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E-Newsletter of July 19, 2011 | Vol. 4, No. 28



Brief Update From the Chair


The Shutdown appears to be nearing an end (maybe), but the impact may linger.  Many issues have been on hold and will require time to resolve once a final budget is passed. 

Thanks to those who responded with how the shutdown may be affecting Elder Law clients, including wrongful discharge hearings on behalf of nursing home residents on hold indefinitely, with no redress for the discharged Plaintiff; and significant reduction in the number of state workers available to field calls from long-term care recipients.

While legislators state that the budget deal avoids massive cuts to Health and Human Services programs, the end result remains to be seen.  Stay tuned and engaged.

Suzy Scheller, Chair of the Elder Law Section


Item of Interest


It Shouldn’t Be this Way: The Failure of Long-Term Care (2005) by Robert L. Kane, MD & Joan C. West

Robert L. Kane is a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School where he directs the Center on Aging.  Joan C. West is an elementary school teacher and sister of Robert Kane.

This book recounts the experience of siblings Kane and West caring for their mother after she suffered a major stroke until her death 3 years later.  Much of the book is a first-hand account of their experiences with hospitals, rehab, assisted living, nursing home, and end of life care.  Due to her physical and mental condition, and perhaps also her personality, the mother had a difficult experience in the various treatment and living situations.  Even though Kane is a geriatric physician and Ms. West is a devoted daughter, they had difficulty finding the appropriate care for their mother as her situation deteriorated and the book is somewhat negative as a result. 

However, at the end of each chapter they write a series of “Lessons” about each experience. For example, they discuss the fact that each facility has its own priorities and they may not be the same as the patient’s or family’s priorities.  Hospitals may want to discharge patients as soon as possible.  Assisted living facilities don’t actually provide much care to their residents and often want families to hire and pay for personal care givers in addition to what the facility provides.  Memory care units put individuals with dementia together which may be safer but less pleasant for the patients.  Nursing homes are places to die, not places to live.

This book has some good lessons derived from personal and professional experience, and is quite realistic.  However, it was not particularly enjoyable to read.

Submitted by Cathy Thatcher, Esq.


Link of the Week


Generations, the Journal of the American Society on Aging

The American Society on Aging (ASA) is an association committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families. Each issue of ASA's quarterly journal, Generations, covers a single topic in-depth.  This week’s featured link contains three articles from the spring 2011 issue of Generations.  The spring 2011 issue focused upon the Affordable Care Act.  The link is the starting page for ASA’s “Policy and Advocacy” resources, which cover such areas as elder rights, healthcare reform, Medicare, the Older Americans Act, and Social Security on an ongoing basis.

Additional information is available at:

Submitted by Laura Orr, Esq.

Elder Law News


Debt limit talks may target federal Medicaid payments to states | MPR

Some services for seniors restored | Echo Press

Prime Time: Senior Center members burn the mortgage | Bemidji Pioneer

Today's seniors redefining retirement by aging actively | Inforum

Elder Law Cases

The following published decision was released by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on July 11, 2011:


In re:  Guardianship of Jeffrey DeYoung.

HUDSON, Judge:           
Because a guardian is granted its powers and duties by the district court and is subject to the direction and control of the district court under Minn. Stat. § 524.5-313 (2010), a guardian is not permitted to delegate those duties and powers to a third party, especially to a caregiver or group home that is statutorily prohibited from serving as guardian under Minn. Stat. § 524.5-309(c) (2010).            

The decision is available here.


Elder Law Statutes, Regulations, and Bulletins


There are no Statutes, Regulations, or Bulletins to report this week.


Upcoming Events and CLE Programs


Minnesota State Bar Association
2011 Probate & Trust Law Section Conference
August 30, 2011


Minnesota CLE
2011 Elder Law Institute
SAVE THE DATE: October 6 and 7, 2011
The Elder Law Institute (ELI), a collaboration between the MSBA’s Elder Law Section and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, is an annual conference designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for attorneys and others interested in the practice of Elder Law.  The ELI offers a wide range of educational programming, ranging from discussions of nursing home and Medical Assistance issues to legislative updates and policy analysis.  ELI Attendees receive from nine to eleven Continuing Legal Education credits, depending upon the length of the conference.
Stay tuned for more information and online registration.


Elder Law Section Activities


MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 16, 2011.  Topics for the meeting may be submitted to MA Committee Chair, Cathryn Reher, at, or faxed to 952-542-9201. For directions, or to attend by phone, please contact Tracie Fenske with Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. at 952-929-0622.  Please be reminded that the meeting location is: Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418. There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.

GOVERNING COUNCIL:  The next meeting of the Elder Law Section Governing Council will be 3:30 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2011.  The meeting will be held at Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418.  There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.  For further information, please contact Suzy Scheller, Chair, at:


Elder Law Website


DON'T FORGET THAT THE ELDER LAW WEBSITE IS A GREAT RESOURCE. Here’s what you can find on the Elder Law Section website: Links to the DHS Health Care Programs Manual, the DHS Bulletin on treatment of uncompensated transfers, the Minnesota Bankers Association Compliance Bulletin on Powers of Attorney, legislative summary; Practice Links to organizations such as NAELA, ABA Commission on Law and Aging, Links to Federal and State Government Agencies, Statutes, and Regulations; Meeting Notices, Listings of Officers and Council Members, Section Bylaws, and more.

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