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E-Newsletter of September 13, 2011 | Vol. 4, No. 36



Thoughts From The Chair

Fall is upon us and back to school for many.  Just around the corner we have an opportunity to learn at the Elder Law Institute.  The Institute is entitled More than Medical Assistance:  The Intersection of Elder Law with Other Practice Areas, and is being held on October 6 & 7.  If you haven’t checked out the offerings, please do so here.

Among the highlights of the Institute are:

  • Keynote Address from Lucinda Jesson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services;
  • Discussion of Medicaid funding from David Godfrey, Medicaid Director for Minnesota
  • Several Panel Discussions, including on Medicare Benefits; Life Care Planning; End of Life Issues; and Tax and Estate Planning
  • “Basics” breakout sessions on Medical Assistance Eligibility; ABCs of Elder Law (breaking down acronyms); and Opening your First Probate
  • Panel for students and lawyers new to Elder Law on starting an Elder Law Practice
  • Numerous breakout sessions highlighting the intersection of Elder Law with other practice areas, including Family Law; Medical Malpractice; Veterans Administration benefits; Mediation; Guardianships and Conservatorships; and Long Term Care insurance
  • **Sessions for Elimination of Bias and Ethics Credits

Some of the goals of the Planning Committee, based on feedback from prior years, were to:  1) incorporate many topics, if only as introductions to help issue-spot; 2) include more perspectives/speakers from government entities; 3) promote understanding of the intersection of Elder Law with other practice areas; and 4) present offerings for both the new and experienced lawyer. 

It is also my hope that the issues discussed will foster further discussion among our members on how to meet the needs of a new generation of Elder Law clients.  The practice of Elder Law will continue to shift in the coming years.  More and more attorneys discuss the “uniqueness” of each situation that comes across their desk in terms of the need for knowledge in different practice areas.  Not only that, but we appear to be tied more and more to the operation of government as state and federal departments are adjusting and preparing for Federal Health Care Reform and changes in delivery models.  The Elder Law Institute is a great place to start and continue learning in these areas.  If nothing else, attendees learn the issues and network with others for when more information is needed.

Thanks for all you do.  Serve your clients well.  Register for the Elder Law Institute.

Suzy Scheller, Chair of the Elder Law Section



Item of Interest Header


The Awards Committee of the Elder Law Section is seeking nominations for Section awards to be presented at the Minnesota CLE Elder Law Institute on Thursday, October 6, 2011.  Nominations are sought for the Mary Alice Gooderl Memorial Award.  This Award is presented by the Elder Law Section to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the field of Elder Law by a member of the Elder Law Section, as exemplified by Mary Alice Gooderl, one of the founders of the Elder Law Section.  In addition, the Awards Committee considers nominations for special awards to recognize special achievements by section members or special contributions to the Elder Law Section or the field of Elder Law.
Nominations will close at 5 pm on Friday, September 23, 2011. Please submit nominations to Julian J. Zweber at 1360 Energy Park Drive, Suite 310, St. Paul, MN 55108-5252, telephone 651-646-4354 or 651-646-4539 (FAX) or to

Submitted by Julian J. Zweber, Chair, Awards Committee


Link of the Week


AARP, along with the Commonwealth Fund and The Scan Foundation, have released the first of its kind multi-dimensional State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults with Physical Disabilities and Family Caregivers. Attached is a copy of the Minnesota Scorecard and the full report is available here. An article in today’s Star Tribune about this report can be found here.

This report shows that the time is right to begin working on Long-Term Care re-design to improve access and quality and make long-term care more affordable for consumers and the state alike. Additionally, providers must be adequately reimbursed to ensure quality is sustained and improved. Finally, the scorecard data supports our long-standing position that Minnesota’s Rate Equalization law preserves affordability and quality for both private and public pay residents.

Here is a snapshot of some of the data revealed in the report:

  • If Minnesota had improved its performance in the area of serving individuals with low care needs, 4,193 more individuals could have received care in the community instead of more expensive nursing homes.
  • Minnesota ranks 21st in private pay nursing home affordability, with an annual median cost that is 219% of the median income of an older household.  This is somewhat more affordable than the national average of 241%.  
  • Minnesota had the lowest percent of nursing home residents with pressure sores and the lowest percent of nursing home residents with a hospital admission. 
  • Minnesota ranked 37th in the number of home health patients with a hospital admission and 35th in the percent of home health episodes of care in which interventions to prevent pressure sores were included in the plan of care.

Submitted by Jennifer Wright, Esq.


Elder Law News


Top marks for MN in elderly care | Star Tribune

America's Long-Term Care for Elderly, Disabled Has Much Room to Improve |Daily Finance

Toughen laws on elder abuse | Brainerd Dispatch

Nursing home neglected resident | Star Tribune

Joan Oja wins 2011 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award at Minnesota State Fair | Herald-Review

Foster grandparents help children in school | Echo Press


Elder Law Cases

There are no Minnesota cases to report this week.

Elder Law Statutes, Regulations, and Bulletins

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


Upcoming Events and CLE Programs


Ramsey County Bar Association
Medical Assistance – Dealing with the Five-Year Look-Back Period and the Problems It Can Cause
September 23, 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, October 18, 2011. The Medical Assistance Committee is a study group to analyze Elder Law Section member questions and case studies and to discuss administrative policies and procedures in relation to Medical Assistance in Minnesota.  Cathryn D. Reher of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., is Committee Chair.  For directions, or to attend by phone, please contact Tracie Fenske with Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., at 952-929-0622 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. Topics for the meeting may be submitted to under the subject heading “MA Committee Topic”, or faxed to 952-542-9201. 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 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7, 2011.  The meeting will be held following the Elder Law Institute at Minnesota CLE in Minneapolis.  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.

Go to the Section Website Header