There are many reasons why elderly persons wind up in nursing homes, including voluntary admittance to obtain assistance with rehabilitation after a hospital stay or problematic behaviors associated with various mental conditions such as dementia. In order to afford nursing home costs, many of these adults rely on Medicaid and Medicare. A nursing home may choose to discharge a person for various reasons, including their coverage is running out or they feel the patient is ready for release. However, if a resident is being discharged, the discharge can be challenged.
As of 2015, new rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) went into effect. These rules regulate third-party debt collector communication and disclosure requirements. The aim of these reforms is to prevent predatory practices that deceive consumers for financial gain.
Recently, the New York State Office of the Attorney General announced that a New York nursing home chain, Elant, settled with its office for $600,000 stemming from claims that they benefited financially by prolonging residents’ stays longer than necessary. The nursing home chain admitted that several patients who were meant to be short term were transferred to one of their locations in financial peril. The transfer was against the wishes and consent of the residents and their families, and was meant to generate income for the location and assist in remedying the financial condition. Attorney General Schneiderman remarked that his office is dedicated to combating such practices and will “find those who use patients to siphon off critical taxpayer funds.”
Recently, five former health care workers at a nursing home facility were convicted of several crimes in connection with the death of a 72 year old rehabilitation patient. A respiratory therapist and three nurses were sentenced to various jail terms and probation for the attempted cover–up of the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death. In addition, another respiratory therapist entrusted with the patient’s care was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.
Mayor de Blasio recently passed a law that would grant greater protection to tenants and prevent landlords from forcing them to move out of rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments.
The law is designed to prevent landlords from forcing tenants to move from rent controlled and stabilized apartments so that landlords can then re-rent the apartments and charge higher rents. Violation of the new law will result in significant fines. Landlords may face penalties for a first time offense ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for engaging in prohibited tactics in an attempt to get tenants to vacate. Fines up to $20,000 may be imposed for additional violations.
The New York State Attorney General recently announced that a former employee of a nursing home has been arrested and indicted on 24 counts related to stealing over $6,000 from a nursing home trust fund. The indictment alleges Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree; two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree; and seven counts of Petit Larceny for incidents occurring between April 2013 and February 2014.
In New York State, a will is a written document that must contain a signature at the end witnessed by two people. The purpose of a will is to name beneficiaries who will receive property after your death. A will is revocable and can be destroyed by a physical act such as burning or tearing, by operation of law such as divorce, by presumption (for example, after your death the will cannot be found), or by a subsequent will. Accordingly, a will may be revised many times during one’s life. In a will, an executor for the estate and guardians for children may be named, and instructions for wishes to be carried out may be listed. Upon death, a will goes through the probate process and becomes a public document.
Recently, the New York State Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with a real estate developer protecting tenants’ rights and prohibiting an unfair buy-out agreement. In an effort to convert a historic Manhattan apartment building into a luxury condominium, the landlord illegally induced tenants to leave. Before the developers received approval to put the apartments on the market, they illegally bought out tenants, many of whom had resided at the location for many years.
If you’re finding it difficult to take care of your personal needs or your property, or maybe you do not really understand the decisions that you have been making, and/or your friends and family are concerned but are unable to provide the help you need, perhaps an appointed Guardian is an option for you or your loved one.
The New York Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 was established to provide a Guardian to handle the personal and property needs of an alleged incapacitated person. Incapacitated persons are those who are unable to provide for their own personal needs and/or to manage their property. In addition, an incapacitated person is someone who is unable to comprehend or appreciate the inability to handle such affairs.
You might be asking yourself, “Well, how does someone know they are an incapacitated person? What are the signs or symptoms so that you or a loved one can be appointed a Guardian?”
A Guardian is rarely appointed to an incapacitated person because he/or she self declares or voluntarily decides to classify themselves as an incapacitate person. Rather, it is a decision that is given by court order based upon the condition of the individual so that a Guardian can be appointed. The court’s decision is based upon evidence that is clear and convincing that the individual is likely to suffer from harm because he or she cannot comprehend the consequences of the actions they are taking or cannot provide for themselves adequately. The Guardian can be someone the incapacitated person recommends or nominates or simply someone the court appoints that can best serve their interests.
Now that you have an appointed Guardian or you’re aware that such an option is available, you’re probably wondering what a Guardian will actually do for me. The Duties and obligations of the Guardian are created in a particular way so that the needs of the incapacitated person are catered to in regards to personal care and/or the individual’s property management. There may be a variety of issues that a Guardian may be appointed to help with including financial affairs, physical illness, substance abuse or dependency, personal needs, management of property. The purpose is to help with the best interest of the incapacitated person in mind. The Guardian will help make decisions that may be too difficult to make alone, handle medical needs or personal care, and to make sure finances are in order.
The Law Firm of Hobson-Williams, P.C. can assist with all aspects of Guardianships from the application to the court, preparation for the court proceeding and after the Guardian is appointed.
Call our office at (718) 210-4744 now to schedule a consultation!
New York City has implemented several changes to the Medicaid Fair Hearing procedures. One of those changes includes restricting the ability to obtain an adjournment of the hearing by making the request online or by telephone. When contacting the N.Y.S. Office of Temporary Disability and Assistance (OTDA) office in Albany to request an adjournment, the agents who answer the phone will question the basis for the adjournment. They use a subjective standard of “good cause” to determine whether or not to grant the adjournment. In fact, I had a client who requested an adjournment of a fair hearing because the hearing was scheduled on Rosh Hashanah and she wanted to use that day to prepare for family who would be visiting for the Holiday. OTDA denied my request for an adjournment because Rosh Hashanah was not observed until sundown on the scheduled date.
I argued vehemently that religious observance was “good cause” and that OTDA cannot deny an adjournment request based upon religious observance. However, the request for an adjournment was denied. The agency’s rigid construction of “good cause” emanates from a lawsuit filed against the OTDA for delays in providing fair hearings to individuals who require immediate assistance. A court order is in place requiring OTDA to schedule a fair hearing within 90 days of the request.
The need to ensure efficiency must be balanced with the need to ensure that those with legitimate needs to postpone hearings are not unduely prejudiced by OTDA’s need to comply with the court’s order. It must be noted that pursuant to the Fishman lawsuit, that if an individual defaults (fails to appear) on a fair hearing, OTDA is required to notifiy the individual that their case will be defaulted if they fail to notify the agency that they wish to proceed with the hearing. Although my request for an adjournment was denied, I was able to obtain another hearing date on behalf of my client knowing about the Fishman litigation.