Friday, November 21, 2014

Elder Law: Off To A Great Start

By Elizabeth P. Allen and Debra L. Dandar

With the holiday season upon us, we would like to report on our recent and upcoming Elder Law Section meetings. We started off the year with a bang. Our first speaker was Kathleen Kowalik, DCF Medicaid specialist, accompanied by her teammate, fellow Medicaid specialist Elizabeth Thomas. Together, they presented a thorough overview of the Medicaid Institutional Care Program application process, including analysis of assets, income, transfers, technical requirements, and proper procedures to use in submitting an application through the ACCESS website. We had a terrific turnout, and many participants stayed late to ask additional questions of our speakers. Both specialists were very generous with their time, staying until all questions had been answered. We are most appreciative of their consideration in sharing their knowledge with us.

At the October meeting, Rebecca C. Bell, LLM, presented a Medicaid Managed Care Update. The information provided was important, timely, and highly relevant, and we thank her for sharing her knowledge with us. Our November luncheon speaker was Diane Daniels, Medicare specialist, who planned to address various issues concerning Medicare coverage. Since seniors are reviewing their options for Medicare coverage for the upcoming year, this timely topic will help us assist our clients in making informed choices and will enable us to help clients deal with coverage issues they may face.

Our speaker for December 12 is Laura Penley, district long-term care ombudsman, who will discuss laws, rules, and issues concerning nursing homes and residents’ rights. We look forward to the opportunity to increase our knowledge in this area so that we may act as better advocates for our clients.

Additional speakers in 2015 include Dale Krause (January 9), who will discuss Medicaid and VA compliant annuities, and Travis Finchum (February 5), who will discuss SSI rules and lesser-known Medicaid programs such as QMB, SLMB, QI1, and Medically Needy, as well as answer questions regarding special-needs trusts. Tae Kelley Bronner (April 23) will address homestead issues. Tae anticipates that new homestead legislation may be passed in 2015, and she plans to provide us with an update on that topic. We are also planning to add presentations on VA benefits and probate estate issues.

Each luncheon qualifies for one hour of CLE credit and provides for networking opportunities with your friends and colleagues. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m., with luncheons beginning at noon. All luncheons are held in the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center.

So please join us at our meetings, and if you have suggestions, ideas for speakers or topics, or an article submission for the Lawyer magazine, please contact Elizabeth P. Allen, or 813-877-9222, or Debra L. Dandar, or 813-282-3390. 

We look forward to seeing you and wish each of you a very happy holiday season.