E-Newsletter of October 2, 2012 | Vol. 5, No. 40
THOUGHTS FROM THE CHAIR
Did you know that there are more than 23 million veterans in the United States today? Next month, we will celebrate Veterans Day, which first commemorated a temporary cease-fire on November 11, 1918, between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. November 11th became a federal legal holiday in 1938, and following World War II and the Korean War, became a holiday dedicated to all American veterans. Unlike Memorial Day, which honors our service members who died in service to their country, Veterans Day is a tribute to all American veterans. It is an opportunity for each of us to thank our living veterans.
The Veterans Administration is reportedly struggling to keep pace with applications for all kinds of benefits. At the end of September, the VA reportedly had a backlog of 890,000 pension and compensation claims pending. Improvements in equipment and battlefield medicine mean that more of our service men and women return home, despite being wounded in battle. And our “wars” now drag on for years, even decades.
I admit that I wasn’t as aware of veterans’ issues as I should have been until I became a military mother. My son joined the US Marines in 2006, and that experience changed my life forever. I have never been more humbled, or more proud, than when I watched my ‘baby boy’ in full dress blues present the flag as part of the honor guard at my father’s funeral. And there is nothing
more terrifying than watching him leave on deployment – not knowing when, or if, I will see him again.
We have lost all of our WWI veterans to time, and our WWII veterans will be gone before long as well. When they are gone, a huge piece of our national history will go with them. If you are representing veterans or their families, I encourage you to take a minute to express your gratitude for their service.
Submitted by Laura Zdychnec, Esq.
Elder Law Section Chair
Experience the rewards Of Becoming a Foster Grandparent | Citizen Newspaper
MinneCensus: man our state is getting old! | Star Tribune
Universal coverage keeps cost down in Germany | Star Tribune
Essentia overbilled Medicare, audit says | Duluth News Tribune
Submitted by Joel Smith, Esq.
There are no cases to report this week.
DHS SUBMITS MA REFORM WAIVER TO CMS; ANNOUNCES SECOND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
On August 24, 2012, Governor Mark Dayton submitted the long-awaited MA Reform Waiver request to Kathleen Sibilius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Entitled, "Reform 2012 : Pathways to Independence, Section 1115 Waiver Proposal" this waiver request seeks permission from CMS to dramatically reorganize delivery of institutional and home and community based services in Minnesota. The 2011 Legislature directed DHS to request whatever waivers, state plan amendments and access to funding would be necessary to accomplish the waiver's stated goals for reform of MA: community integration of services and independence for medically needy individuals; improved health care delivery; reduced reliance on institutional care; greater opportunities for employment and housing for needy individuals, and cost savings to allow long-term sustainability of needed services through better alignment of available services and people's needs. The proposal would accomplish these goals by reducing eligibility for MA benefits by increasing the criteria for nursing home admissions, thereby reducing access to MA benefits for both nursing home care and home and community based services; expanding access to home and community based services to more people through local community supports rather than MA programs; and further reducing MA expenditures by managing benefits to fit more closely with documented needs.
On September 24, 2012, DHS announced a second 30-day public comment period on the Reform Waiver proposal. State Register 37 SR 451. The purpose of the comment period, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24, 2012, is to provide an opportunity for comment on the fiscal analysis and historical expenditure data prepared as part of the Reform Waiver request. The fiscal analysis of the components of the reform requiring federal approval are available in Attachment O; the historical financial data can be found in Attachment P of the proposal.
The full text of the Reform 2020: Pathways to Independence waiver proposal as submitted to CMS, is available in PDF format here.
The public comments received by DHS during the initial comment period are available as Attachment L, here.
A paper copy of the proposal can be obtained from Quitina Cook at 651-431-2191.
Written comments may be submitted by mail to the address shown below or by email to: Reform2020Comments@state.mn.us. DHS would like to provide copies of comments in a format that is accessible for persons with disabilities. Comments can be submitted in Microsoft Word format or incorporated within email text. A signed comment letter may be submitted, and a copy of the letter may be submitted separately in Adobe PDF format, or mailed to the address below.
Comments must be received by Oct. 24, 2012.
Interim Medicaid Director
Minnesota Department of Human Services
PO Box 64998
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164
Following this comment period, DHS will resubmit the waiver proposal and CMS will hold a 30-day federal comment period.
All comments submitted during DHS’ initial June 18 to July 17, 2012, comment period remain part of the public record for this waiver and will be included when the proposal is resubmitted to CMS.
Submitted by Julian J. Zweber
Elder Law Section
SAVE THE DATE! The 22nd Annual Elder Law Institute will be held on October 11-12, 2012 at the Minnesota CLE Center in Minneapolis.
SAVE THE DATE! "Legal, Medical, and Ethical Issues in Minnesota End-of-Life Care," the Hamline University Health Law Institute's multidisciplinary CLE Symposium, will be held in Hamline's brand new Anderson Center on November 8-9, 2012. To learn more, click here.
Submitted by Thadeus M. Pope, Esq.
MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16, 2012. 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 email@example.com 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, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418. The meeting takes place in the building’s conference room. 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 on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:30 am, before the Elder Law Institute at the MSBA offices. For further information, please contact Laura Zdychnec, Chair, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DON'T FORGET THAT THE ELDER LAW WEBSITE IS A GREAT RESOURCE. Here’s what you can find on the 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