Three Things We Have Recently Learned – October, 2014 Newsletter

 

Chronicles of a Professional Guardian

 

Serving as Care Managers, Elderly & Disabled Life Care Plan Assessors, and providing Professional Guardian services in Central Florida for over 20 years, we have discovered unique solutions to many difficult problems.

 

We are continuing our tradition of giving back by sharing our knowledge in the hopes that this information can help others to better serve and care for our elderly and disabled population.

 


Three Things We Have Learned Recently

 

 

OrlandoGuardian.com Three Things

Image Credit: Hubert Figuière

As a guardianship firm, we are always discovering new information about a variety of topics, all of which help us provide better services to our clients. This month, we thought we would share with you a few things that we have learned recently.

 

These topics may seem a little varied and unconnected in subject matter, but each taught us something new about how the world of elder care is changing.

 

Topic 1 – Physician Challenges with the Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance Program

 

Recently, the Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) program was rolled out throughout the State of Florida, however many doctor’s offices still don’t understand the MMA Claims Process.

 

From what we have been told after talking to a few different MMA providers is that as long as the patient has Medicare as primary coverage, any doctor that accepts Medicare can still submit claims to the MMA provider, regardless of whether or not the doctor is contracted with the MMA provider.

 

If the doctor’s office has never submitted claims to the MMA provider before, all they have to do is submit the claims to the address on the back of the ID card. The doctor’s office needs to make sure their remittance address is noted on the claim form.

 

We have also been told that while some of the Primary Care Physician (PCP) information on the ID cards may be incorrect, it should not affect payments of claims.

 

Of course, the MMA program is still in its early stages after the roll out, as it was implemented throughout the state in all Medicaid regions as of August, 2014. Only time will tell if what we are being told by some MMA providers is how the program is actually working in reality.

 

Topic 2 – Changes to the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Assignments

 

An “Order Establishing Divisions and Assigning Judges to Divisions in the Circuit and County Courts of the Ninth Judicial Circuit for 2015” was recently put into effect in late August, 2014, outlining the Judicial assignments for Orange and Osceola Counties.

 

This change was implemented in order to promote “the efficient and timely disposition of judicial business in the Circuit and County Courts of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.”

 

As such, you may see some changes as to which Judges are presiding over different Divisions and Circuits come January 1, 2015.

 

Click here to see the new lineup.
 

Topic 3 – Sun Rail Helps Seniors Become More Active

 

Sun Rail began running in Central Florida in May, 2014, as a way to make commuting and public transportation more accessible to Floridians. However, Sun Rail is being used in another way too – to make the lives of our elderly citizens more active, by giving seniors access to various parts of Central Florida.

 

Known as Seniors on Sun Rail, the program is giving seniors a way to see different parts of Central Florida, by taking day trips to different locations along the Sun Rail path. This allows seniors to get out and be more active, taking them to places that they may have never visited before. The seniors on Sun Rail series commenced in August, 2014, and took Seniors from Deland to Winter Park, where they visited the Morse Museum.

 

And the best part? It doesn’t cost anything for seniors. To learn more about the Senior Day-Cations on Sun Rail, read the Daytona Beach News-Journal article, or call Aging Tree at 386-774-2446 and ask about the Seniors for Sun Rail program.

 


Did You Know?

 

There is a non-profit organization that assists with the costs of medications for chronic conditions, called Chronic Disease Fund? They currently cover 27 diagnosis and help with 63 different types of drugs for these diagnosis, and you don’t have to be on Medicare or Medicaid to take advantage of the program.

 

To learn more about this program, visit: http://pnp.cdfund.org/.

 


Upcoming Guardian Care Events:

 

As active members of the community, we can be found around town speaking, sponsoring, supporting, and educating other professionals and the general public on Guardianship and caring for the elderly and disabled.

 

Want us to speak at your next event? Our topics include Guardianship, Private Care Management, and Elderly & Disabled Life Plan Assessment. Feel free to contact us at 407.786.6033.

 

Upcoming Events:

  • October 9th – Presenting “Wards Gone Wild, Not Just Sex,” at the 2014 Elder Law Conference in Tampa

Previous Events:

  • September 24 – Presentation “Help Your Aging Family Members,” at Serenades of Sonata
  • September 13 – Presentation “Wards Gone Wild, Not Just Sex,” at the 2014 Elder Law Conference in Boca Raton

Community Events

 

Click on the event for additional information.

Things to Consider When Accepting a Guardianship Case – September, 2014 Newsletter

 

Chronicles of a Professional Guardian

 

Serving as Care Managers, Elderly & Disabled Life Care Plan Assessors, and providing Professional Guardian services in Central Florida for over 20 years, we have discovered unique solutions to many difficult problems.

 

We are continuing our tradition of giving back by sharing our knowledge in the hopes that this information can help others to better serve and care for our elderly and disabled population.

 


Things to Consider When Accepting a Guardianship Case

 

7155138495_b708a7eee8_k

Image Credit: Sasquatch I

Taking on a new guardianship case is an important decision, one that shouldn’t be made lightly. After all, you are going to be legally responsible for the ward, often for the rest of their life.

 

That’s why it is important to review the ward’s life and property situations, and try to understand what issues and difficulties you may be facing once you’ve accepted the case. (At least as much as possible, sometimes accurate information about a ward’s life is hard to come by.) Guardians who fail to review a ward’s situation as much as possible prior to accepting the case may find themselves responsible for client’s circumstances that have no good answer or solution, and that are difficult, if not downright impossible, to handle.

 

Over the 22+ years of being someone’s Guardian, we’d like to think we’ve gotten fairly good at doing the “pre-check” before accepting a case. Of course, there are always surprises and unknowns, but by asking the right questions we are able to know (as best we can) what we are agreeing to before we accept a case.

 

Here are a few areas that can be problematic, that you may want to inquire about prior to accepting a case.

 

Property Issues

 

Ask and research public records about the home. Does the ward own a home, and is it solely in their name? Does the home still have a mortgage? Local real estate, titled in the ward’s name without a mortgage is some of the easiest property to deal with, because it’s very clearly the ward’s property, and you don’t have to worry about ongoing payments.

 

Does the ward own property that is out of the area? This is a red flag. You might want to learn more about the out of area property prior to accepting the case.

 

Does the ward own local real estate or other property that is upside down, in foreclosure, without homeowner’s or flood insurance, has a tax lien, or that is occupied by someone else? Any of these issues are a red flag. You might want to inquire about the situation further prior to accepting the case.

 

Legal Issues

 

Are there people currently in the ward’s life with active authority documents, such as a Health Care Surrogate, Durable Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney, Trustee, or Guardian? This is a red flag. Anytime someone else has active authority documents for the ward, you may want to inquire further to determine how these players fit into the equation, how involved they are, and whether or not their authority will remain once the guardianship is in place.

 

Is the ward a registered sex offender? This is a huge red flag, and is an issue that you most likely do not want to take on. Learn about the situation and think long and hard before accepting this type of case, because of the difficulties involved.

 

Health Issues

 

Does the ward have a severe health condition, such as being on a ventilator, which prevents them from finding local long term care or placement? You might want to think twice about accepting this case, because you may not be able to find adequate placement for this ward.

 

Social Issues

 

Does the ward have a current spouse who does not want the guardianship to take place? Spouses, especially ones who are against the guardianship, can make the whole process even more complicated and cumbersome. Consider obtaining more info about why the spouse is opposed to the guardianship prior to accepting the case.

 

Does the ward have minor children? Who is taking care of them? Where do they live? Who is legally responsible for them? Minor children can be a big deal in a guardianship case. Obtain as much information as possible so that you know what you are stepping into if you take on the case.

 

Is the ward able to make a child? This is a big red flag as pregnancy and guardianship is riddled with difficult challenges. Consider obtaining more info about the ward and their lifestyle.

 

Does the ward have farm animals, a large number of pets, or exotic animals? And, what is the funding like to care for these animals? All of these issues can be a red flag, especially if the funds are limited to care for the animals. Try to obtain more info, and do your research about the animals, prior to accepting the case.

 

While these aren’t all of the items we review when deciding to accept a new case, these are a few issues that are particularly sticky and can cause the case to be more difficult than others.

 

What weird or difficult issue do you ask about, prior to accepting a case? Leave us a comment to let us know what you like to focus on before saying yes.

 


A Few Things We Learned Recently:

 

After taking a Medicare Hospice Benefit webinar, we learned a few things that were share-worthy. Here are a few highlights:

 

People with chronic heart failure, lung cancer, colon cancer, or pancreatic cancer who elect hospice usually live longer than those choosing curative treatment.

 

If you need to file a complaint about Hospice, contact the State Department of Public Health, the CMS Regional Office, and the Joint Commission.

 

The powers that be are bouncing around ideas that will change the scope of hospice care, to where a hospice beneficiary would get all of their medical and health care needs covered by hospice, even for issues that are not related to the diagnosis that qualified them for hospice care.

 


Acronyms to Recognize:

 

Here are a few acronyms that are often used throughout the elder care community that might be helpful to know:

 

POLST: Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

 

IDG: Interdisciplinary Group

 

QIO: Qualify Improvement Office / Organization

 


Upcoming Guardian Care Events:

 

As active members of the community, we can be found around town speaking, sponsoring, supporting, and educating other professionals and the general public on Guardianship and caring for the elderly and disabled.

 

Want us to speak at your next event? Our topics include Guardianship, Private Care Management, and Elderly & Disabled Life Plan Assessment. Feel free to contact us at 407.786.6033.


Community Events

 

Click on the event for additional information.

Event Wrap Up – GSI as a Pre-Conference Intensive at the 2014 FSGA Conference – August, 2014 Newsletter

 

Chronicles of a Professional Guardian

 

Serving as Care Managers, Elderly & Disabled Life Care Plan Assessors, and providing Professional Guardian services in Central Florida for over 20 years, we have discovered unique solutions to many difficult problems.

 

We are continuing our tradition of giving back by sharing our knowledge in the hopes that this information can help others to better serve and care for our elderly and disabled population.

 


Event Wrap Up – GSI as a Pre-Conference Intensive at the 2014 FSGA Conference

 

GSI at FSGA 2014 Conference Beth

Our special guest, Beth

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the most recent GSI event, and to say thank you to FSGA for inviting us back for another year at the annual Guardianship Conference.
First debuted in 2011, FSGA had again invited us to host the GSI course, this time as a pre-conference intensive, to help fellow guardians and other professionals put on their detective hats, and learn some tricks of searching through a ward’s residence to learn more about them, and to put together the puzzle that is the bigger picture of the ward’s life.
Since we have done this course a few years in a row, all over the state, we decided to shake things up a little bit. This year’s story revolved around Beth, an elderly woman in a specialty hospital. One of the big surprises in this year’s event was that Beth, and her hospital bed, were able to join us and help make the course more realistic.
(If you didn’t attend the GSI class it is important to note that Beth is a mannequin we dressed up, added a peg tube, coccyx wound and more to help add to the ambiance of the course.)

 

This course offered a whole new set of clues and things to be aware of as attendees “traveled” from the hospital to her residence in an effort to learn more about Beth and her needs.
As with previous GSI courses, attendees got a kick out of the world we created. Feedback included people appreciating how detailed Beth’s care needs were, light bulb moments when learning of new places to look for information in the home or other residential settings, and a general appreciation of tricks and tips taught throughout the class.
However, one of the most frequent things we hear from attendee’ evaluations s is how they wish there was more time to spend in the room because there are so many clues and pieces of information packed into the experience.

 

If you missed it, or even if you didn’t, go poke around our GSI site, look at the photos, read some of the comments and please, feel free to give us your “wish list” for the next GSI course.
We were thankful to be invited back to FSGA this year, and that course attendees enjoyed what we created. But most importantly, we want to thank our sponsor for GSI, Guardian Trust. Without them, we would not have been able to share this experience with others.

 


Did You Know?

 

Effective July 1, 2014 the Personal Needs Allowance for APD Group Homes / Residential Facilities is now $133.58, and the Room and Board rate is now $583.42.

 

Source: Email from APD, however you can find out more about this increase by visiting APD’s blog.


Tip of the Month:

 

Disabled residents in Orange County don’t have to leave their homes because they can’t afford to make the necessary modifications to their residence. The Center for Independent Living, through the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program can help make improvements including wheelchair ramps, bathroom modifications, providing equipment, and more.

 

Click here to learn more about this program and its requirements. 

 


Upcoming Guardian Care Events:

 

As active members of the community, we can be found around town speaking, sponsoring, supporting, and educating other professionals and the general public on Guardianship and caring for the elderly and disabled.

 

Here’s what we’re up to next:

  • September 24, 2014 – 11:30 am Presenting at Serenades By Sonata – Topic “Elder Care Issues and Guardianship”

Want us to speak at your next event? Our topics include Guardianship, Private Care Management, and Elderly & Disabled Life Plan Assessment. Feel free to contact us at 407.786.6033.


Community Events

 

Click on the event for additional information.