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Medicaid Is Balm and Benefit for Victims of Gun Violence
December 2, 2016
Kenneth Berry can feel the bullets in his body move. One jiggles down his leg toward his ankle; another presses on his sciatic nerve; a third has migrated to his hip. The three bullets have been inside Berry, 41, for more than two decades, pumped into him when he was a teenager near St. Louis. Now, after years without health coverage, besieged by untreated nerve pain and hunched over a cane, he finally has the golden ticket to get the medical procedures that will bring relief: a Medicaid card.
Full Story.

Rule Change Could Push Hospitals to Tell Patients About Nursing Home Quality
December 1, 2016
Hospitals have long been reluctant to share with patients their assessments of which nursing homes are best because of a Medicare requirement that patients' choices can't be restricted.
Full Story.

U.S. Justices Sympathetic to Death Row Inmate on Intellectual Disability
November 30, 2016
A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared ready to side with a man sentenced to death for a 1980 Houston murder who is challenging how Texas gauges whether a defendant has intellectual disabilities that would preclude execution.
Full Story.

Talks with Families Tied to Fewer Hospitalizations From Nursing Homes
November 29, 2016
Nursing homes that send fewer residents to the hospital at the end of life might do a better job of communicating with families about the pitfalls of aggressive interventions than other facilities, a recent U.S. study suggests.
Full Story.

Alone and Aging: Creating a Safety Net for Isolated Seniors
November 23, 2016
Phyllis Krantzman knows what she should do, but like many of her peers, the 71-year-old doesn’t know how to approach a casual acquaintance to ask who will take care of her when she needs it most. Krantzman, of Austin, Texas, is among a growing number of seniors who find themselves alone just when aging and end-of-life care becomes real.
Full Story.

U.S. News & World Report Names Best Nursing Homes for 2016–17
November 22, 2016
U.S. News & World Report, a leading expert in the evaluation and rating of health care providers across the country, today identified the Best Nursing Homes for 2016-17 and released its new Nursing Home Finder.
Full Story.

Medicare to Begin Paying for Diabetes Prevention Strategy
November 18, 2016
Medicare will start paying for a strategy to help millions of older Americans at high risk of diabetes from developing the disease, federal health officials announced.
Full Story.

2017 Medicare Premiums for Some to Rise 10 Percent, a Reprieve From Possible 20 Percent
November 17, 2016
About 6.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who had faced a 20 percent jump in their Part B premiums for 2017 won a reprieve on Thursday, when the government announced they would have to pay 10 percent more instead.
Full Story.

Hate Crimes Against Those With Disabilities Decline
November 16, 2016
The decline in disability-related cases comes as the FBI indicated that the total number of hate crimes rose.
Full Story.

A Startling Number of Seniors Have Been Victims of Financial Abuse
November 15, 2016
A new survey of caregivers finds that about 37 percent of seniors have experienced financial abuse — almost double the estimated 20 percent that Allianz Life found when it last conducted its survey in 2014. And many of them aren’t talking about it.
Full Story.


MO NAELA President to Testify Before Senate on Financial Abuse of Seniors
Tomorrow, the Senate Aging Committee will hold a hearing. Current NAELA Missouri Chapter President Jessica Kruse will testify in her own capacity. See press release. (November 29, 2016)

SNT Fairness Act Included in End-of-Year Health Package; House Vote Wednesday Nov. 30
A major end-of-year health package includes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (sec. 5007), which allows individuals with disabilities to set up their own d-4-a special needs trusts. The House plans to vote on the package Wednesday under “suspension of the rules.” Under suspension of the rules, House members cannot offer amendments on the floor, but it must pass by two-thirds vote. According to Congressional Quarterly, the Senate has yet to agree to a final version of the package with leadership driving the negotiations. (November 28, 2016)

NAELA Advocacy Update
Read the latest news on NAELA public policy and advocacy. (November 22, 2016)

NAELA Supports National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in November
In honor of November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, NAELA focuses on raising awareness of education and legal resources available for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. See press release. (November 10, 2016)

NAELA Recognizes Rep. Thompson as an Outstanding Advocate for Persons with Disabilities
NAELA presented Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) with an award for his outstanding advocacy for persons with disabilities in the 114th Congress. See press release. (October 20, 2016)

NAELA Advocacy Update
Read the latest news on NAELA public policy and advocacy. (October 4, 2016)

NAELA Attorneys Celebrate Ban on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements for Nursing Homes

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) celebrates the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ban long-term care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid funds from entering into pre-dispute arbitration agreements with residents. See press release. (October 3, 2016)

NAELA Celebrates National Special Needs Law Month in October
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) established October as National Special Needs Law Month as a grassroots effort to help people with disabilities and their families understand special needs planning and the resources available to them. See press release. (September 30, 2016)

NAELA Praises House Passage of Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act
The House passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (H.R. 670) 382 to 22 today, which corrects an error in the law that presumes that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs. See press release. (September 22, 2016)

NAELA Foundation Announces 2017 Conference Scholarship Opportunity
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Foundation proudly announces the availability of the Cohn Sisters’ Scholarships for Patient Advocacy for attendance at the 2017 NAELA Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts (April 27-29). Learn more and submit an application by January 20, 2017. (September 22, 2016)

NAELA President's Award Given to PLAN/NJ Executive Director, Ellen Nalven
Green Brook resident and Executive Director of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of New Jersey (PLAN/NJ) located in Somerville, Ellen Nalven, M. Ed, recently received The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) 2016 President's Award. Read more. (August 23, 2016)

NAELA Releases Video Series for People With Multiple Sclerosis
The new “Legal and Care Planning for People with Multiple Sclerosis” video series is intended to help people diagnosed with MS and their families understand the complex legal and planning issues they face. It was produced via a partnership between the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and Stetson University College of Law, in consultation with the National MS Society. See press release. (August 15, 2016)

Update on DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority
The federal district court’s decision in DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority determined that special needs trust (SNT) distributions could be counted as income in determining Section 8 eligibility. NAELA members Ron Landsman, Esq., CAP, and Emily Starr, CELA, wrote and submitted an amicus brief on the case, with assistance from NAELA member Gregory Wilcox, CELA.

The 1st Circuit acknowledged the work of NAELA, the Special Needs Alliance and the National Housing Law Project regarding regulation § 5.603(b), which states that “’income’ in section 5.603(b) does not include the principal that initially funded the trust.”

DeCambre’s main claim focused on whether the housing authority made an error under the relevant regulations when calculating her income. She argued that SNT monies were from lump-sum payments and thus any SNT distribution was excluded from her annual income.

After again looking at the regulation and considering the parties’ arguments, the court rejected the defendant’s position.

“This does not address third-party trusts, but this is a victory for people with first-party pooled trust accounts or relatively modest individual special needs trusts. It means that drawing down principal and distributing it from the trust or trust account is not income for rent calculation purposes. The rare person with a really large special needs trust account who has substantial income from the trust — interest, dividends, realized capital gains — will have all of that counted for rent purposes,” said Landsman.

View the case ruling.