The Legal Checkup Blog

Your advocacy is needed TODAY!

Posted by Judith Flynn on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 08:07 AM

MassNAELA and elder law attorneys across the Commonwealth continue to advocate for a number of bills.  In the meantime, the Conference Committee on the FY2015 Budget has been released and is in the process of being enacted and sent to the Governor for his review.  Some of its provisions are of interest to elder law attorneys and those we serve:

 

1.    The Mass Health Senior account (4000-0600) contains language preserving the Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) at $72.80.   (This is the amount a nursing home resident may keep each month from their income if he or she has MassHealth coverage.  It is used to pay for hair or barber services, toiletries, clothing, etc)

 

2.    The Senior account also contains nursing home bed hold language requiring nursing homes to hold beds for medical leaves not less than 10 and up to 20 days.  (Again, this applies to nursing home residents whose care is covered by MassHealth.  This bed hold is critical for quality of life and dignitiy, allowing residents to return to the same bed and room they resided in when they were hospitalized.  The nursing home is their home, just like your home or mine, and it can be devastating to one's mental and physical well-being if they lose their "home" due to a hospitalization.  This would be more likely if the bed-hold provision was not retained.

 

3.    The budget requires written informed consent of a nursing home resident or his guardian/health care proxy prior to the administration of psychotropic medication.  This is an important protection for nursing home residents, and this written informed consent ensures that such drugs will not be administered just to make residents easier to deal with, or to avoid the cost of implementing other measures to deal with the symptoms for which these medications have been abused in the past.

 

4.    The budget requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement a public process for the granting of nursing home licenses and transfers of ownership.

 

PLEASE CALL THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TODAY - TELL HIM YOU WANT THESE PROVISIONS TO STAY AS IS (PNA OF $72.80, A 10-DAY MINIMUM BEDHOLD, PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO ADMINISTER ANTI-PSYCHOTIC MEDICATIONS, AND A PUBLIC PROCESS FOR THE GRANTING OF NURSING HOME LICENSES AND TRANSFERS OF OWNERSHIP).  His contact information is:

Office of the Governor
Phone: 617.725.4005
888.870.7770 (in state)

Thank you for your support!

Tags: long-term care, elder law, skilled services, nursing home, rights, Medicaid, respect for elders

What happened to basic respect for our elders?

Posted by Judith Flynn on Sat, Mar 15, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

I had to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles the other day, and knew it was not a good sign when I had to wait in line just to get in the door. After approximately 15 minutes in line just to receive my bakery-like number, I wandered around looking for a place to stand.

 

The benches were fully occupied, mostly by 20 and 30 somethings, talking loudly on their iphones and not concerned that the masses were not interested in their activities of the prior evening, or how the boyfriend or girlfriend about whom they were speaking had disrespected them. Belts are apparently a luxury rather than a necessity these days, as I observed more undergarments than I would have preferred.

 

After an hour or so I was able to grab a spot on a bench when the prior occupant's number was called. As I looked around, however, several elderly people had joined the crowd, two with canes. I watched for a few minutes to see if any of these fine young folks would offer a seat and, much to my disappointment, they did not.  An elderly couple was on the opposite side of the room, so I waved them over and gave the woman my seat. Her husband was so appreciative, gushing at the gesture I had made to offfer this 80-85 year old woman with a cane my seat.

 

I find this entire experience to be very disturbing - both the fact that I was the only one to offer a seat to someone like this, and the fact that these elders were so genuinely surprised by the gesture. The act of a younger person offering their seat to an older or frailer person should not be surprising - it should be expected.  

 

There is no doubt in my mind that any of my three children would offer their seat to an elderly or disabled person, or any person in need, and there are many other fine young people who would do the same. But, I find the fact that basic manners and respect for our elders is becoming the exception rather than the rule to be very sad. 

 

 

 

Tags: elder law, Legal Check Up, priorities, respect for elders, manners