Articles Posted in Elder Law

Delegates for the Association for Behavioral Analysis’ recently approved several guidelines related to the news of older people in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of these proposals, Resolution 603, adopts recommendations from a Guardian Summit and ultimately encourages all regulators to incorporate these measures when revising guardianship laws. The spokesperson who introduced the measure stated that more individuals have grown cognizant of it, but that guardianship is a widespread issue.

The proposals made during this meeting are best divided into several areas: the rights of guardianships, assisted decision-choosing, restricted guardianship, arrangements providing protection, diversions of pipelines, monitoring guardianships, facing abuse, fiscal responsibility, fiscal hardships, and guardianship improvement.

Fewer rights are more fundamental than the right to vote in the United States. Unfortunately, many people take the right to vote for granted. People who face limited capacity or who are currently under guardianship, however, experience substantial challenges in regards to voting. Many states even restrict and some bar voting rights for individuals faced with limited capacity.

The Types of Voting Rights

State laws addressing the voting rights of individuals fall into three categories: states constitutional provisions addressing who can vote, states with voter registration laws, and states with guardianship laws. Many recent changes have occurred in states to incorporate more current language concerning disabilities as well as capacity and guardianship. Because state statutes are notoriously hard to revise, many of them are still outdated. 

On February 11, 2022, the appellate court for the 11th circuit reversed a decision by a lower court. The appellate court in Dobson v. Secretary of Health and Human Services held that Medicare must provide coverage for a beneficiary’s off-label use of a medication. 

How the Case Arose

The case concerns a Florida man who communicated with the Center for Medicare Advocacy because the man’s Part D Medicare coverage declined dronabinol coverage. Dronabinol is a man-made type of cannabis that is known under the trade names of Marinol, Reduvo, and Syndros. The medication is used to stimulate appetite as well as to treat nausea and sleep apnea. The medication is approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV/AIDS-related anorexia and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. 

The substantial growth of elderly adults in the United States leads to more emergency room visits and complications from injuries and diseases. To meet this challenge, the Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines were published in 2014 and later received support from several large medical organizations including Emergency Nurses Association and the American Geriatrics Society. 

The guidelines characterize the nuanced needs of older emergency department patients and current best practices to promote more cost-effective and patient-focused care. These recommendations require more staff as well as more resources. 

What Researchers Discovered

When a person passes away, survivors almost always remember the need to take several important actions. Often, some of these actions are time-sensitive and must be performed within a narrow time window. Given the substantial emotional repercussion of losing a loved one, the process is often overwhelming and can even be difficult to navigate. To better prepare you for what happens after an elderly loved one passes away, this article reviews some important steps that you will likely need to take or at the very least consider taking. 

Actions Immediately After a Loved One’s Death

Many people find themselves in shock immediately following a loved one’s death. During this period, it’s critical, however, to take some important steps, which include the following:

It’s almost an understatement to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and how we live in a range of ways. While Medicare did not pay for Covid-19 tests that were available over the counter, the Center for Medicaid Services is in the process of executing an effort in the spring of 2022 that will offer payment directly to qualifying pharmacies as well as other business entities that participate in this program to help Medicare recipients receive up to eight Covid-19 tests free each month.  

Currently, Medicare Advantage Plans sometimes cover and pay for over-the-counter (OTC) Covid-19 tests as a supplement in combination with providing Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you should review the terms of the plan to check whether the plan will cover and pay for Covid-19 tests. 

All Medicare beneficiaries with Part B qualify to receive eight free OTC Covid-19 tests, despite whether a person is enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan.

Deciding how to receive the medical care that a person needs is a critical part of the elder law process. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of aging and medical issues can make it challenging to determine what lies ahead. Various states have also begun to attempt to resolve financing challenges associated with elder care that a growing number of Americans will face in the next couple of decades as a growing portion of the baby boomer generation requires medical care.

The Growing Need for Assistance

Any person can end up needing assistance as they age. This is true regardless of whether a person ends up facing dementia, a significant drop in eyesight, or mobility issues. The degree of assistance and how long a person faces these issues can vary substantially. A person might end up needing assistance with meals, other daily living activities, or total care for the months or years before they pass away. Other times, people end up needing total care for years. The unpredictable nature of a person’s future makes it challenging to plan ahead.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s lives in countless ways. One impact the pandemic had is convincing elderly adults to become nimble with technology. In recognition of this, a growing number of tech companies are focused on catering to the needs of older adults.

For many elderly adults, using technology to shop and interact with others is an efficient way to combat isolation as well as loneliness. To marketers, wealthy elderly adults are an attractive demographic which is why they’re tailoring more services to them.

One recent news report even named the elderly as a popular consumer trend in 2022.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy recently published a document answering various questions about Medicare’s home health benefits. In addition to a document answering frequently asked questions, the Center also published recordings of two webinars, “Medicare Coverage of Home Health Services”, which reviews the eligibility basics for Medicare coverage of home health services.

What Do Home Health Agencies Do?

Medicare’s home health benefits are known as the Mediacertified home health agencies. These benefits have been approved by Medicare to provide the home health services that Medicare covers. The agency has agreed to receive payment from Medicare. Additionally, Medicare only pays for home health services administered by home health agencies that are Medicare-certified. 

The federal department tasked with overseeing nursing homes throughout the country recently announced it is revising its policy and will now publicly post details online about all fines received by care facilities regardless of payment status.

This new policy’s announcements occur during a period of increased criticism due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) Care Compare website. The agency describes its website as existing to provide American citizens with details regarding matters of the level of care at nursing homes. 

Changes to Nursing Home Fines

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