Saturday, April 3, 2021

Britney Spears Has Another Very Raw and “Child-Like” Meltdown on Social Media

By Missy Crane

I feel bad for Britney Spears.
She’s the poster-girl for child stars who are used and abused by this sick and twisted Hollywood entertainment regime.

Britney was the “chosen one.” The industry picked her as the next great “sensation” who would sweep the globe…and while that may have been great for a few minutes, it all turned very dark and ugly for the Pop Princess.

As with all great tragedy plot lines – you can’t hit those great highs, without plummeting to very dangerous lows. It’s the natural progression for all these “superstar” sagas.

And every high, and low of Britney’s roller-coaster life was captured on film, or in a photo, or ratted out by so-called “trusted confidants” who sold her secrets for a few bucks.

Well, Britney is all grown-up now, and sadly, she’s still plagued with all the chaos and hyper-focus.

There’s a new “tell-all” documentary out called “Framing Britney Spears.” It’s produced in part by the vultures at the New York Times, so you can only imagine what a hit job it is.

The documentary has been out for a couple of months now, but Britney hasn’t commented on it…Until recently.

And let me tell you, she’s devastated and hurt – she actually admitted that she cried over it – and she didn’t even watch the whole thing – just parts of it.

But she was so embarrassed and hurt at how she was portrayed, that she decided to speak out.

Much of her comments surround a video of her dancing to an Aerosmith song, that was used to mock her.

That seems to be the source of what hurt her most.

Here’s that video:

Britney’s comments on the documentary – that she did not participate in – are very raw, and as with everything “Britney-related,” her comments have that sad, child-like quality that tugs at your heartstrings.

Here’s a snapshot from Britney’s Instagram.

From Decider

Britney Spears is finally breaking her silence about the widely-discussed documentary chronicling her life, Framing Britney Spears. Although the New York Times-produced project dropped nearly two months ago, Spears hasn’t even directly acknowledged its existence — until now. Last night, the pop star posted a message on Instagram sharing her emotional reaction to the documentary.

“I didn’t watch the documentary but from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in,” she wrote alongside a video showing her dancing to Aerosmith’s “Crazy,” per The Hollywood Reporter. “I cried for two weeks and well …. I still cry sometimes … I do what I can in my own spirituality with myself to try and keep my own joy … love … and happiness     !!!!,” she continued. “Every day dancing brings me joy !!! I’m not here to be perfect … perfect is boring … I’m here to pass on kindness   !!!!”

The singer also directly addressed themes included in Framing Britney Spears, specifically commenting on the media obsession surrounding her life and career. “My life has always been very speculated … watched … and judged,” she wrote, adding, “I have been exposed my whole life performing in front of people   !!! It takes a lot of strength to TRUST the universe with your real vulnerability cause I’ve always been so judged… insulted… and embarrassed by the media… and I still am till this day   !!!! As the world keeps on turning and life goes on we still remain so fragile and sensitive as people !!!”

The documentary doesn’t interview Britney or her immediate family, but it does include her longtime assistant, who I guess has sold her privacy out for a few bucks.

“Framing Britney Spears” director Samantha Stark admitted she and her team and the New York Times didn’t interview Britney, because they didn’t know if what she said would be “actually her” because of the conservatorship she’s under.

Well, hey, maybe just don’t do the documentary?

The media loves to do this – they love to lift people up, tear them down, and then talk all about it as if they weren’t actually the driving force behind all of it.

It’s a sick, twisted and evil cycle – and yet another reason why our media needs to be burned down and rebuilt from the ground up.

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Orlando attorney accused of ghosting clients faces possible disbarment

Judge: ‘He has harmed the public, and he has harmed the reputation of the legal system’

– An Orlando area attorney faces possible disbarment after clients claimed he took their money and stopped responding to them.

Justin Infurna did not show up for his own sanctions hearing Monday morning.

The hearing was ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in January after the Florida Bar asked for an emergency suspension of Infurna’s law license. 

The organization submitted complaints from 37 clients and two former employees, and it accused him of violating 92 rules.

Bonnie Grillakis, who testified, Monday, said she was one of Infurna’s clients.

“This is a slam dunk,” she said Infurna told her. “Don’t worry about the other attorneys. I can take care of this.”

Grillakis said she paid Infurna $7,500 to help her with a medical malpractice case after her 9-year-old grandson died.

She said after she paid him, he stopped responding to her.

“Excuse after excuse after excuse. That’s all I ever got,” she said.

Shannon Johnson said he paid Infurna $15,000 to help him with a property issue.

“(He said) that it was a slam dunk case,” he also told a judge at the hearing.

He said Infurna did not file any paperwork in court over a two-year period, and when he wanted his money back, Infurna refused.

“I’m just a working guy. Fifteen-thousand dollars … that hurts,” he said.

Monday’s hearing was designed to see if there was enough evidence to warrant the state Supreme Court to disbar Infurna.

After three hours of testimony, Judge Michelle Naberhaus said she would recommend disbarment.

“Mr. Infurna’s behavior is truly shameful. He has harmed the public, and he has harmed the reputation of the legal system,” she said. “There’s absolutely no doubt about that.”

Naberhaus said clients who filed complaints with the Florida Bar Association and the Florida Supreme Court might be reimbursed out of the Client Security Fund. She also said she wants Infurna to reimburse the fund for any money it pays to his clients.

Her recommendations will be compiled into a report that is due in Tallahassee no later than April 5.

It will be up to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

News 6 contacted Infurna for comment, but he has not responded.

Full Article & Source:

Advocates urge public support for proposed law permitting cameras in Ohio nursing homes

Proposed law sought to protect abuse
Public support urged for nursing home camera law
By: Ron Regan

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Advocates of a proposed state law that would allow placement of cameras inside rooms of nursing home residents say public support is needed to ensure passage.

Senate Bill 58, known as Esther's Law, would allow cameras to be installed in resident's rooms provided they have both the permission of the resident, or guardian as well as any roommate or assigned guardian.

The camera would be clearly displayed and the nursing home would be notified of the installation.

Esther's Law is named after a 78-year-old Cleveland woman who was physically abused by nursing home aides in 2011 and has already successfully moved through a fourth Senate Committee hearing.

The abuse was caught on a hidden camera installed by her son, Steve Piskor, who has been fighting ever since to allow cameras to be installed legally so families can monitor the safety of loved ones and gained support following recent COVID-19 visiting restrictions.

"I wish I would have had this camera," said Piskor. "The chance of my mother being abused would have been very minimal."

SB 58 is sponsored by State Senator Nicki Antonio who says a companion measure, HB 78 is also sponsored by State Representative Juanita Brent.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Health Care Association that represents nursing homes across Ohio says it's working with legislators on changes in the proposed legislation to protect privacy, including turning cameras off during bathing and hygiene and blocking video of others in rooms.

"If those amendments can be included, I don't know that we would support — but we would not opposed — and at least remain neutral," said OHCA Executive Director Peter Van Runkle.

The measure required passage by the Senate before being sent to the House where it would undergo further debate.

Similar legislation was introduced last year but failed, but this time there is more optimism the measure can become law, with public support.

Nine other states have passed similar legislation allowing cameras in nursing homes, including Washington State, where state health officials report "it's really a crucial tool to catch perpetrators."

The public is urged to contact Ohio Senator Nicki Antonio's office, as well as Representative Juanita Brent, to support the legislation.

Full Article & Source:

Friday, April 2, 2021

Britney Spears' dad requests pop star to pay nearly $2 million of his legal fees

An attorney for the pop star recently requested a court to remove Jamie Spears as conservator of her person

By Melissa Roberto

Britney Spears' father has requested the pop star's estate cover the steep costs of his legal fees.

In a declaration recently filed by Jamie Spears' attorneys, the 39-year-old "Toxic" singer's father is requesting her estate cover the costs of nearly $2 million, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Additionally, Jamie is also requesting to be compensated for the time he spent as his daughter's conservator from the period of Nov. 1, 2019 to Feb. 28, 2021, Fox News confirmed. The court doc notes that payments for his time as conservator up to Oct. 31, 2019 have already been approved.

"I am authorized and allowed to receive compensation through my personal services corporation Spears Management, Inc., for services performed as Conservator of the Estate of Britney Jean Spears, in the amount of $16,000 monthly plus $2,000 monthly for the cost of an office space in a secure location that is dedicated to Ms. Spears' activities," Jamie states in the filing.

The court document comes on the heels of Britney's attorney officially requesting that Jodi Montgomery be made her permanent conservator. Britney, via her attorney, also asked that Jamie resign from his position altogether and cited a job well done on behalf of Montgomery. Montgomery was Spears’ acting conservator while Jamie temporarily stepped away from the position in 2019 due to "health reasons."

Currently, both Jamie and Bessemer Trust oversee Spears' estate, which includes all of her financial decisions, and Jamie will have a chance to object to any petition to completely remove him from his post as co-conservator.

Last month, David Glass, a certified family law attorney and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology who is not involved in the proceedings, called the potential move a "big step up" for Montgomery, if she landed the gig.

Britney Spears broke her silence on the 'Framing Britney Spears' documentary this week, saying it caused her to cry for two weeks despite not tuning in. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

"[Montgomery] is the person who is just making personal decisions for medical treatment and whether she needs bodyguards. Does she need to see a therapist? All sorts of everything except money issues for a concerned person," Glass explained.

Britney's conservatorship has sparked a public debate in recent years as supporters of the "Free Britney" movement habitually speak out in support of the star in addition to camping outside of court on the days her conservatorship hearings are held.

The February release of the New York Times' documentary "Framing Britney Spears" reignited the public's interest in her case. This week, Britney broke her silence on the documentary, admitting that while she has not watched it, clips she did see caused her to cry "for two weeks."

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A Photographer Captured The Moment A 98-Year-Old Got To See Her Family After A Year Apart

COVID-19 vaccines mean some nursing homes are now reopening, so residents can finally hug loved ones. A series of viral photos captured Yoshia Uomoto's surprise reunion.

by David Mack

Staffer Laura Iijima-Schergen guides Yoshia Uomoto, 98, back to her room at Nikkei Manor in Seattle on Tuesday.
Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

It's been a long year for the Uomoto family.

As the coronavirus pandemic raged, nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the world shut themselves off to visitors in order to protect their vulnerable residents.

That meant that for over a year, Mark Uomoto couldn't see his 98-year-old mom, Yoshia, in person at her Seattle facility except through a window.

"It was hard. She was kind of isolated," Mark told BuzzFeed News. "When I saw her through the window, she was just happy to see me and I was happy to see her, but with her being hard of hearing, it was hard to talk."

Yoshia lives at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living facility primarily designed for Japanese Americans. It shut its doors to visitors on March 23, 2020. The tight restrictions helped ensure no residents contracted COVID-19, according to executive director Theresa McLaughlin, but it's still been tough.

"The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on our staff and residents,” McLaughlin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

Residents there have now all been fully vaccinated — so as of Monday, staff have been allowing families to visit with their loved ones, as long as they still wear masks as a precaution.

Mark, who is also fully vaccinated, said he was surprised on Tuesday when he was informed he'd finally be able to visit his mom in person. "I said, 'Yeah! Let's do it!'" he recalled.

When he arrived, he was told that Lindsey Wasson, a photographer with Reuters, would be on hand to capture their reunion.

Meanwhile, a staff member escorted Yoshia back to her room and told her to prepare for a surprise.

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

 Yoshia closed her eyes, as she was told...

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

And Mark and Yoshia's niece, Gail Yamada, made their way into the room, which Yoshia had decorated with pictures of the family members she hadn't seen for so long.

"The sense of anticipation was really fun," Wasson, the photographer, told BuzzFeed News.

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Then came the moment of surprise.

Yoshia's face said it all.

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

She truly was surprised.

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

"It was wonderful," Mark said. "Her expression was just seared in my memory — how happy she was."

Photos of the reunion went viral after they were published by Reuters, then shared by NBC News on Twitter on Wednesday.

Mark said he thinks his mom will get a kick out of going viral at 98: "She'll probably laugh and think, Oh, not me!"

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Wasson has memories of visiting her own grandmother, June Takeshita, when she lived at Nikkei Manor prior to her 2011 death.

"It was definitely nostalgic to be back there for the first time in many years and definitely brings up a lot of feelings of relief for the families," Wasson said. "We are still a long way from the end of the pandemic, but I think it represents a hopeful step towards that direction."

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

Born in Woodinville, Washington, Yoshia raised two sons with her husband. She was widowed in 1982 but still found happiness with her sister and friends at her church. Mark said she's also been well taken care of at Nikkei Manor since she moved in about a decade ago.

Mark hopes that life continues to normalize for his family and others. He knows how lucky he is to have had the chance to see his mom in person again. The mother of a colleague of his died in a nursing home several months ago before the facilities opened back up. For now, he's counting his blessings — and hugging his mom.

"It felt wonderful. I haven't felt that in over a year," he said. "Knowing I could feel Mom and see Mom, see her smile — it's been a long while."
Full Article & Source:

'83 years old, unable to speak, unable to fight back.' Daughters share heartbreaking stories of abuse in nursing homes

One daughter asked, "Where was my phone call?" when her mother was suffering.
ByAnnika Merrilees 

Dan Abrams advises constant contact if physical or financial abuse suspected.

Sonja Fischer was "83 years old, unable to speak, unable to fight back," her daughter, Maya, told lawmakers on Wednesday.

In 2014, a Minneapolis care facility where her mother lived called and said that the Alzheimer's patient had been raped by a male caregiver.

"My final memories of my mother’s life now include watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her, but unable to speak," Fischer told members of the Senate Finance Committee during a heartwrenching hearing on protecting the elderly from abuse in nursing homes.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in 2015 the caregiver, George Kpingbah, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

"I still feel the guilt of not being able to take care of her myself and having to entrust her care to others only to have her subjected to this unthinkable assault," Maya Fischer said.

Fischer recalled assuring her mother that she would be safe and that she would not suffer.

"I can never overcome the guilt of realizing that these promises were not kept," Fischer said.

During the hearing, witnesses pointed to a wide array of issues in elder care such as insufficient staffing in care facilities and the challenges families face in determining whether a care facility meets the level of quality they want to provide for their relatives.

"Hardly a week goes by without seeing something about nursing home abuse or neglect in the national news. Every family has a loved one — a mother, a father, or a grandparent — who may someday need nursing home care. That makes this a topic of enormous concern to every American," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee's chairman.

The committee also heard the story of Virginia Olthoff, who died after suffering extreme neglect at an Iowa nursing home, her daughter testified.

According to the Globe Gazette, the nursing home was fined $77,463 for deficiencies in care, including Olthoff's.

Her daughter, Patricia Blank, said that her mother was hospitalized after an overnight nurse reported that Olthoff was moaning around 3 a.m. Blank said when she arrived at the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her that her mother was extremely dehydrated, and had likely suffered a stroke.

The doctor told her he believed Olthoff had been without water or any type of fluid, for at least four or five days, Blank testified.

"Where was my phone call? The report also said she had been crying out in pain often. Where was my phone call then?" Blank asked the committee.

After Wednesday’s hearing, Grassley announced that two government agencies are working on reports on nursing home abuse. He said he plans to hold another hearing on the topic once the reports are released from the Inspector General of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office.

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Medicare Beneficiaries Being Targeted By Medicare Card Scams

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Insurance Division is warning of current Medicare card scams going on around the state.

State officials say it’s important for Iowans to protect their Medicare number and not give it to unknown callers. They say Medicare will rarely contact you by phone, and if so, you can also hang up and call Medicare back to confirm that the call is legitimate and not a scam.

According to state officials, Medicare scams include the following:

Scammers falsely tell Medicare beneficiaries that Medicare is issuing new Medicare cards.  Medicare isn’t issuing new cards and Medicare employees don’t contact participants through unsolicited calls, emails, or visits. Medicare communicates with beneficiaries via mail.

Scammers falsely allege Medicare is issuing new plastic or metal Medicare cards or black and white Covid-19 Medicare cards.  The scammers state that in order to get your new card, you need to provide personal identifying information such as your Medicare number, birth date or even financial account numbers. Medicare will never ask for your personal information or Medicare number unless you contact Medicare yourself.

Scammers falsely allege Medicare is replacing the Medicare card due to suspicious activity, or promise the new Medicare card will give them new and enhanced Medicare benefits not available with their current card. Scammers often threaten that the current Medicare card is going to be deactivated.  This is not true.

“Spoofing” is a process often used by scammers.  Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers also often use “neighbor spoofing” so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency like Medicare or Social Security Administration that you may already know and trust.

If you suspect Medicare fraud, errors, or abuse contact Iowa SHIIP/Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-800-351-4664 or

To learn more about Medicare scams impacting Iowans, you can register for the state of Iowa’s live event, which will be held on Friday, April 23rd at 1:30 p.m. To register, CLICK HERE.

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California Sues Nursing Home Chain, Saying It Manipulated Ratings System

The lawsuit, filed by the state attorney general and other prosecutors, accuses Brookdale Senior Living of gaming Medicare’s ubiquitous star-rating system.

Credit...Jessica Ebelhar for The New York Times

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg

California prosecutors sued the country’s largest chain of senior living communities on Monday, accusing the company, Brookdale Senior Living, of manipulating the federal government’s nursing-home ratings system.

The lawsuit was filed by California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, and other prosecutors against Brookdale, which operates multiple nursing homes in the state.

The lawsuit is among the first of its kind to accuse nursing homes of submitting false information to Medicare’s ratings program. The system assigns stars — one being the worst, five being the best — to the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes.

The system is powered by largely unaudited data submitted by nursing homes, including the amount of time that nurses spend with residents, and in-person examinations by state health inspectors.

Since its rollout more than a decade ago, the rating system, overseen by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., has become an essential tool for nursing homes to woo potential customers. It can mean the difference between a nursing home’s making or losing money.
The lawsuit, brought in Superior Court in California, comes on the heels of a New York Times investigation that found the rating system is broken. The Times found that much of the information that nursing homes, including Brookdale’s, submit to the government is wrong, painting a badly distorted picture of the quality of care at many homes. Nursing homes’ sleight-of-hand maneuvering left the industry vulnerable when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

In the case filed on Monday, the California prosecutors said that until April 2018, Brookdale won “undeserved higher star ratings” by submitting false information about its staffing. In particular, the lawsuit said, the company exaggerated the number of hours that registered nurses worked.

The prosecutors said Brookdale had continued to game the statistics even after C.M.S. improved the way it collected staffing data in an attempt to crack down on nursing homes’ inflating their figures. Starting in 2018, C.M.S. began using payroll records, which logged nurses’ daily hours, to calculate the homes’ ratings, rather than relying on nursing homes to report the amount of time nurses spent with patients. Prosecutors accused Brookdale of “falsifying its payroll-based journals.”

The result, prosecutors said, was that Brookdale “has been awarded higher star ratings than it deserved.” They added, “The chain’s manipulation has allowed Brookdale to attract prospective patients and their families to its facilities by misleading them about its quality of care.”

Prosecutors also accused Brookdale of illegally evicting or transferring residents so that the chain could “fill its beds with residents who will bring in more money.” In one instance highlighted in the suit, prosecutors said Brookdale discharged a 78-year-old resident who suffered from heart and kidney disease without removing his catheter.

Heather Hunter, a spokeswoman for Brookdale, strongly denied on Monday that the company had “engaged in intentional or fraudulent conduct.”

“We are disappointed in the allegations against the skilled nursing industry,” Ms. Hunter said. “Publicizing unproven allegations is reckless and undermines the public’s confidence in a service necessary to the care of elderly individuals, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and an injunction to prevent future unlawful conduct. Under California law, civil penalties are up to $2,500 per violation. In this case, where the violations are committed against seniors or people with disabilities, the law provides for an additional penalty of up to $2,500 per violation.

The Times previously reported that a Brookdale facility in Lexington, Ky., told Medicare in 2017 that every resident got an average of 75 minutes of care each day. In reality, nurses at the Brookdale Richmond Place facility spent an average of less than 30 minutes a day with patients. Brookdale received five stars for staffing. Absent the inflated numbers, it probably would have received only one or two stars.

A former Brookdale nursing assistant said in a deposition last year that her supervisors had told her to falsify residents’ medical records to make it look as if they received more care than they did.

Continue reading the main story

To that point, Ms. Hunter told The Times, “We have detailed policies in place to ensure compliance with C.M.S. reporting rules, and we are not aware of any instance where inaccurate or false information was submitted by any of our communities outside of the confines of the C.M.S. rules.”

President Biden nominated Mr. Becerra, whose office brought the case against Brookdale, for secretary of health and human services, which oversees C.M.S. The Senate has not yet voted on the nomination.

Robert Gebeloff contributed reporting.

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Some Arkansas long-term care residents leave facilities for first time in year

by Mills Hayes

Some long-term care facility residents haven’t been able to leave the facility or visit family in-person since the pandemic began. Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Friday that the COVID-19 directives would now be guidelines, not directives

“I love to be around people. I don’t want to be by myself I never have,” Charlie Payne said.

Payne, who is 95-years-old, plays golf almost every. He moved out of the Plaza assisted living in Arkadelphia three months after the COVID-19 restrictions essentially shut down assisted living facilities. Previously, he had lived there for seven years with his wife before she passed away.

“I’m still active and I like to do outdoor things,” Payne said.

When Hutchinson lifted restrictions on some long-term care facilities he decided to move back in on Monday.

“I wouldn’t have come back unless I could come and go as I want,” Payne said.

Emily Talley lives in an assisted living center in Arkadelphia. She was only allowed to leave the facility to go to the doctor. Monday Talley was able to go with her daughter for the first time since the pandemic. They spent the time shopping and getting their nails done. (Photo by KATV)

Rachel Bunch is the executive director for the Arkansas Healthcare Association. She said the new guidelines can be confusing.

“The governor's announcement on Friday that changes those directives to guidance it affects most the assisted living facilities and the residential care facilities giving them the opportunity and the option to open up more for visitation,” Bunch said.

Nursing homes, however, fall under federal control, meaning how much they open up is dependent on the COVID-19 positivity rate in the county and the number of cases in the facility for the last 14 days.

“In the last 14 days we only have 7 long-term care facilities in Arkansas that have five are more cases,” Bunch said.

Bunch said that at present out of the nearly 40,000 residents and healthcare workers in long-term care facilities, 70 residents are positive for COVID-19 and 61 healthcare workers are positive. She said it’s a far cry from the high number of cases they were seeing at the beginning of the year.

Tamara Rocole is the administrator of the Plaza at Twin Rivers and she said that 99% of her residents received both of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Well, it has been testing my patience,” Plaza resident Joyce Morehead said about the restrictions. She said she felt safe and taken care of inside the living facility, but is thankful to be able to eat dinner with other residents now instead of by herself.

Morehead finally got to leave the facility for the first time in a year this week. Previously, she had seen her daughters through the window in her room.

“I was overjoyed and it was so nice to once again touch a person and see them face to face,” Morehead said.

Bunch said the association is still working with the department of health and DHS to clarify the rules on certain facilities. She said if you're unsure if your loved ones facility’s guidelines have changed it’s best to call up to the administration.

Full Article & Source:

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A legal nightmare took away my grandfather’s rights. Our judges and lawmakers must support elder law reform

by Chris Rosselot

Photos of Chris Rosselot’s grandfather and family members are shown on the dining room table in the North Side. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

None of us had any idea what to expect when we entered the courtroom for my grandfather’s competency hearing, least of all him. 

At 81, he was ordered to leave the home he had chosen with his daughter and forced to return to a wife he intended to divorce, with no rights.

Before our family nightmare in 2006, I had little idea of the power judges wield over the fate of elderly Pennsylvanians. With the stroke of a pen, my grandfather was deemed incapable of making his own decisions and taken from his family. 

Reform could keep other families from knowing our pain, but that hinges on the legislature enacting necessary court reforms and the election of judges who ensure the guardianship process is fair and focus on what’s best for older Pennsylvanians and their families. With 39 candidates running for nine open seats on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, this is an issue that candidates and voters should carefully consider both before and after the election. 

My maternal grandfather, Steve Gornick, was an intelligent, independent man with a deep love for his family. Taught to read by his mother at a very young age, he quickly outgrew his one-room schoolhouse in Penn Township in Butler County, where the teacher had him assist the older students with reading and mathematics. 

He left the family farm at age 14 to work in a foundry in Butler and escape an abusive father. He joined the army during World War II after his mother changed his age on enlistment documents. 

After the war, he settled in Erie, started a family with my grandmother Ruth and began his career as an electrical and mechanical engineer for General Electric and later Electric Materials. Using his intellectual capacity and grit, he helped discover mathematical theorems that advanced his field. And when Ruth passed away in 1976, he rose to a new challenge, raising their two daughters alone.

Elaine Rosselot (left) and Alethea Cassidy (right)
 with their father, Steve Gornick. (Courtesy photo)
Growing up, Grandpa Steve was a huge part of our lives. We visited him and his second wife every Christmas, and he often traveled to see us. No matter where we were living, he made it to school functions — graduation ceremonies, baseball and hockey games. He especially loved visiting our family when we lived in Colorado, taking advantage of the outdoor activities like cross country skiing, hunting, golfing and hiking.

In 2003, my parents moved from Denver to Pittsburgh to be closer to home. Grandpa was almost 80 then, and during the last couple of visits, we’d noticed his memory slipping a bit.

Two years later, his wife contacted my parents to coordinate an open-ended stay for Grandpa Steve. She presented it as an opportunity for her to get some time to herself. During this visit, grandpa brought up constant arguments he and his wife had regarding his will — and his desire to make his daughters his primary beneficiaries. 

As grandpa’s visit went on, he became more resolute about leaving his wife, transferring funds from a joint account and consulting with an attorney in Pittsburgh to discuss marital separation. When his wife became aware of this, the legal nightmare began.

Guardianship hearing: ‘He’s yours’

On Dec. 15, 2005, Grandpa Steve’s wife filed a petition with the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County to declare my grandpa incapacitated and to appoint her as guardian. She requested additional immediate relief, including the transfer of custody of grandpa to her and the return of the joint account funds previously removed.  (Click to Continue Reading)

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Chief Justice Hardesty Appoints Judge Marquis and Judge Walker as Co-Chairs of Guardianship Commission

By Greg Ferraro 

CARSON CITY, NV – Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty announced today that Judge Linda Marquis and Judge Egan Walker have been appointed as co-chairs of the 20-member Permanent Guardianship Commission.

In 2017, after considering the information submitted in the final report of the Commission to Study the Administration of Guardianships in Nevada, the Supreme Court of Nevada created a permanent Guardianship Commission to address issues of concern related to those persons who may be subject to the guardianship statutes, rules, and processes in Nevada.  All Nevada guardianships are administered by Nevada’s courts pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 159, which are reviewed by the Commission along with court rules, policies, and procedures.

On March 6, 2018, a Guardianship hotline was established to offer the public a central place to address guardianship issues. The State Guardianship Compliance Office reports concerns by callers to the Courts and provides callers with resource navigation services and referrals for additional support and assistance. The hotline number is 833-421-7711.

Judge Marquis served as a Justice of the Peace Pro Tem in Las Vegas Justice Court and the North Las Vegas Justice Court from 2011-2014. She was an Alternate Judge for the Las Vegas Municipal Court from 2011-2014. The Clark County Commission appointed her as a Presiding Officer for the Police Fatality Fact Finding Review Board in 2012. Judge Marquis assumed office for Department B of the Nevada 8th Judicial District Court Family Division in 2015.

Judge Walker was appointed to serve as the presiding judge in Department 2 of the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in 2011. He was elected to serve the remainder of Judge Hardy’s term in 2012 and was elected for a six-year term again in 2014. He was then appointed by Nevada Governor Sandoval on December 22, 2017 to Department 7, to fill a vacancy left by the untimely death of Chief Judge Flanagan. He ran un-opposed for retention of that position in January of 2018.

The first Guardianship Commission meeting with the new co-chairs is scheduled for March 31.

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Man charged with elder abuse, accused of stealing $356K from his mother

Corey Baker is charged with elder abuse. (Source: WMC/MPD)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A 43-year-old man who is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his mother is now facing charges of elder abuse.

According to an affidavit, the Department of Human Services received a report that Corey Baker’s 77-year-old mother was the victim of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Baker’s wife, Sharika Baker, was allegedly apart of the abuse as well.

Investigators say the Bakers took out a line of credit for $100,000 without the victim’s knowledge or consent and also purchased a 2019 Dodge Challenger for more than $30,000.

The couple reportedly used the victim’s money for other payments including the care note and liability insurance for the vehicle.

A close family friend, who was also listed on the victim’s bank account along with the Bakers, noticed they were making unauthorized withdrawals from the victim’s account beginning in 2017.

The victim suffered a total loss of $356,000 over approximately two years from December 2018 to January 2020, according to the affidavit.

Corey Baker is charged with exploitation of an elder/or vulnerable person and theft of property $250,000 or more.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

New Jersey Nursing Homes Operator Counting on Protocol to Dismiss Lawsuit

By Jane Mundy

New Jersey nursing home operator is counting on protocol to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit claiming poor treatment of residents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Lafayette, NJThe Andover nursing homes operator is facing a proposed class action lawsuit claiming poor treatment of residents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. He argued in federal court to dismiss the nursing home abuse complaint based on state and federal law virus protocol.

Andover Nursing Home Operators

The Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center I and II are co-owned by Chaim "Mutty" Scheinbaum and Louis Schwartz, according to federal records. NBC News reported (April 2020) that 17 bodies were found in the Andover Subacute Facility I and II morgue. Scheinbaum said the facility was grappling with the pandemic.

In a statement, Scheinbaum said "The owners, administrators and our heroic healthcare staff of nurses and nurse aides have been working relentlessly to contain the virus and safeguard our residents and staff…The health and safety of our residents and staff is our utmost priority and responsibility.“ But Schwartz’s murky history indicates otherwise. He was vice president at Skyline Healthcare, a defunct nursing home chain plagued by allegations of neglect and mismanagement and now involved in at least 12 lawsuits. As well, former employees filed lawsuits accusing the company's owners of stealing their insurance premiums.

Scheinbaum co-owns four facilities that were cited over 25 times for health-related deficiencies during inspections in 2019 and 2020. According to Asbury Park Press, the Andover facilities received average and low marks from federal health care rankings published by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"Government must limit ownership and management of nursing homes to only those people that demonstrate commitment and capacity to provide the best care possible to residents,” Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, told the newspaper.

Proposed Nursing Home Abuse Class Action

Last December Michael Emerson, a resident of Andover since 2019, along with relatives of Albert C. Roberts and Michele Desbiens, filed a willful misconduct complaint against the Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center I and Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center II, claiming patients were treated with "a lack of dignity and respect."

Emerson claims he was subjected to "repeated physical and mental abuse." He contracted the coronavirus in March 2020 and says the defendants denied numerous requests by his guardian/attorney-in-fact for his medical records.

Michele Desbiens had been an Andover II resident since 2016. Her son, Paul Desbiens said the facility refused his repeated requests to get his mother treatment for skin cancer in her arm and to have a ureteral stent removed. She contracted the coronavirus in March and died in May, according to the complaint.

Roberts was also an Andover II resident, until he died one month after contracting COVID-19 in April 2020. Brian Roberts, his nephew and administrator of his estate, claimed he only learned of his uncle's death several weeks later, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach anyone at the facility for an update, reported Law360.

The plaintiffs pointed out that inspections—since 2015— by Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services "repeatedly found each of the facilities to be grossly deficient in many aspects" regarding their duty to residents. The CMS' assessment ratings for the facilities are three stars, which is classified as "average," for Andover I, and one star, the lowest possible rating, for Andover II. And in April 2020, a CMS inspection report from April investigating the coronavirus outbreak at Andover II in late March 2020 concluded “the facility was not following infection control safety practices and guidance recommended by CMS and CDC during a COVID-19 pandemic.”

Defendants Relying on COVID-19 Protocol

The Defendants are counting on the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act  (PREP Act) and the New Jersey COVID-19 immunity law to toss the class action.
In a February 10, 2021 ruling (the “Garcia Ruling”) the Central District of California Court held that the PREP Act provides senior living facilities with an exemption from civil liability for actions taken by such facilities to protect facility residents from COVID-19.

According to the National Law Review, “In the Garcia Ruling, the CDCA Court considered whether the PREP Act’s liability immunity extended to, and completely insulates, senior living facilities/communities for imperfect countermeasures taken by such facilities in response to COVID-19. In evaluating the impact of its decision, the CDCA Court noted that the presumption of complete immunity for providers under the PREP Act is a tough one to overcome once a federal court decides to weigh in on the issue.”

The case is Michael Emerson et al. v. Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center I et al., case number 2:20-cv-20066 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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New rules from state for indoor long-term care visits

Families with loved ones in long-term care facilities cheered to hear NJ had adopted new rules that permit visits at all times with few exceptions, but implementing those regulations will take time and many questions remain.


Neighbor cell phone video captured assault at Portage adult foster care facility

by Michael Krafcik

Portage Police said the owner of Aina Acres AFC LLC. assaulted a 71 year old resident Mar. 29 (WWMT/Manny Revilla)

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended the license of a Portage adult foster care facility after police said a neighbor witnessed the facility's owner abusing a resident.

Portage Department of Public Safety Senior Deputy Chief John Blue said a neighbor captured cell phone video of the March 19, 2021, incident at Aina Acres AFC LLC., on Mount Vernon Avenue that led detectives to an arrest. People who had seen the video said it was shocking.

Blue said the owner, Adebiyi Aina, was arrested.

Aina said he did nothing wrong.

"The truth is going to come out. You can’t attribute anything to the injuries," Aina said.

State investigators said on March 19, a neighbor spotted Aina forcefully pulling a 71-year-old foster care resident out of his van and into this wheelchair in a violent manner.

As he pushed the resident in his wheelchair to the front entrance, investigators said Aina hit him three times on his back with his knee while he sat in the wheelchair and then hit him in the back of the head.

The report indicated each time he was struck, the resident yelled, "ouch" or "stop it."

"I was trying to get him out the van, it wasn’t anything malicious and I was trying to get him in the house as quickly and safely as possible," Aina said. 

Blue said the elderly resident was taken to the hospital hours after police responded.

He said the man was eventually released but investigators were trying to determine if the man's injuries resulted from underlining medical issues.

Investigators said the man was treated for a golf-ball size lump on his forehead and had a mark and bruise on the left side of his face.

Blue said prosecutors were waiting on additional medical records to determine how the caretaker would be charged.

"We were either looking at a domestic violence standpoint or from the vulnerable adult standpoint," Blue said.

Aina Acres AFC Summary Suspension by WWMT on Scribd


Sally Pung, director of Michigan's Long-Term Care Ombudsmen Program, said all too often most abuse cases in adult foster care homes don't get reported.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, suspended the facility's license on March 26.

LARA said the suspension was an emergency action taken to protect residents' health and safety. The agency said the facility violated the Adult Foster Care Facility Licensing Act, as well as rules related to mistreatment and physical abuse of a resident.

The facility was prohibited from operating due to the suspension, and could not accept new residents.

The facility, which opened in 2010, was licensed to house up to five residents. LARA records showed the facility was determined to be in compliance with its adult foster care license, according to a October 2020 licensing study report.

David Harns, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Regulatory Affairs, said Aina AFC LLC was the first adult foster care facility to have its license suspended in Michigan in 2021.

Harns said three adult foster care facilities had their licenses suspended in 2020. Harns said the agency didn't track, which suspensions were as a result of abuse allegations.

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Monday, March 29, 2021

Conservatorship process has created ‘hotspots for abuse,’ experts tell Pennsylvania lawmakers

General Assembly Democrats weigh changes to law meant to fight blight, following PublicSource reporting.

by Rich Lord

Pennsylvania Sen. Katie Muth led a hearing, conducted virtually, on the state's conservatorship law on March 26, 2021. (Screenshot)

Pennsylvania’s anti-blight conservatorship law, which has become a tool of aggressive developers, should be amended to stop uses that some neighborhood development pros have characterized as abusive, according to testimony at a Friday hearing of Democratic state lawmakers.

The General Assembly created the conservatorship process in 2008 as a way to allow for the court-monitored takeover of abandoned buildings by responsible owners. While conservatorship is technically stewardship of the property, it can lead to ownership. Nonprofit organizations like East Liberty Development Inc. have used the mechanism to fight blight.

But the law “has also been criticized for taking away the due process of property owners, allowing land developers to obtain properties cheaply, making a profit and gentrifying neighborhoods in the process,” said Sen. Katie Muth, D-Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties.

The Legislature should take another look at the law and explore “maybe where it’s veered from its original course and intent of helping communities to take more democratic control over the development and progress of their neighborhoods,” said state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Lawrenceville, who joined the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, which hosted the hearing she requested.

Ernie Hogan, executive director of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, told the lawmakers that the neighborhood organizations in his umbrella group “have told us loud and clear that they have seen unscrupulous investors surface,” and take advantage of the loose definition of conservatorship in the interest of profit. “Neighborhoods on the move seem to be the hotspots for abuse.”

Duquesne University Law Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick said "predatory nonprofits" have emerged that file conservatorship petitions, which force longtime owners to "defend their own property" at significant cost.

They joined a panel of experts that cited several shortcomings in the conservatorship act, which was last amended in 2014. The law now:

  • allows anyone who owns property or operates a business within 2,000 feet of an abandoned property to file a petition to be a conservator
  • imposes fewer limits on nonprofits desirous of being conservators, but does not require that those nonprofits meet specific standards
  • does not prevent a nonprofit conservator from transferring subject property into the hands of one of its board members, who may then make money from it
  • allows judges to put the conservator's interests ahead of taxing bodies with liens on the subject properties
  • lets would-be owners seek control over property on the eve of sheriff's sale, circumventing that public process
  • does not rule out single filings that seek control of many properties with multiple owners.

The panelists suggested a variety of fixes to close those loopholes.

Innamorato added that conservatorship “could be used as a tool to preserve naturally affordable housing that exists” if the law is “modified to help address this specific need.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Sara Innamorato, who initiated the March 26, 2021 hearing on conservancy, said she believes the law can be improved to help to encourage more affordable housing. (Screenshot)
Pennsylvania Rep. Sara Innamorato, who initiated the March 26, 2021 hearing on conservancy, said she believes the law can be improved to help to encourage more affordable housing. (Screenshot)

After the hearing, Innamorato wrote to PublicSource that she "heard very concrete actions" that the General Assembly can take to improve conservatorship and other anti-blight laws. "My next steps are taking these ideas back to our team and fellow legislators, [and to] draft legislation and begin the community-input process."

In a December story, PublicSource reported that conservatorship has become a tool for ambitious developers. Entities associated with Trafford-based landlord and property buyer and seller Aaron Chaney had filed 63 conservatorship petitions. Attorney Marc Taiani and companies with which he is associated filed nine, including an effort to take control of a Wilkinsburg house owned by 77-year-old Kathleen Wilson — a case which was subsequently settled.

Kathleen Wilson faces Bill Martin, in the basement of a four-unit house she owns in Wilkinsburg. Martin was hired by attorney Marc Taiani to inspect the home. One of his companies has petitioned to become the building's conservator. (Photo by Rich Lord/PublicSource)
Kathleen Wilson faces Bill Martin, in the basement of a four-unit house she owns in Wilkinsburg. Martin was hired by attorney Marc Taiani to inspect the home. One of his companies petitioned to become the building's conservator. (Photo by Rich Lord/PublicSource)

Taiani contended last year that he was trying to convert ill-maintained, empty properties into active, rental homes.

Following publication of that story, Innamorato and state Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, pledged to hold a hearing.

Since then, the use of conservatorship by developers has continued.

On March 5, October Development & Construction Company filed a petition seeking to be named conservator of 97 properties throughout the North Side, and naming 85 owners or holders of interests in the properties as respondents.

The petition, filed by attorney Daniel Friedson, indicates that October Development plans to “systematically secure and weatherize” the properties, clear debris, address structural problems, then “raze and renovate,” followed by “new development.”

Attorneys for some of the respondents have filed answers or preliminary objections, but no hearing has yet been scheduled.

That followed a January conservatorship petition by Penn Pioneer Enterprises, a firm controlled by Chaney and represented by attorney Wayne Cobb, seeking conservatorship of 12 properties on Bates Street and Coltart Avenue in Oakland. The land and buildings there are owned by Oakland Gateway Ventures, and an attorney representing that company has entered an appearance in the case, but there have as yet been no responsive filings or hearings.

Neither Friedson nor Cobb could be immediately reached for comment Friday.

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2 Charged With Caretaker Neglect After Maggots, Old Food Trays Found Inside Resident Room

Click to Watch Video

 JENKS, Okla. -

Police say two former employees at the Grace Living Center in Jenks have been charged with neglect after maggots were found in a room in 2018.

An affidavit says a family friend visited a resident and found flies, old food trays, maggots, and soiled sheets in the room. Melissa Moore, the certified nurse's assistant on duty at the time, and her former supervisor, Troy Rappe, each face one count of Caretaker Neglect.

It says the friend took photos after the room was cleaned, and when they went back the next day, they found two more food trays and a stray pill. The affidavit says Grace Living Center conducted an internal investigation and found Moore had been neglecting her responsibilities her duties and was fired.

Rappe has been arrested for his connection to the case.

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