July 11

Guardianship Hearing Must Be in the Presence of the Alleged Incapacitated Individual (N.Y. App.)

Gwendolyn R., an alleged incapacitated person (AIP), appealed an order appointing a guardian over her person and property. Although Gwendolyn informed the court evaluator of her intent to be present at the underlying hearing, she notified her counsel at the last minute that she was ill. Nevertheless, the Superior Court conducted the hearing, finding that Gwendolyn had waived her attendance. Gwendolyn appealed. The New York Appellate Division held that the state guardianship statute requires that a hearing to determine the appointment of a guardian must be conducted in the presence of the AIP, including at the AIP’s place of residence if necessary. This allows the court to observe firsthand the AIP. The appellate court reversed and remanded with instructions to conduct a hearing at which Gwendolyn was afforded the opportunity to be present.

In re Banks, 2016 WL 1453967 (N.Y. App. Div. First Dept. April 14, 2016)

July 7

Medicare Premiums Are Not Deducted from Annual Income When Determining Eligibility for Medicare Part D “Extra Help” (E.D. N.Y.)

Maria Parra, appearing pro se, appealed a final agency decision denying her application for Medicare Part D “Extra Help” benefits. Extra Help provides eligible low-income individuals assistance with their Medicare Part D drug plan costs. To be eligible, an individual must have income below 150% of the federal poverty line applicable to the relevant family size and meet certain resource requirements. Parra argued that she was eligible for Extra Help because the $104.90 monthly Medicare premium deducted from her Social Security disability benefits effectively reduced her annual income to below the 150% eligibility threshold. The federal district court for the Eastern District of New York granted the Commissioner’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court held that Medicare premiums are not subtracted from an applicant’s annual income when determining Extra Help eligibility. Moreover, even if the premium amounts were excluded, the Commissioner’s findings were supported by substantial evidence that both Parra’s income and assets still exceeded the program requirements.

Parra v. Colvin, 2016 WL 755629 (E.D. N.Y. Feb. 25, 2016) (unpublished)

June 30

UCLA’s Course on Aging for Freshmen

April Pearce is in the middle of her freshman year at UCLA, settling into life away from home for the first time. But instead of thinking about dorm food or exams, the 19-year-old is focused on something a little more abstract: old age. That’s because of a unique course Pearce is taking called Frontiers in Human Aging, designed to teach first-year college students what it means to get old — physically, emotionally and financially. Pearce said that before, she barely noticed elderly people when she passed them on the street. Since being in the aging class, seeing them fills her mind with questions: Do they live alone? Will they develop dementia? Do they interact with anyone apart from relatives?” It’s weird, I know,” she said. “But before, I didn’t have any knowledge really about aging. I didn’t even interact with any older people except for my grandmother. Now I’m learning so much.” In addition to teaching students about aging, the professors have another goal in mind: inspiring them to pursue careers working with the elderly.

With more than 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, there is a growing need, said Rita Effros, a professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine who teaches both undergraduates and medical students. Throughout the year, students hear lectures about anxiety, genetics and dementia. They discuss ageism and read about Social Security. They stage debates on assisted suicide and watch films about growing old. The course lasts from September to June, and students can go on to take other classes about aging, including ones that focus on diversity or public policy.

For the article from the CNN, click here.

June 27

Geriatric consultation with trauma surgeons improves outcomes for elderly accident victims

An immediate consultation between trauma surgeons and a geriatrician improves multidisciplinary care of elderly accident victims and the sensitivity of the family to the patient’s ongoing health care needs. The process also demonstrates the role of the hospital’s trauma surgery service as a foundation for creating comprehensive clinical pathways for acute and follow-up care of vulnerable elderly patients, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons in advance of print publication. Researchers compared processes of care and clinical outcomes before and after a trauma surgery program that began in September 2013 and automatically referred patients age 70 years and older for geriatric consultation. The approach used in this study triggered a consultation with a geriatrician whenever an elderly patient was sent for trauma surgery.

For the article from the EurekAlert, click here.

June 23

Hybrid Long-Term Care Policies Provide Cash and Leave Some Behind

A relatively new option for those who wish to buy long term care insurance is a hybrid policy that packages coverage for long-term care with a universal life insurance policy or a fixed annuity. Such products can be tapped for reasons other than long-term care and even passed on to heirs, although the amount available for other uses is reduced if you use the hybrid to pay for long-term care. Sales of such hybrid or combination products have more than doubled since 2008 to more than $2.4 billion last year, according to Limra, an insurance industry research group. In comparison, $300 million in stand-alone policies for long-term care are sold annually, which are now actively sold by only 16 insurers, compared with nearly 100 a decade ago, as companies face higher costs and drop out of the market. A hybrid policy for long-term care works by keeping a certain amount of cash within the policy.

For the article from the New York Times, click here.

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