dementia care centers to institute a strict lock-down policy.

In one German town, an Alzheimer's care center event set up a fake bus stop to foil wandering residents. At Hogeweyk, the interior of the security perimeter is its own little village—which means that patients can move about as they wish without being in danger.

Each apartment hosts six to eight people, including caretakers—who wear street clothes—and the relationship between the two is unique. Residents help with everything from cooking to cleaning. They can buy whatever they want from the grocery. They can get their hair done or go to a restaurant. It's those basic routines and rituals that can help residents maintain a better quality of living. "The fact that a resident cannot function 'normally' in certain areas, being handicapped by dementia, does not mean that they no longer have a valid opinion on their day to day life and surroundings," say administrators.

Full Article and Source:
An Amazing Village Designed Just for People With Dementia

Documentary: "Dementia: The Forgotten Disease"

Alzheimer’s disease not only changes the life of the patient, but also the family and network of dedicated caregivers that surround them. Early-Onset is especially cruel, robbing people of their full mental capacity during their prime.

This short documentary takes a look into the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their families. It’s a touching and powerful presentation of how Alzheimer’s changes the lives of everyone it touches.

Dementia, The Forgotten Disease

Conservator Appointed for Suspended Lawyer, Lee Acquista

An Erie County judge today ordered a conservator to take over the files of a lawyer whose license has been under a temporary suspension since November.

The Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court had asked for the conservator for the lawyer, Lee Acquista. President Judge Ernest J. DiSantis Jr. approved the request at a brief hearing.

Acquista did not attend, but his Pittsburgh-based lawyer sent DiSantis a letter in which he said Acquista consented to the conservatorship. The conservator is another local lawyer, Adam Williams, who will notify Acquista's clients and advise them on whether they need to hire new counsel.

Conservator Appointed for Suspended Erie Lawyer

Friday, March 7, 2014

Texas: Charlie Fink May Get to Go Home!

An elderly North Texas man may be able to go home soon after a hearing took place on Thursday to decide whether or not he should remain in the custody of the state.

For more than a week, FOX 4 has been covering the case of 85-year-old Charlie Fink.

Fink is the man who made a call to FOX 4 asking for help after he went to a local hospital for hernia surgery, then was placed in the psych ward and told the state was taking custody of him.

Fink has been in state care since last week. He went to Richardson Methodist almost two weeks ago to have hernia surgery.

A doctor there (an internist -- not a psychiatrist or psychologist) contacted Adult Protective Services because Fink wanted to go home and not to rehab.

Fink was then placed in the psychiatric unit of the hospital.

Adult Protective Services got a temporary protection order and put Fink in an Arlington nursing home with his wife, who was removed from the home Feb. 5 over concerns regarding Fink's ability to care for her.

The state wants to keep custody of Fink and seek guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly N Texas Man in Custody of State May Get to Go Home

See Also:
Elderly Texas Man Sent to Nursing Home Pushes to Leave

Arizona: ABC15 undercover investigation: Filthy conditions, bed bugs at assisted living facility

An undercover ABC15 investigation has found filthy living conditions, bed bugs and allegations of resident neglect at a Valley assisted living facility that gets thousands of taxpayer dollars a month.

The Lodge at 14th Street houses more than 30 residents who have mental illness, physical disabilities, or both. Many of the residents are on Medicaid.

The ABC15 Investigators went undercover and also obtained photos from people inside the facility. The photos and video show evidence of past and current bug issues, filthy mattresses with stains of dead bed bugs and blood, and residents in tattered and dirty clothing.

I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mike Wright, an attorney with the firm Udall Shumway, who’s handled hundreds of abuse and neglect cases involving assisted living and nursing homes.

“This is highly unusual. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.

Insider Speaks Out
ABC15 interviewed a staff member who worked directly with the residents. When asked how The Lodge compares to other facilities, the staff member said, “This is the worst I’ve ever seen, ever, by far.”

The Lodge at 14th Street is licensed as a “directed care” facility. The Arizona Department of Health Services states that type of facility provides “programs and services, including personal care services, provided to persons who are incapable of recognizing danger, summoning assistance, expressing need or making basic care decisions.”

“They live like they are homeless,” the staff member said. “The floors are not clean. On the walls, you can see yellow and black stains. It’s just disgusting.”

The staff member and residents told us that only one or two caregivers work at any given time for all of the patients.

Full Article and Source:
ABC15 undercover investigation: Filthy conditions, bed bugs at assisted living facility

Mental Health Inspector Quits Over Deeds Report

State Sen. Creigh Deeds reacted with dismay Tuesday to news that the state investigator probing the circumstances preceding his son's death has resigned.

In his resignation letter, G. Douglas Bevelacqua said he was quitting because of officials meddling with his work.

"It would be a grave disappointment to me if the investigation were sanitized," Deeds told reporters during a brief interview, in which he complimented Bevelacqua.

Since 2010, Bevelacqua had served as inspector general for behavioral health and developmental services, a unit of state government now under the Office of the State Inspector General.

Bevelacqua remained with that agency, keeping his focus on mental health issues. As such, he oversaw the inquiry into the Nov. 19 death of Deeds' son, 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds, who stabbed his father at their Bath County home before taking his own life hours after undergoing a mental health evaluation.

The release of the report into the incident has been delayed. In a resignation letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Bevelacqua said agency revisions to it "will diminish the Report's usefulness as policy makers consider changes to the Commonwealth's emergency services response system."

"If I were responsible for publishing this report, it would have been issued weeks ago and it would have contained conclusions that were removed because they were considered speculative or too emotional," Bevelacqua wrote in a letter dated March 1.

Proposals to overhaul mental health laws and boost funding for psychiatric treatment have been a focus of the 2014 General Assembly session.

Deeds' SB260, which would lengthen to 24 hours the term of emergency custody orders, is the subject of legislative negotiations with the House of Delegates. The bill would require the state to set up a psychiatric bed registry and establish a bed-of-last-resort rule in state hospitals so there is always a place to accommodate people in crisis.

Full Article and Source:
Mental Health Inspector Quits Over Deeds Report

Read SB260

Man Charged Second Time With Exploiting Disabled or Elderly Person

A Graham man was charged Tuesday with exploiting an elderly person — exactly six months after he was arrested on the same charge in September.

Michael T. Shoffner, 44,  was arrested at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office and charged with exploitation of a disabled or elderly person.
According to Randy Jones, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, between Dec. 18, 2012, and March 28, 2013, Shoffner allegedly took more than $69,100 from the victim, who wasn’t able to handle her own affairs.
The previous charge involved the same victim, and Shoffner was charged at that time with taking more than $22,400 from March to September, Jones said.

Full Article and Source:
Man Charged Second Time With Exploiting Disabled or Elderly Person

Thursday, March 6, 2014

County Attorney Amends Charges in Guardianship Embezzling Case

A Bayard woman accused of embezzling from state wards now faces nine felony and two misdemeanor charges.
Amended charges against Judith (Judy) Widener, 70, were filed Feb. 24 in Scotts Bluff County District Court, according to court records. Four Class IV felony counts of theft by taking, five Class III felony counts of theft by taking and two Class II misdemeanor counts of theft by taking were filed.
Widener is believed to have embezzled more than $14,000 from guardianship accounts using a variety of methods, according to previous testimony given during a December preliminary hearing held in Scotts Bluff County Court.
During the preliminary hearing, Craig Kubick, of the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office, testified he discovered a series of red flags when he reviewed the state’s Assistance to Aged, Blind and Disabled Program, a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Kubrick established that an investigation by the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office determined that Widener had embezzled more than $14,000 by using a variety of methods when she served as executive director of Safe Haven and acted as a guardian to state wards.
Kubrick testified that Widener had allegedly accepted funds on behalf of dead state wards, had double billed for services and had even used funds for wards to make personal payments to credit cards and for phone and television services to her home. He testified that the woman had also written checks from guardianship accounts for birthday and Christmas gifts to herself.
Widener’s case has served as an example of the need for reform of the guardianships overseen by the Nebraska courts. The Nebraska Legislature has proposed a bill to establish a state Office of Public Guardian. The bill would create an office to provide guardians to serve as conservators when a ward does not have a family member or other suitable person to oversee affairs.
During the annual State of the Judiciary address in January, Chief Justice Michael Heavican also promised changes in the way that the courts oversee guardianships. The courts are developing an internal audit system for guardianship to notify judges when a guardian has been removed from a case for cause, he said.
Widener is currently scheduled to be tried during the June jury term.

Full Article and Source:
County Attorney Amends Charges in Guardianship Embezzling Case

See Also:
Nebraska State Auditor:  Guardian Fleeced State Wards

US Supreme Court Won't Hear Ciavarella Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., according to an order posted Monday morning on the high court’s website.

The ex-judge’s appeal was a long shot and denial was likely, Ciavarella’s attorneys previously said, since the Supreme Court only hears about 75 of the 10,000 cases each year it is asked to consider.

Ciavarella, jailed for 28 years on corruption charges, has now exhausted all his appeals options. The only thing he and his attorneys can do now is ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision, something his attorneys don't plan to do.

The court did not give a reason for denying the appeal. Ciavarella case was just listed under a heading of "CERTIORARI DENIED."

“Are we disappointed? Sure we are. But we understand the Supreme Court takes very few cases in the course of the year,” said attorney Al Flora Jr., who represented Ciavarella along with attorney William Ruzzo. “I know it’s very difficult to get cases before the court. We gave it our best effort, and that’s all that could be expected.”

Consumer Factsheets on Financial Exploitation in Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes

Consumer Factsheets on Financial Exploitation (February 2014):

Developed in part through a grant from the Administration on Aging for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), these fact sheets discuss the prevention, detection and reporting of financial exploitation in assisted living and nursing homes. There are separate fact sheets for residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes and their family members. The consumer fact sheets provide an overview of residents’ rights and facility responsibilities related to resident finances, tips for protecting themselves and how to report incidents of financial abuse. The fact sheets for family and friends of residents also review residents’ rights and facility responsibilities, highlight warning signs and how to report incidents of financial exploitation.

Assisted Living Facilities:
How to Prevent, Detect, and Report Financial Exploitation in Assisted Living Facilities

Protecting Your Loved One

Nursing Homes:
How to Prevent, Detect, and Report Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Protecting Your Loved One

The National Long-Term Ombudsman Resource Center

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One Third of Skilled Nursing Patients Harmed in Treatment

One-in-three patients in skilled nursing facilities suffered a medication error, infection or some other type of harm related to their treatment, according to a government report released today that underscores the widespread nature of the country’s patient harm problem.

Doctors who reviewed the patients’ records determined that  59 percent of the errors and injuries were preventable.   More than half of those harmed had to be readmitted to the hospital at an estimated cost of $208 million for the month studied — about 2 percent of Medicare’s total inpatient spending.

Patient safety experts told ProPublica they were alarmed because the frequency of people harmed under skilled nursing care exceeds that of hospitals, where medical errors receive the most attention.
“(The report) tells us what many of us have suspected ­­– there are vast areas of health care where the field of patient safety has not matured,” said Dr. Marty Makary, a physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore who researches health care quality.

The study by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) focused on skilled nursing care – treatment in nursing homes for up to 35 days after a patient was discharged from an acute care hospital. Doctors working with the inspector general’s office reviewed medical records of 653 randomly selected Medicare patients from more than 600 facilities.

The doctors found that 22 percent of patients suffered events that caused lasting harm, and another 11 percent were temporarily harmed. In 1.5 percent of cases the patient died because of poor care, the report said. Though many who died had multiple illnesses, they had been expected to survive.

The injuries and deaths were caused by substandard treatment, inadequate monitoring, delays or the failure to provide needed care, the study found. The deaths involved problems such as preventable blood clots, fluid imbalances, excessive bleeding from blood-thinning medications and kidney failure.

Full Article and Source:
One Third of Skilled Nursing Patients Harmed in Treatment

See Also:
Find Nursing Home Problems in Your State

Read the report from the Department of Human Health Services:  "Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities:  National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries"

Biggest Medicare Fraud in History Busted; Alleged "Mastermind" is Dr. Jacques Roy of TX

Federal officials say they have taken down the largest Medicare fraud scheme investigators have ever discovered: a $375 million dollar home healthcare scam operating in the Dallas, Texas area.

The alleged "mastermind" of the fraud, Dr. Jacques Roy, is charged with certifying hundreds of fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement, and pocketing millions in payments for services not needed, or never delivered.

Prosecutors say the 54-year-old Dr. Roy, who was arrested today and could be sentenced to life in prison, operated a "boiler room" to churn out thousands of phony Medicare claims and recruited homeless people as fake patients.
"Today, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force is taking aim at the largest alleged home health fraud scheme ever committed," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. "According to the indictment, Dr. Roy and his co-conspirators, for years, ran a well-oiled fraudulent enterprise in the Dallas area, making millions by recruiting thousands of patients for unnecessary services, and billing Medicare for those services."
The government charges that Dr. Roy was planning to take the money and run. He allegedly hid much of his Medicare money in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, and in documents filed in court today, the government charges that Dr. Roy was planning to change his identity and flee the country to avoid prosecution. In a motion opposing bail for Dr. Roy, prosecutors claim that he had created a false Canadian identity under the name Michel Poulin, had a copy of a book called "Hide Your A$$ET$ and Disappear," and a guide to yacht registration in the Caymans.

Convicted Rapists Among Sweden's Legal Guardians

Convicted rapists and fraudsters have managed to become legal guardians for people with disabilities in Sweden, a new review showed on Wednesday.

Sveriges Television (SVT) revealed that a review of 2,300 guardians - who manage the affairs of Swedes who are incapable of doing so themselves - found that 24 had committed serious crimes in the past, including assault, rape, and fraud attempts.

The review also found that 23 of the surveyed guardians had debts that had brought them to the attention of the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden).

The legal guardianship system clearly states that a person who manages the affairs of, for example, a person with disabilities or who has other problems taking care of their finances or paperwork, should be "experienced, honest and in other ways suitable" for the task.

The Swedish municipalities appoint legal guardians, a system that lawyer Eva von Schéele at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och landsting - SKL) said had its flaws.

At present, a candidate to become legal guardian will have his or her credentials examined by local authorities, but after being appointed all oversight stops. Von Schéele said it was time to put the guardians through an annual check, including whether they appeared in the crime register.

"The legislation we have today is ancient," she told SVT.

Full Article and Source:
Convicted rapists among Sweden's legal guardians

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story: "Special Administrator" Jared E. Shafer takes house and inheritance from 24-year-old man with cerebral palsy

The word sociopath is a noun meaning: Someone whose social behavior is extremely abnormal. Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.

This is the story of how Jason Hanson lost his inheritance, and hopefully its telling will lead to the prosecution of the sociopaths who profited from Jason's suffering.  In 2008, Jason's father Gerhard Hanson died without a will, but before his death told his only child, then-18 year old Jason who was born with cerebral palsy, that he would someday inherit his 1257 square foot three bedroom, two bath single story ADA compliant town house, built in 1992 in a gated community in Southwest Las Vegas, along with approximately $50,000 in savings.  Six years after his father's death, Jason is almost penniless, lives at taxpayer's expense in a group home with four other special needs residents, and is a client at *Opportunity Village.  This week, Jason told INSIDE VEGAS that Jared Shafer of Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc. never gave him his inheritance.  Sadly, this was not the first time such a heinous accusation was made by an heir of one of Shafer's scandal plagued Clark County Family Court appointed wards or special needs trustees.

Several years before Gerhard Hanson's death, his son  - then a minor - became a special needs ward of the State of Nevada because his father's acute alcoholism kept him from adequately caring for his son's needs. For several years Jason, who is very intelligent, was shuffled between Child Haven, foster care, and group homes. Today, Jason, a part time college student, is just learning what happened to his father's estate including his childhood home that he had every legal right to inherit and live in.  Instead, according to Jason, his father's $50,000 life's savings is missing, and Shafer sold Jason's house for fifty cents on the dollar without his knowledge or consent, and kept the sale proceeds saying they were used to make the house salable.

Full Article and Source:
The Jason Hanson - Jared E. Shafer Story

Video Source:
Guardian Jared E. Shafer Exploits Special Needs Trust - Part One

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

As dementia continues to affect millions of elderly Americans, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory reveals a remarkable, music-based breakthrough that has already transformed lives. Spearheaded by social worker Dan Cohen and captured on camera over the course of three years by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, we learn that songs from a patient’s past can awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years, sometimes decades. Within a moment of hearing “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, Alzheimer’s patient Marylou jolts back to life, dancing around the living room and expressing a euphoria her husband hasn’t witnessed since her illness took effect. Countless instances in Alive Inside provide proof that music stimulates activity in dementia-affected parts of the brain and transforms the quality of life of those often left to languish in silence.

Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand experiments conducted by Cohen in nursing homes, this groundbreaking documentary demonstrates how connecting the elderly to the music they love not only combats memory loss but also supplements a broken health-care system often indifferent to interpersonal connections.

Alive Inside:  A Story of Music and Memory

Monday, March 3, 2014

AG Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of Suffolk County Nursing Home Employees And Lawsuit Against The Home's Owners Alleging Pattern Of Neglect

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrests of nine employees of the Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. in Medford, New York. Seven of the arrests are in connection with the 2012 death of a 72-year-old resident who was at the facility for what was supposed to be temporary rehabilitation. The corporation operating the home and the facility’s top administrator were also charged with trying to cover up the circumstances surrounding the death. The Attorney General separately filed a civil lawsuit today charging the home’s owners with fraud, based on a long history of criminal conduct by employees of the home, and corporate looting.

“Nursing home residents are among our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s arrests and lawsuit send a message that we will not tolerate anyone being neglected or denied life-saving medical treatment while individuals line their own pockets with tens of millions of dollars that Medicaid intended to provide resident care. We must and will do everything in our power to protect our vulnerable nursing home residents from being preyed upon by those who are entrusted with their care, yet fail to fulfill their duties to provide necessary care.”

The felony complaint charges Kethlie Joseph, 61, of Brentwood, with Criminally Negligent Homicide for the death of a 72-year-old resident who was residing at Medford Multicare Center. Joseph, a licensed professional trained in administering treatment to ventilator-dependent residents, admitted to never reading a doctor’s orders requiring the resident to be connected to a ventilator machine at night. As a result, the resident was not connected to the ventilator when she went to sleep, and she died that night. Joseph not only ignored alarms for more than two hours, but also ignored messages to her pager when the resident stopped breathing. Furthermore, video surveillance captured Joseph walking toward her office and not reappearing until hours later. Only after an unassigned nurse’s aide finally went to check on the resident did she receive medical attention, but by then, she had likely been dead for some time.

Full Article and Source:
AG Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of Suffolk County Nursing Home Employees And Lawsuit Against The Home's Owners Alleging Pattern Of Neglect

Nebraska Senators Look to Establish State Office of Public Guardian

State officials have initiated a new bill that will establish a Nebraska Office of Public Guardian.
Nebraska is the only state in the union that does not have an Office for Public Guardianship.
Senators say the state's current system, which relies on volunteers, is unreliable.
The new bill will create an office to provide guardians that will provide conservators in situations where no family member or suitable individual is available.
When discussing the proposed bill, reference was made to the 70- year- old Scottsbluff woman, Judy Widener, who is facing felony charges for inappropriately using funds for state wards.
This bill was advanced to initial review on Friday.

The National Will Registry

Do you know where your will is? Does your family? The National Will Registry, a service offered by Family Archival Solutions, Inc., is a new service that stores the location of important end-of-life documents such as wills, trusts, living wills and powers of attorney. It also allows attorney names, safe deposit box locations and other important information to be listed in a consumer-friendly Web app equipped with military-grade security.

Designed to prevent the frequent problem of missing estate documents when a family member passes away, subscribers to appoint several friends, family members or legal advisors that are authorized to contact the service as a routine part of the estate administration process, particularly if the family is unable to locate these important records. The new offering is part of a suite of estate protection products from Los Angeles startup Family Archival Solutions, Inc., whose founder and CEO served as a financial services attorney and estate professional for over two decades.

Inspired by the staggering statistics of death-time document chaos (over 60% of U.S. adults will die without a basic estate plan; nearly $2 billion in life insurance is unclaimed annually; $4.9 billion in other unclaimed assets are turned over to the government annually with only $1.7 billion reclaimed; and countless wills are lost, damaged or left unclaimed), Family Archival Solutions has designed a consumer-friendly suite of solutions for estate and life planning.

According to Mark Nicholas, CEO of Family Archival Solutions, “Most wills held by lawyers, CPAs and financial professionals are never claimed and a high percentage of families struggle to find bank accounts, brokerage accounts pension plans, computer login credentials, safe deposit boxes and other essential documents that point to family assets.”

“Many Americans approaching their final years began saving and investing long before the digital era and the location of substantial assets is a preserved in papers, passbooks and statements that are frequently damaged, lost or destroyed. We have developed a program to solve this problem, honor an individual's wishes, and direct the family, court and other professionals to any location maintaining the information.”

Full Article and Source:
The National Will Registry

Sunday, March 2, 2014

From the NASGA Archives...

From the NASGA archives...this article ran in September 20, 1995 and features comments from Joe Roubicek, expert on the subject of financial abuse of the elderly, and author of the book "Financial Abuse of the Elderly:  A Detective's Case Files of Exploitation Crimes."  Mr. Roubicek is currently writing his next book, "KILL MOM, KILL DAD; Disposing of the Elderly for Profit."  ..........

Ethel Hill's freedom was taken when a probate judge appointed a guardian to take over the elderly woman's financial affairs and other life decisions.

Now the guardian has lost her freedom, jailed after being charged with stealing the elderly woman's life savings, leaving Hill to die as a pauper at age 98.

Now prosecutors say they are investigating whether Wright took money from the 12 other elderly wards she was overseeing until a judge removed her from the guardianships last year.

Wright was appointed emergency guardian over Hill in July 1990. Just a month later, she was appointed plenary guardian, which gave her authority over every bank account and every decision in Hill's life, said Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Joe Roubicek, who investigated the case.

Although a court order prohibited Glendale Federal Bank in Fort Lauderdale from allowing the withdrawal of Hill's money without court approval, police say Wright withdrew Hill's money at will.

She was later allowed to spend $2,000 of Hill's money each month for the cost of Hill's care. Over the course of the guardianship, additional court orders allowed for the withdrawal of $104,949 from Hill's estate.

Still, that should have left the estate with more than $280,000 when Hill died. She had no family and always lived a frugal life, Roubicek said.

"There's no one to guard over the guardians," Roubicek said.

Although probate judges approve or deny guardian expenditures, there are too many expenditures crossing their desks for a judge to always know which ones are valid. And probate court has no criminal investigators, Roubicek said.

Full Article and Source;
Guardian Charged, Held in Thefts From Elderly Client

See Also:
Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Minnesota Woman Wants New State Law to Hold Doctors Accountable

Sheila Van Pelt might not get the answers she has been looking for, but she wants independent investigations into doctors and nurses and she wants the results made public.

Her mother, Sheila Pietig, died in 2011 in an assisted living center. Her mother was 87 years old, but Van Pelt says she was relatively healthy until a serious of infections and a stroke ended her life. But Van Pelt says she was most concerned about the level of care her mother received.

"Her symptoms grew worse and she needed to be hospitalized and I kept pushing to have her hospitalized but the assisted care center did not listen to me," Van Pelt said.

Van Pelt filed a quality of care complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Investigators looked into the facility's practices but the State did not investigate the doctors, or nurses, paid by the HMO to care for Van Pelt's mother.  Van Pelt says she was told by MDH officials that "the HMO would investigate the doctors and nurses they hired and then report back to the State with its findings."

Van Pelt says she was shocked that the HMO would be allowed to investigate its own contract employees. To make matters worse, Van Pelt says she was told the investigation would not be public information either.

Van Pelt is now working with lawmakers to change state law and require the health department to conduct and independent investigation into the caregivers as well as the facility when a complaint is filed.

Full Article and Source:
Minnesota Woman Wants New State Law to Hold Doctors Accountable

Pope Francis' Statement on Euthanasia

The following is part of the statement by Pope Francis to the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life (February 19, 2014)

"..It is a topic that is extremely relevant to our own day, and something likewise always very close to the Church’s heart. Indeed, in our society one encounters the tyrannical dominion forced upon us by a logic of economics that discounts, excludes and at times evens kills our elderly––and today so many fall victim to this. “We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised––they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’ (EG, 53).” The social-demographic predicament of the aged is a stark reminder of this exclusion of the elderly person, and especially when he or she is ill, disabled or for any other reason rendered vulnerable. One easily forgets that the relations among human beings are always relations of reciprocal dependence, which manifest themselves according to different degrees throughout the life of a person and become indispensable in situations of old age, illness, disability and indeed suffering in general. This requires of all of us our offers of necessary help through interpersonal as well as community relationships, in an attempt to answer the present need of these persons in their respective situations.

 At the root of any discrimination and exclusion there is, however, an anthropological question: how much is man worth and upon what does one base this value of his? Health is certainly an important value, yet it does not determine a person’s value. Furthermore, health is not in and of itself a guarantee of happiness––this is verified even in the event of unstable health. The fullness toward which all human life is oriented is not in contradiction with any condition of illness and suffering. Hence, the lack of health or the fact of one’s disability are never valid reasons for exclusion or, and what is worse, the elimination of persons. The gravest deprivation experienced by the aged is not the weakening of one’s physical body, nor the disability that may result from this. Rather, it is the abandonment, exclusion and deprivation of love."...

Pope Francis' Statement on Euthanasia

See Also:
Alex Schadenberg: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

The First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is May 2 - 3, 2014 in Minneapolis Minnesota.

• Learn how to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. 
• Learn how Stealth Euthanasia may effect you and your family.
• Become a trained and effective leader.

Speakers: Alex Schadenberg (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition), Bobby Schindler (Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network), Julie Grimstad - (Life is Worth Living), John Kelly (Massachusetts - Not Dead Yet), Nancy Elliott (former New Hampshire representative / EPC - International), Cristen Krebs (Founder - Catholic Hospice), Ryan Verret (Louisiana Center for Medical Ethics), Tim Rosales (Wayne Johnston agency - public affairs), Mary Kellett (Prenatal Partners for Life), Mark Pickup (Disability pro-life speaker).


Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:  The First National Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide