Saturday, May 18, 2019

Doris Day's grandson was 'cut off' from seeing her in her final years by manager

Doris Day with her grandson.Image: Paul Harris/Getty Images
It's been just days since the world said farewell to screen legend Doris Day.

But now, her grandson Ryan Melcher has spoken out about the final years of her life.

Melcher has revealed he was banned from seeing Day over the past few years by her manager - and he only found out about her death on the news and through social media.

"With so many stories reporting on her illustrious life and career, I wanted to share the following in the hopes that other families who have / or who are currently going through what we have will use this as a wake-up call to re-connect, communicate and tell those around them what they mean to them before it’s too late," Melcher said in a statement on Facebook.

"Sadly, due to a divorce that I was thrown into the middle of while still an underaged child, I have not been allowed to see my grandmother for quite some time.

"When I was invited by Doris to dinner a few years ago after my father’s untimely death in November 2004 (melanoma), her new business manager, a former fan, intervened and asked me to meet him at the family owned Cypress Inn here in Carmel, California.

"I was asked by this man: "Why do you want to see Doris?"

"I was shocked not only at the question, but also that it was coming from someone who was a stranger and outsider.

"I just responded, "um....she is my grandmother!"

"He replied, "I'm afraid you aren't going to be able to see your grandmother," citing the divorce between my parents as his excuse.

"Looking back, I should have said more; should have drove to her home and not let a stranger come between us, but unfortunately the tall fences and 24-hour guard under her new business manager's direction prevented me taking a stand and reconnecting with my family.

"She had been so happy to talk to me and we were both excited for our upcoming dinner together just a week before, and this man was clearly manipulating the situation.

"I later learned that the business manager had fired all the longstanding members on my grandma's Foundation board and appointed his direct family as the new board members. It seemed I was not the only one who had been cut out."

Full Article & Source:
Doris Day's grandson was 'cut off' from seeing her in her final years by manager

Man enters plea in abuse by caretaker case

HUNTINGTON - A Huntington man jailed in 2016 after he was accused of physically attacking an incapacitated adult male who was under his care at a behavioral health facility has entered a plea connected to the incident.

Jimmy O'Dell Hardwick pleaded guilty May 2 to felony abuse of an incapacitated adult. Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell agreed to allow Hardwick to enter a deferred adjudication with a year and six months of probation in lieu of a two- to 10-year prison sentence.

If Hardwick successfully completes the probation period, he will be able to exchange his felony plea for a misdemeanor charge. If he fails he will be sent to prison.

Hardwick, a former employee of Starlight Behavioral Health Services, had originally been charged in April 2016 after he was recorded body slamming a client onto a set of stairs in front of a residence in the 800 block of 23rd Street in Huntington.

Hardwick is then reportedly seen on camera dragging the victim into the residence, where the victim was thrown onto a couch.

The criminal complaint says the video shows a few moments later Hardwick pulled the victim from the couch and onto the floor, where he then threw the victim across the room, causing the victim to fall against a second client who was sitting in a chair.

According to the complaint, Hardwick then dragged the victim to another room before dragging him back into the living room, where he is seen wiping sweat from his face onto the victim's face.

Hardwick then reportedly again pulled the victim into another room before returning a short time later with his shirt torn and his pants pulled around his ankles, the criminal complaint said.

In his plea, Hardwick said he "restrained the victim in this case three times" and that the man "sustained red marks on his back."

The criminal case against Hardwick had been delayed for years as a civil case connected to the incident was pending in the circuit court. It has since been dismissed.

Full Article & Source: 
Man enters plea in abuse by caretaker case

Tom Petty's daughters say their late father's wife has illegitimately seized control of his estate

(CNN) - In the latest move in an ongoing back-and-forth over Tom Petty's estate, the late singer's daughters are suing his widow, Dana York Petty.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Adria Petty and Annakim Violette asked for $5 million in damages plus attorney's fees.
The daughters, who are from Petty's first marriage to Jane Benyo, claim that that their father's wife of 16 years hasn't allowed them enough say in how the rocker's estate will be managed.
Petty, whose hits include "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," and "Learning to Fly," died at age 66 in 2017, of an accidental drug overdose, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner's office.
The plaintiff in the suit is Tom Petty Unlimited, a limited liability corporation formed in March 2018 to manage the musician's assets after his death.
The entity controls Petty's rights as a recording artist, composer, publisher and producer and oversees his memorabilia, equipment, musical instruments and other financial assets.
"After countless efforts to resolve this matter amicably and out of court, we could no longer stand idly by and watch Dana disrespect Tom's wishes, his music and his legacy," Alex Weingarten, the lawyer representing the daughters, said in a statement to CNN.
Petty's daughters assert in the lawsuit that Petty gave equal responsibility over his estate to them and York Petty. The daughters accuse York Petty of "gross mismanagement" of Tom Petty Unlimited, according to the lawsuit
The lawsuit says York Petty has caused the daughters to lose out on business opportunities through her "exploitation of master recordings" Tom Petty made with a range of companies, including MCA Records, Geffen Records, and Warner Music Group.
The lawsuit also says York Petty created a competing company, known as Tom Petty Legacy, "to usurp Plaintiff's business opportunities and misappropriate its assets."
In a statement to CNN, York Petty's attorney, Adam Streisand, called the lawsuit "misguided and meritless." 
He said the "lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate. Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband's legacy."
In a legal filing last month, York Petty's lawyers wrote that Petty's daughters were trying to "rule by majority," in the three-person partnership, and thereby diminish York Petty's power.
Among the complaints in that 270-page filing, York Petty's lawyers wrote that Adria Petty's "erratic behavior has made it exceedingly -- and increasingly -- difficult to carry on business." The filing alleged Adria had "threatened the Trust's business dealings and important relationships with the Heartbreakers, Tom's record labels...and Tom's longstanding management team."
York Petty's filing also asked the court to designate a professional manager to manage Petty's assets along with York Petty and his daughters.

Full Article & Source:
Tom Petty's daughters say their late father's wife has illegitimately seized control of his estate

Friday, May 17, 2019

Health care worker charged with 11 more murders of elderly women in Dallas area

The health care worker who prompted the investigation of hundreds of deaths of elderly patients has been charged with 11 more murders.

Billy Chemirmir, 46, was already being held on a charge of murdering a woman in March 2018, but he is now facing 12 counts of murder as well as a handful of attempted murder charges.

Chemirmir worked as a home health care aide in a number of cities in north Texas.

All of the women were killed by being smothered with a pillow, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.

Chemirmir was indicted on six new murders in Dallas County this week, according to jail records.

Dallas County Jail Billy Chemirmir, 46, has been charged with the death of 12 
elderly women in Dallas and Collin counties, Texas, and may face more charges 
as officials investigate hundreds of deaths.more +

The health care worker has now been charged with killing Phyllis Payne, 91, on May 14, 2016; Phoebe Perry, 94, on June 5, 2016; Norma French, 85, on Oct. 8, 2016; Doris Gleason, 92, on Oct. 29, 2016; Rosemary Curtis, 76, on Jan. 17, 2018; and Mary Brooks on Jan. 31, 2018.

He was already charged with the murder of Lu Thi Harris, 81, in Dallas County last year.

Chemirmir was also charged with five murders in Collin County, a northeast suburb of Dallas, including Plano, on Tuesday, according to jail records.

The details of those murders have not been released.

Chemirmir is also being held on three attempted murder charges in Dallas County and two attempted murder charges in Collin County.

He is being held in Dallas County jail on $9.1 million bond.

Texas Department of Public Safety Lu Thi Harris, 81, of Dallas, was found 
murdered in her bedroom in March 2018.Billy Chemirmir, a home health aide, 
has been charged with the crime.more +

He also has an immigration hold against him filed in Dallas County. Chemirmir is a citizen of Kenya, WFAA reported.

When Chemirmir's alleged murder of Harris was announced last year, Dallas Police Department Executive Assistant Chief of Police David Pughes said his department would look into at least 750 similar cases to determine if Chemirmir was involved.

"It will be a monumental task," Pughes said at a press conference in March 2018. "But we’re up for the challenge and we’re gonna make sure we check each and every case."

Chemirmir was arrested last March on an outstanding warrant, but police officers also observed him throwing a jewelry box into a dumpster in Plano, and traced the valuables to the home of Harris. Inside, she was found dead from smothering, police said.

Full Article & Source:
Health care worker charged with 11 more murders of elderly women in Dallas area

Wisconsin has 60 one-star nursing home facilities

By: Kristin Byrne

Elizabeth Parker said her 69-year-old mother, Susan Mcavoy, had her toe amputated, and for rehabilitation, the hospital sent her to Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center.

“I look over and saw a bug crawling across the bedspread,” said Mcavoy.

“I said, ‘Oh, no. I’m out of here,” she continued.

“She said, 'Please don't leave me here,' and she was bawling,” said Parker.

Parker removed her mom from the home after one hour.

The I-team went through public inspection reports for this facility. In 2017, an inspector noted on the third shift of the dementia unit, “… there is only one CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) for all 19 residents with dementia.”

The director of the dementia unit told inspectors it’s a safety risk having only one CNA and that he “asked management for another CNA on third shift but that request was denied.”

Federal guidelines don’t require a specific staffing ratio. That same year, the inspector noted, a resident suffered a broken shoulder and it was not immediately reported. According to documents, the CNA on staff did not report the injury because “she thought the nurse knew about it.”

These public inspection reports are easily accessed online for any Medicare-certified facility in the country. But what’s not posted online are complaints of abuse and neglect. Since the start of 2018, the state received almost 2,000 complaints about nursing homes throughout Wisconsin.
“I look over and saw a bug crawling across the bedspread.” — former nursing home resident Susan Mcavoy
In an open records request, TODAY’S TMJ4 I-team came across reports of caregivers at different nursing homes “leaving the resident on the toilet,” and another caregiver “harassed and intimidated a resident by shining a flashlight in the resident's eyes." Other cases say caregivers "... took money from residents on different occasions" and ..."stole narcotic medication from a resident."

The I-team crunched the numbers and uncovered since 2016 Wisconsin nursing homes have paid about $7 million in federal fines for all penalties.

In 2017, Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center was fined $26,000 because "... the facility did not provide appropriate treatment and services to address a resident's mental disorder ..." and for not monitoring a patient with a documented medical issue that resulted in a hospital admission.

The I-team called Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center several times, but we have not received a call back.

Parker says after her experience, she decided it was best for her mom to stay at home.

“There is quality of life, and we're entitled to have it,” said Mcavoy.

Full Article & Source:
Wisconsin has 60 one-star nursing home facilities

Lawyers for seniors urge guardianship reform

A group of legal advocates for seniors is calling for major changes to guardianship laws following an investigative report that found extensive flaws in the way one state handles its background checks and appointments — leaving many nursing home residents, among others, vulnerable to exploitation.

Guardians are commonly used to manage the affairs of incapacitated individuals, incuding many seniors. One study found that more than 12% of guardianship requests come from nursing homes caring for the elderly.

But in Pennsylvania — where a single guardian serving more than 100 seniors was recently charged with multiple felonies related to stealing from them — the state does not provide an attorney to help ferry those in need through the guardian selection process.

“Few legal proceedings have more impact on an individual’s fundamental rights and liberties,” a group of attorneys led by Karen C. Buck, executive director of SeniorLAW Center, wrote this week. “That’s why Pennsylvania needs a right to counsel for people facing guardianship proceedings, as well as reforms to protect the health and safety of individuals deemed incapacitated.”

In addition to providing free counsel, Buck said the state’s General Assembly should require professional guardians serving three or more clients to obtain certification, pass a criminal-background check and comply with professional and ethical standards. The legislature has failed to act on bills introduced in the last two years.

Buck pointed to a hearing Monday in which a guardian was removed from dozens of cases after failing to account for $127,607 belonging to a client. The woman died in a suburban Philadelphia nursing home in February but her estate remains in limbo.

Buck said such stories are emblematic of a “cycle of guardianship abuse that has reached crisis levels nationwide.”

Full Article & Source:
Lawyers for seniors urge guardianship reform

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Attorney tells jury Kim Birge stole more than $1 million from Savannah victims

An attorney for 11 victims of former Chatham County Probate Court Clerk Kim Birge on Monday told jurors that his clients lost more than $409,000 to her theft while she traveled and gambled with the proceeds and she drove Chevettes.

Those sums were among the $1 million Birge stole from the court over an eight-year period from children who had lost their parents, the elderly or physically injured or mentally handicapped, attorney Brent Savage told a Chatham County State Court jury empaneled to hear the civil case.

Included among those victims were several people who lost their husbands and fathers in the Feb. 8, 2008, fire and explosion at the Savannah Sugar Refinery in Port Wentworth that killed 14 and injured dozens more.

But attorney Walter Ballew, who represents Birge, told the jurors that people who knew Birge were “shocked by her conduct” which he blamed on opioid and gambling addictions that spun out of control.

If you were going to steal, Ballew told jurors, “You don’t keep it, and you don’t tell anybody.”

Testimony begins May 14 before visiting Senior State Court Judge Orin Douglass and the jury.

Federal court conviction

Birge, 64, was not in court. She remains incarcerated in a federal prison in West Virginia where she is serving a six-year term after pleading guilty in federal court on July 31, 2015, to stealing $232,000 from the Probate Court as part of a scheme in which the government said she stole more than $750,000 over a three-year period.

She also was ordered to make restitution of more than $750,000 for her admission to stealing $232,000 from the Probate Court. As part of the plea to the mail fraud count, prosecutors dismissed the remaining counts in the indictment.

A pre-sentencing investigation identified 33 individual victims, two estates and Chatham County Probate Court that suffered losses as the result of her conduct.

U.S. District Judge William T. Moore, Jr., said 36 victims suffered actual losses, adding that none of the funds ever belonged to the court. He set the actual restitution in the case at $751,715.95.

Chatham County officials contend Birge stole $890,000 from individuals and another $113,000 from Chatham County.

Then Probate Judge Harris Lewis placed Birge on investigative suspension without pay Nov. 20, 2014, during a probe of “discrepancies ” in the court. She was fired on Dec. 2, 2014.

Civil court opening statements

Savage, using a series of enlarged exhibits, told jurors that the case was not about whether Birge stole the money or how much, but about damages for pain and suffering after victims found out the money was gone from the court, punitive damages to punish and deter past and future conduct and attorney’s fees.

He said the largest sum taken from his clients was $236,384 from Matthew Drayton, then age 9, whose mother died of a heart attack.

In furtherance of her scheme, Birge wrote a series of 342 checks to cash, then pocketed the money, Savage said.

“She pockets it and it’s their money,” he told jurors.

With that money, Birge traveled to Las Vegas 10 times; Florida, at least 50 times; and Biloxi, Mississippi.

And, he added, Birge put her residence in a trust to herself in 2010.

He said the first knowledge of Birge’s activities was in 2008 when she stole $190,000 from the estate of a man.

When she was asked on deposition if she had abused the office of chief clerk, Savage said she responded, “Those are your words... I will have to think about it.’”

Savage told jurors the case would be completed in two days, but that it has taken five years to get to this point.

Ballew told jurors they would hear from Birge via a video deposition taken in prison.

The veteran of 37 years with the court was the “primary breadwinner” for her family who suffered from her own health issues that required pain killers that, over time, she became addicted to, Ballew said.

She was also a “pathological gambler” whose “life began to spiral downward.”

Birge was writing checks for $2,900 payable to cash more than 200 times, some two times a day. “No reasonable person can think they are going to get away with that,” Ballew said. “She’s been punished. She is sorry, very sorry.”

Full Article & Source:
Attorney tells jury Kim Birge stole more than $1 million from Savannah victims

Governor promises reform following 5 On Your Side Investigation into exploitation of the elderly

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is promising to reform the state’s oversight and regulation of home health care agencies and caregivers that often leaves the elderly vulnerable to financial exploitation.

Full Article & Source:
Governor promises reform following 5 On Your Side Investigation into exploitation of the elderly

Why you're never too young for a power of attorney


Although we all like to make our own decisions, there may come a time when we no longer have that luxury. If that happens, a power of attorney is an important document to have, says Shawn Pierson, owner of the Law Office of Shawn Pierson, Lititz.

“There is a great probability that the majority of us will be unable to make financial or health care decisions at some point in our lives,” Pierson says. “As we live longer, this probability increases.”

Luckily, he says, there are plenty of tools available to plan for how to handle decision-making after an accident, during an illness or in the event of mental incapacity.

There are three types of power of attorney: financial (the most commonly used, Pierson says), limited (designed for a specific purpose) and health care (often accompanied by a living will).

A power of attorney is important, says David R. Morrison, attorney at law with Elder Law Associates in Lancaster, because if you don’t have one, a guardian must be appointed to make decisions, and the decisions may not be ones you’d have chosen for yourself.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a young adult, single, married or elderly, Pierson says. A power of attorney is important for anyone over 18.

“It is never too early to put this document into place. However, it can be too late if we become incapacitated before signing our POA,” he says. “If we don’t have this document, this creates a difficult situation where no one has the legal ability to assist us in making decisions and may result in the need to pursue the costly and time-consuming guardianship process through a court.”

Designating someone as your power of attorney requires finding someone you trust and who is available in an instant if quick decisions need to be made, Morrison says.

“For a medical power of attorney, it helps (if the person) lives nearby and knows you well,” he says. “For a financial power of attorney, the person does not have to live nearby, but must be trustworthy and competent.”

The person you choose, known as your agent, should be chosen carefully, Pierson says.

“Always have back up agents,” he says, “so if your primary agent becomes unavailable, your backup agent can step in.”

He also advises reviewing a power of attorney document carefully before signing it and asking questions of the attorney preparing it.

“Your document should only give the powers you want your agent to have,” he says. “This is a powerful planning tool. Care should be taken that you are giving proper powers — you decide what is proper — to your trusted and chosen agent.”

Finally, he says, when it comes to a financial power of attorney, decide whether it’s immediately effective (most are, he says) or is only in effect upon a triggering event — and you get to decide the event.

“There is no requirement that an attorney prepare the POA,” Pierson says. “However, using a form document off the internet or from an office supply store will almost certainly leave you with a document that does not meet your goals and may even give power that leads to you being subject to financial exploitation or abuse.”

For this reason, he advises consulting an attorney who regularly prepares power of attorney documents.

He also advises updating your power of attorney regularly.

“While powers of attorney generally do not have ‘end dates,’ they can lose efficiency over time due to our own personal situation or changes in the law,” Pierson says. “You should update your POA as your circumstances change, such as the need to change your agents. Consider reviewing your document at least annually and contact the attorney who prepared the document if you have questions or need to make changes.”

Above all, he says, do not wait to set up a power of attorney.

“Remember, a POA will likely become your most important legal document as it allows you to exert control over an uncertain future,” he says. “Don’t wait to put this essential tool in place.”

Full Article & Source: 
Why you're never too young for a power of attorney

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Tim Conway dead at age 85, celebrities react on social media

Tim Conway died on Tuesday morning in Long Angeles after a battle with a long illness. He was 85 years old.

The six-time Emmy-winning comedian and actor was known for his characters on "The Carol Burnett Show,” "Rango" and "Ace Crawford Private Eye." He also voiced the animated Barnacle Boy on “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

His daughter, Kelly, told Fox News on Tuesday her father is "at peace now."

"The love he gave us, and the laughter he gave the world will never be replaced, but will be remembered forever," Kelly told continued. "He is at peace now but I will miss him every second of every day until we meet again in heaven.

Not long after the news, celebrity friends and fans alike immediately took to social media to mourne the loss of the comedy icon.

"I cry laughing ....tears streaming...with almost every one of his sketches. RIP to the magnificent Tim Conway," wrote actress Rhea Seehorn.

"Tim Conway, Comedian and 'Carol Burnette Show' Star Has Left For Paris," wrote RuPaul.

"Sad to read of the passing of Tim Conway. Both Tim AND Harvey Korman couldn't have been any nicer AND funnier. Now together again making each other laugh. RIP," Marlee Matlin wrote.

You were always my favorite comedian. Thank you #TimConway for all the laughter over the years. RIP dear one," Kristy Swanson said.

"RIP to Tim Conway who was always always always always funny!" wrote comedian Larry Wilmore.

"So sad to hear of the passing of #TimConway at 85. His Dentist sketch with Harvey Korman on the #CarolBurnett  Show is still one of the funniest 9:00 you will watch on TV. Do yourself a favor and watch in his honor," Al Roker said.

A tribute was posted from late actress Rose Marie's account, which is run by her daughter.

"So sad to hear about Tim Conway. "Discovering" Tim and managing him for a time, was a source of tremendous pride for Mother. He was, after all, one of the funniest men on the planet! My heart goes out to his family," it read.

"Watching Tim Conway destroy his cast mates is pure joy. Wait until Vicki Lawrence’s a-bomb ad-lib at the end. #RIPTimConway," Patton Oswalt wrote.

Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.  

Full Article & Source:
Tim Conway dead at age 85, celebrities react on social media

Detective: Nursing home killers suffocated up to a dozen patients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Newly released court documents in the fight to keep Alpine Manor Nursing Home killer Catherine Wood in prison reveal startling new details about the 1987 murders: that she and her accomplice tried to kill at least 10 elderly patients, not just the five they were charged with killing.

On Friday, the lead detective in the case also revealed for the first time that he believes they suffocated more patients than previously reported at the former nursing home in Walker.

"She (Wood) thought there were approximately a dozen or so victims at Alpine Manor. Actually killed," retired Walker Detective Sgt. Tom Freeman told 24 Hour News 8.

He based that, he said, on months working with and interviewing Wood.

Initial reports had listed as many as eight possible victims.

Wood told investigators at the time that her accomplice, Gwendolyn Graham, "killed five female patients and tried at least five others, but was unsuccessful because some of the elderly men and women fought back," according to Wood's never-before-released presentence report.

"She and Graham talked of spelling MURDER with the victims' initials but they abandoned that plan after some of the slayings failed," the report states.

Freeman said details about other possible murders were never released because prosecutors could prove only five — the deaths of Mae Mason, 79, Edith Cole, 89; Marguerite Chambers, 60; Myrtle Luce, 95; and Belle Burkhard, 74.

Graham, now 55, was convicted in those deaths and is serving life in prison without parole.

Wood, now 57, got a deal and a 20- to 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. She has served nearly 30 years of that sentence and must be released by June 2021.

"If it wasn't for that deal, Gwen Graham would probably have been loose today," Freeman said.

The Michigan Department of Corrections parole board ordered Wood's release in September, saying she was no longer a menace to society. The board said that she accepts responsibility, has behaved well in prison and has support from family or community members.

That led to a lawsuit filed by victims' families, who allege the parole board abused its discretion. They wonder what's changed since 2016, when the board denied her release, fearing she'd be a menace to society.

The families argue she hasn't taken responsibility, played a much bigger role in the deaths, and fear she'd kill again.

"Serial killers don't quit," said John Engman, the son-in-law of victim Mae Mason.

Wood claimed she was only a lookout and that Graham suffocated the patients with wash cloths. The killings, Wood said, were meant to cement the relationship between her and Graham.

The two were later dubbed the "Lethal Lovers" and the "Angels of Death." The story has been told in books and in documentaries.

The retired detective said he believes Wood was more involved with the murders than she admitted.

Records show Wood, if released, plans to live with her sister in South Carolina, maybe work at an animal shelter. "Do not want to go back to Grand Rapids where it may scare the community, even though her daughter still lives there," records quoted Wood as saying.

"She's close to her sister," Freeman said. "It probably would be best for her and best for the community."

Freeman said he believes she's served enough time and wouldn't kill again.

But the families of the victims fear she'd kill again.

"Is it any more of a threat to people in our society to have a serial killer lose in another community and just say just not ours?" Engman said.

A hearing is set for June 3 before Kent County Circuit Court Judge J. Joseph Rossi, who will decide if the parole board abused its discretion, or if Wood should be set free.

Full Article & Source:
Detective: Nursing home killers suffocated up to a dozen patients

Bill inspired by Blair Manor closure clears Judiciary Committee

HARTFORD — A bill that seeks to give nursing home residents a stronger voice during receivership processes unanimously cleared the legislature’s Judiciary Committee this week.

The bill, introduced by Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, is a response to the way in which Blair Manor, a now-shuttered Enfield nursing home, was closed in a state-controlled receivership last year without residents or their family members having an opportunity to voice their concerns before the court.

Within six months of the facility’s closure, 18 former Blair Manor residents died, eight of them in just over a month after they were relocated from the facility. Several family members, nurses, and an expert familiar with the circumstances of the situation said the stress of relocating — known as transfer trauma — likely played a role in some of those deaths.

Prior to the closure, Blair Manor nurses and family members of residents voiced concerns about transfer trauma, and other issues they had with the receivership process before the Enfield Town Council, but were not given a chance to be heard in court.

In a receivership, in which a legally appointed receiver takes control of a struggling facility and makes a determination as to whether it is viable enough to continue operating under new ownership, no public hearing is required. In a certificate of need process, in which the state has the power to approve or deny a facility’s request to add or eliminate a service, a public hearing must be held within 30 days of the request.

Kissel’s bill, Senate Bill 1088, passed out of the committee as a “joint favorable substitute,” meaning the language of the bill would be subsequently changed. The substitute language requires a judge to allow a resident to be heard during a receivership proceeding without requiring them to apply to be a party to the case.

The initial language of the bill had called for residents and their guardians to be notified in writing prior to the closure of any nursing home facility, and be fully informed of the circumstances of the closure, important dates, and their right to an appeal hearing. The earlier version also sought to prevent the court from granting an application for the appointment of a receiver unless the court has received evidence that the consultative process between a resident, guardian, and facility representative has taken place.

Many people, including Mairead Painter, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, praised the intent of the bill, but disagreed with the bill’s content. Speaking during a public hearing before the committee April 3, Painter said that the bill essentially put the cart before the horse, as a receiver’s initial appointment doesn’t involve the involuntary transfer of nursing home residents.

“Prior to the completion of a viability study, which is completed by the receiver, we would not know if the nursing home will be able to be sold or if it will move toward closure,” she said. “We would be unable to give the resident or authorized representative the accurate information needed to make an informed decision at that time.”

Painter added that in every receivership or potential closure of a nursing home, her office, as well as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services communicate regularly, and hold informational meetings at the nursing home for residents and their representatives. Painter also said that if a nursing home is found to be not viable, residents are provided protections and appeal rights, including a hearing.

The Social Services Department also disputed the necessity of the earlier version of the bill in written testimony submitted to the committee. The department said the bill was “unnecessary” because the current statutes already require facilities to provide residents with sufficient notice prior to any transfer or discharge. The department also said the potential delay caused by the consultative process before appointing a receiver could “be more harmful to a facility and its residents,” as receivers are appointed in emergency situations, and such an appointment is necessary to allow the department to pass Medicaid funds to the facility to keep it operating.

At the April 3 hearing, Kissel thanked Painter and the others who submitted testimony, and vowed to work with them to reach a solution “we all can live with.” Kissel said that at the least, people deserve a right to be heard.

“It doesn’t take a lot to afford people simple human dignity to be able to express themselves in a proceeding,” he said.

At the Judiciary Committee’s meeting Monday, Kissel said the new language of the bill had been negotiated, and thought they had ended up with a “good product.”

Full Article & Source:
Bill inspired by Blair Manor closure clears Judiciary Committee

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

From The Silver Standard’s Elder Abuse Reform Now Project: Sorry, Wrong Number

Keniel Aeon Thomas was a happy man. He lived on the beautiful island of Jamaica basking in the sun and happily running a small home business hat was doing very well. He had no office rent to pay and, using only his telephone and email, Keniel’s business was going so well that he made a profit of at least $300,000 in a relatively short amount of time.

Keniel Aeon Thomas was a scam artist. He had scammed more than 30 victims. Something that is fairly common on the beautiful island of Jamaica. They target elderly people who come from a generation that instinctually trust others and want to help anyone in need and, more often than not, get away with their scams because these crimes are very difficult to prosecute due to the need for extradition

But, one morning, in 2014, Eniel Thomas called the wrong man. On the other end of his line was… a federal district and appellate court judge in the 1970s, then was appointed by Pres. Jimmy Carter to be director of the FBI and, in 1987, head of the CIA—in fact, the only person to ever hold both of those job. In addition, this man, Judge William Webster, currently chairs the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Keniel Thomas told Judge Weber that he had just won $72 million and a new Mercedes Benz. He explained that the judge would need to send $50,000 to cover taxes and fees before the winnings would be released to him.

“You’re a great man…. you was a judge, you was an attorney, you was a basketball player, you are in the U.S. Navy, Homeland Security, I know everything about you. I even seen your photograph, and I seen your precious wife” Thomas told the judge. What Keniel Thomas did not know was that the next call was being monitored by the FBI…. Judge Webster told the man that “I am as anxious as you are to get the money” but, that it would take a while for him to collect that much money.

Thomas told him that he could send it in various payments, with a first payment of $20,000. Then he lowered the number

Thomas called numerous times, identity himself as David Morgan, a manager with Megamillion. The judge asked him to stop calling, but Thomas continued and then began sending email (more than 20 emails). Judge Webster noticed email address identified him as not David Morgan.

One day Judge Weber’s wife Lynda answered the phone and the calls became threatening. She was told that she needed to pay $6,000 “or else”. Thomas told her that he knew that one had been at home with her the previous night. He further threatened to find her at “her white brick house” and “put a bullet straight through her head”. He said it would be “so easy that we go set your house ablaze…you can be taken care of easy” He also bragged that the FBI would never find him, and she needed to pay or she and her husband would be killed

Finally, in 2017, Keniel Thomas took a trip to New York City and the FBI grabbed him as he exited his flight from Jamaica. He pled guilty and, just a few weeks ago, went on trial.

Under normal circumstances the prison term for this sort of crime is 33 to 41 months. However, US District Judge Beryl Howell added 2 ½ years for a total of six years saying the scam qualified as organized criminal activity and the scammer presented a threat to the family members of the victim.
In court Thomas addressed the Websters saying “I really didn’t mean to hurt you guys and… we (referring to Jamaicans) love you guys, we love tourists”

His lawyer said he was disappointed by the 30 months added to Thomas’ sentence and said he was considering an appeal

From the bench, Judge Howell Addressed Judge and Mrs. Webster, saying “You continue your public service it is a real honor to have you in my court”

Jamaican based scamming has become big business in the last years. They frequently target older more vulnerable citizens and, in many cases, completely destroy their lives. Scammers pass around cell phone numbers, which is why the Webster’s continued to receive calls even after the arrest
Running scams on numerous victims these criminals launder the money by having one victim send money to a second victim before it is sent to Jamaica. A man in California told the FBI that he received certified checks in exchange for sending $85,000 for the “taxes and fees”. Not surprisingly, the certified checks all bounce.

A 75-year-old woman, receiving one of these call for man in the 876-area code (Jamaica) and having been previously warned about this sort of scam, told the man she wasn’t interested. But, before she could hang up, he began threatening her, telling her he knew where she lived and that he would put a bullet in her head.

Frightened, she told him she didn’t have any money and again hung up. He called back saying he knew she lived alone, and she would be killed. Finally, she called her cell phone company to have the number blocked and then called her local sheriff’s department.

In yet another case, an 82-year-old woman from Californian said that the man who called her identified himself as “Obama” on the phone. She sent him $600,000 in one year. A California man paid 87,000. An 85-year-old man lost his home and lifesaving. A woman in North Dakota lost more than $300,000. A man in Knoxville Tennessee committed suicide after sending thousands to a Jamaican group according to a report on CNN. Another woman received an email saying if she didn’t pay $3,000 by a certain time, members of her family would be murdered. The email stated… “we know who you are, we know where you live, we’ve been tracking you, we know your schedule, we know where you spend your time.

A California woman received a phone call one morning while she was driving to work. The man on the phone said they had abducted her mother and they were going to kill her if she did not pay. She could hear her mother’s voice in the background on the other end of the phone which made her believe that this was true. She was told to go to a nearby grocery store and put the money into a money pack card. She was then to give the man the card numbers over the phone and then destroy the card. He said they would release her mother after they got the money and received email pictures of the destroyed money card.

Somehow this call got cut off at which point the woman called her mother and the mother answered the phone. It turned out the scammer had also called the woman’s mother frightening her with a story of having kidnapped her daughter in order to obtain her frightened voice for the daughter to hear.
He did not call back.

She said she never answered phone call she did not recognize, didn’t answer block numbers, and often let people leave voicemails before she picked up. However, this call appeared to be from her mother. She said, “If it could happen to me, it can happen to anyone”.

Law enforcement says that when people get calls like this they should immediately hang up and call law enforcement. The FBI recommends that, if you get an email like this, you should not respond. Your response shows the scammer that your account is active and that will attract further contact from scammers.

Frank Abagnale, the con artist who inspired Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Catch Me if You Can, says that things have gotten “4000 times easier” for scammers today than when he committed his crime. He, along with all law enforcement, says that we give out far too much of our personal information especially on the Internet

Mrs. Webster said that the FBI is doing wonderful work with this sort of crime and that she and her husband had chosen to speak publicly as a way to draw attention to frauds targeting older people.
The California woman, targeted with a fake kidnaping scam, was correct when she said, “If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone” We must educate ourselves about scams and financial elder abuse. These crimes will only come to an end when we are an informed, alert, and cautious citizenry.

Full Article & Source:
From The Silver Standard’s Elder Abuse Reform Now Project:  Sorry, Wrong Number

JOIN The EARN Project

Pa. needs to reform guardianship system | Opinion Updated: May 13, 2019 - 5:30 AM

Karen C. Buck, Pamela Walz and Sam Brooks, For The Inquirer
MARK C. PSORAS / For The Inquirer
Imagine a legal proceeding where all of your rights are taken from you and given to someone else. You may have never met that person who now controls your life decisions. You likely did not have an attorney representing you and you may not even have been present at the hearing. Suddenly you have no control over your money, your home, or possessions, where you live, who you interact with, or what health care you receive. Sounds like incarceration, right? It’s not. You aren’t being accused of a crime, and in Pennsylvania, if you can’t afford an attorney, you have no right to have one appointed to represent you.

Unfortunately, this happens to Pennsylvanians all too often. It’s called “guardianship,” and few legal proceedings have more impact on an individual’s fundamental rights and liberties. That’s why Pennsylvania needs a right to counsel for people facing guardianship proceedings, as well as reforms to protect the health and safety of individuals deemed incapacitated.

Guardianship can be an important legal tool for very vulnerable, severely cognitively impaired individuals who need someone — usually a trusted family member — to step in to make financial, medical, and other decisions, if they are unable to do so. But guardianship should only be used when other less restrictive ways of supporting a person are not available. That’s because it is ripe for abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the wrong hands.

Recent reporting by the Inquirer revealed that a court-appointed guardian, who had control of hundreds of elderly people’s lives and finances, had previously been convicted of financial fraud and forgery. She was removed from that role, and the courts found she had misappropriated the funds of people for whom she was caring. Last month, she was arrested on multiple felony charges stemming from those thefts.

There are about 1.3 million adult guardianships in the U.S., which control over $50 billion in assets — and the guardianship abuse and exploitation exposed by The Inquirer is not unique. In Nevada, a professional guardian and her colleagues faced over 250 felony charges for exploiting over 150 vulnerable individuals under their watch. “She was not a guardian to me,” said one of her victims, “she did not protect me. As each day passed, I felt like I was in a grave, buried alive.” This guardian was arrested, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 16 to 40 years in prison. At her sentencing, a Las Vegas courtroom was packed with victims and relatives of those who died under her watch and those too ill or weak to attend as a result of her actions. Stories like these are emblematic of a cycle of guardianship abuse that has reached crisis levels nationwide.

Fixing this in Pennsylvania begins with ensuring individuals facing guardianship proceedings have a lawyer to advocate for their wishes and represent their interests. Unlike the great majority of other states, in Pennsylvania there is no right to have an attorney appointed in a guardianship case. As a result, people facing a guardianship proceeding are often unrepresented because they are unable to afford or find one or do not have the opportunity to do so. This results in people going to court alone to fight for their most fundamental rights of freedom and autonomy, with no legal support, and having to face an opposing party that is represented by a seasoned attorney.

Legislation has been introduced in each session of the General Assembly for the past several years to improve Pennsylvania’s guardianship law. Beyond creating a right to counsel in these cases, the General Assembly should ensure that unqualified individuals cannot be appointed guardians. Specifically, professional guardians who serve three or more individuals should be required to obtain certification, to pass a criminal-background check, and to comply with professional and ethical standards. The time has come for Pennsylvania to make sure vulnerable adults have legal counsel and that safeguards are in place to ensure professional guardians fulfill their important responsibilities.

Nevada, where abusive guardians once reigned, is now the gold standard for guardianship law in the nation. In Nevada, every individual facing or in guardianship is now appointed a nonprofit legal aid attorney to protect her rights and ensure his or her voice is heard, throughout the duration of the guardianship. These attorneys do not bill the individual or their estate and have no economic conflict. Their only interest is the well-being of their client. Surely vulnerable Pennsylvanians deserve the same.

Karen C. Buck is executive director of SeniorLAW Center. Pamela Walz and Sam Brooks are supervising attorneys in the aging and disabilities unit at Community Legal Services

Full Article & Source:
Pa. needs to reform guardianship system | Opinion

Commentary: Nursing home residents have the right to refuse medications

As a nursing home resident, you have the right to make your own decision regarding your care. That includes which medicines or treatments you take. You have the right to ask questions about all your medicines, and to receive answers to your questions. You have the right to refuse any medications, even if your doctor, nursing home, family, or legal guardian agree you should take the medication.

Sometimes doctors will prescribe certain medicines to control behavior or mood because the staff thinks someone is being difficult. This is called a Chemical Restraint, and there are regulations against using medicine this way. The FDA warns against them especially for people with dementia, because they increase the risk of life-threating side effects or even death.

According to the FDA approximately 15,000 nursing home residents die each year from being given unnecessary medications or medications to chemically restrain them.

The Joint Commission Campaign states: If you do not want to take a medication remember to SPEAK UP

S: Say what is on your mind. State your concerns if you do not recognize a certain medication or a new medication.

P: Pay attention to the medications you are given to prevent potential errors.

E: Educate yourself on what medications you take and your treatment plans. Your doctor is required to tell you and your family about any new medicines, or any medicine changes, and the reason for the changes.

A: Ask questions. Ask someone you trust to help you talk to the nursing home if you aren’t comfortable by yourself.

K: Know all about your medications. Talk to your doctor about the reasons for the medicines. You have the right to read and understand all the instructions and side effects before you take anything.

U: Use a quality provider you trust. You have the right to get a second opinion from another doctor. Always make the choice that is best for you.

P: Participate in all decisions made about you and your care. Nursing homes have regular meetings about your care, and you and your family have a right to participate in those meetings.

If you have any questions about your medications, or any of the care you receive at your nursing home, you can contact your Ombudsman to help you. Your Ombudsman is an advocate for you, and only you.

Your Ombudsman is:
Waynanne Caudill
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass
District LTC Ombudsman
546 East Main Street Ste #1
Morehead, KY 40351
606-674-8921 ext 2127

Full Article & Source:
Commentary: Nursing home residents have the right to refuse medications

Monday, May 13, 2019

Tonight on Marti Oakley's TS Radio Network: Voting by Dead Seniors, Part 1

9:00 CST .....  Guest: Charles Pascal Part 1

It seems as though guardians, attorneys and political operatives have a never ending agenda on how to capitalize on unsuspecting seniors....even after they die. Remember the news reports about finding votes from people who had passed away? Guess how most of them got there! And guess who made sure that all got swept under the rug. Ever wonder why when a senior has all their Constitutional rights stripped away under guardianship...they leave their right to vote in tact? That's so they can keep voting even after they die.

The voting fraud network is communicated to political bundlers whose job is to gather votes. The foundation is now built to create a giant voting machine. The fraud is comprised of two parts, undocumented aliens voting and dead seniors who are conscripted through their death to vote for things they never believed in or wanted. Did you ever ask the question about how certain bonds got approved? Such as California's twenty billion dollar train to nowhere that is no longer.

These things were passed with votes that came from bundlers who work with law firms. Certain law firms put the bundlers in touch with the guardians. The bundlers give the guardians voting instructions. The guardians compile the lists and then are paid a fee by the bundlers.

Certain retirement facilities give guardians kickbacks for putting patients into their facility. This shows that the entire guardian industry is one filled with corruption and kickbacks. The voter fraud is just one part of what is considered as normal in a guardian’s day of doing business.

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Attorney General Becerra: Owner of Elder Care Facility in San Luis Obispo Convicted Following the Death of Patient with Dementia

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that Christopher Skiff, owner and licensee of the Manse on Marsh Residential Care Facility for the Elderly in San Luis Obispo, has been convicted and sentenced following the death of a patient with dementia. Last month, after a four-week jury trial, Skiff was convicted of elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a resident in the care of the facility. On December 21, 2014, 65-year-old Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, who suffered from dementia, went missing from the Manse facility for several hours. He was found ten miles away, having been accidentally struck by a motorist while crossing the road in the dark. Skiff will no longer be able to operate elder care facilities.

“Today’s sentencing brings justice to the family of Mauricio Edgar Cardenas,” said Attorney General Becerra. “My heart breaks for this family and the tragic loss they had to endure. Elderly patients and their families place the highest level of trust in care facilities and their staff to protect residents, not neglect their needs. My office will vigorously go after facilities that violate the law and endanger the residents they are charged to care for.”

Evidence found that the facility initially refused to admit Cardenas, because it is not licensed to care for residents with medical conditions such as dementia. Aware of Cardenas’ dementia diagnosis, Skiff nonetheless ordered facility staff to find a way to admit him. After Cardenas was improperly admitted as a resident to the Manse, staff repeatedly expressed concerns about Cardenas’ behavior, reporting to Skiff that Cardenas was frequently lost, confused or disoriented, would go missing for hours, and would forget to sign in and out of the log book. Despite these alerts, Skiff failed to have Cardenas transferred to a facility that could provide the higher level of care required.

The California Department of Justice filed a complaint charging Skiff with one felony count of elder abuse, one count of involuntary manslaughter, and special allegations of causing great bodily injury and death. The jury found him guilty as charged. He has been sentenced to 180 days in county jail and five years of felony probation.

Co-defendant Gary Potts, Executive Director of the Manse, was also charged. The case was severed, and Potts's jury trial is currently scheduled to begin on February 27, 2019.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney General Becerra: Owner of Elder Care Facility in San Luis Obispo Convicted Following the Death of Patient with Dementia

Oklahoma bill on guardians for veterans passes House

Legislation broadening the participation qualifications for a program allowing community members to volunteer as guardian for veterans with no available family is heading for the governor after winning passage this week from the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 931, by Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, establishes the Veterans Volunteer Guardianship Act to provide a platform to recruit local volunteers to serve veterans who can no longer manage their own affairs and do not have friends or family members that are able to step in to help.

Court-appointed volunteer guardians will assist disabled veterans by providing continuity of management across a broad spectrum of needs, including finances, personal care, and healthcare. Miller said about 10 percent of Oklahoma veterans do not have family members to help them with significant choices.

Full Article & Source:
Oklahoma bill on guardians for veterans passes House

Home Caregiver ID Badges

The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners has enacted the Home Caregiver Ordinance requiring ID Badges and Level 2 background checks of Home Caregivers. The ordinance will be enforced primarily by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Consumer Affairs Compliance Officers. ID Badges will be issued, and records concerning the badges will be maintained by the Palm Beach County Division of Consumer Affairs.

Completed Home Caregiver Applications will be processed BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

Due to overwhelming demand, Consumer Affairs DOES NOT accept walk-in applications.
Persons wishing to apply may request an appointment here.  

The hours available for appointment are between 8:00AM - 4:00PM.


Full Article & Source:
Home Caregiver ID Badges

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Joining A Choir Can Help Elderly Adults Beat Loneliness


Isabel Heredi took her place among the altos.

“When we sing, we feel this emotion of happiness and enjoyment,” said the member of the 30th Street Older Adult Chorus.

With kind eyes and a voice shimmering with joy, she embodies the conclusion of a recent study called “Community of Voices.”

“We discovered that older adults singing in a choir for six months had a reduction in their feelings of loneliness and also an increase in their interest in life,” said neuroscientist Julene Johnson of the University of California, San Francisco. The university, along with the nonprofit San Francisco Community Music Center and the city’s Department of Aging and Adult Services, tracked 400 older adults in the study.

A previous study at UCSF revealed that people over 60 who felt lonely had a 45% increased risk of death.

“We think that the arts are particularly innovative for helping to improve health inequities in these communities,” said Johnson.

Heredi agreed as she spoke to CNN after choir rehearsal. “Having a schedule, having to go out and enjoy what you are doing is very important, and singing has additional importance because it has an emotional component.”

Choir member Annelise Mitchell says singing has enhanced her social skills.

“I sing in two choirs, so I’m around a lot of people and I’m getting better at talking to people.”

The study resonated so well that the participants continued with their choirs after the research ended.

“We heard from members how the choir had changed their lives and how they wanted and needed to keep singing,” said Maria Cora, older adult program coordinator for the San Francisco Community Music Center.

The organization obtained a grant to keep the music flowing. Cora said some members have extended their musical interest. Singing has emboldened them to learn to read music, play an instrument and even enlist a vocal coach.

Meantime, the National Institutes of Health has funded a manual to help other communities launch their own choirs and spread the same palpable glee Isabel Heredi intones whenever she steps on to the risers.

“I’m so glad to be in this choir,” added Heredi.

Full Article & Source:
Joining A Choir Can Help Elderly Adults Beat Loneliness

Funny Prayer about Getting Old at the Caregiver of the Year Dinner

With the timing of a professional comedian, this diminutive "little old lady" shines a very funny light on the foibles of aging, to the delight of an audience filled with senior-care experts. 

Funny Prayer about Getting Old at the Caregiver of the Year Dinner