Day Two at Hamburger University:
Continued sessions on the new Medicaid eligibility rules dominated the second day of the IICLE conference. Constance Burnett Renzie (from Aurora's Elder Law Center) and Janna Dutton (from Chicago's Dutton & Casey) prepared excellent materials on determining eligibility for Medicaid. The changes brought on Illinois' implementation of the Deficit Reduction Act rules will certainly impact the skilled nursing industry in this state. Curiously, a quick Google reveals almost no search results of news articles in local newspapers. I am looking forward to seeing how many break-out sessions will be held on this topic at next year's annual Life Services Network and Illinois Health Care Association conferences.
The most interesting session addressed the issue of diminished capacity. With hypothetical examples (based upon actual events) the session leaders prompted an interesting discussion on the ethical dilemmas faced by elder law attorney's when they must judge the capacity and legal competency of their clients. The dialogue revealed not only the care and compassion the attorney's have for their clients and their commitment to act in accordance with professional standards, but also their general ignorance of the elder care industry. It was as if I was in a room of residential real estate attorneys, but only a few understood how a condominium association functions. Shocking.
Gaps in Knowledge:
Few attorneys were familiar that the Illinois Long Term Care Ombudsman program (here) is as an option when seeking to resolution to concerns at a skilled nursing facility in Illinois. Additionally, most were also blithely unaware of the Federal OBRA guidelines (here) and (here) and the impact violations can have on a facility. By the way, to the attorney who suggested that IDPH should consult to nursing homes, please review the mission of IDPH (here). Not surprisingly, many in the room automatically took an adversarial posture when dealing with a "difficult" bureaucrat, physician or facility staff member. What the conversation truly revealed was the need for elder law attorneys to partner with a social service professional in order to better understand their clients needs.
I do not want to seem to harsh, but even though these were not personal injury lawyers, but it would be prudent for them to have some knowledge of the elder care industry as well as the regulatory environment governing the client's residence.
What do you think?
On Wednesday I'll continue writing on CCRC regulations in Illinois and how we compare based upon the 2010 GAO report.
Until then, follow me on twitter @aginginchicago
* IICLE is the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education