ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 60

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 60 February 24, 2015 PRESIDENT OBAMA’S proposed budget extends Social Security benefits to married same-sex couples in all states.  (NAELA, citing Huffington Post, February 4, 2015.)  SOME VERMONT Aid-in-Dying Law provisions are scheduled to expire in 2016.  Vermont is the first state to enact a law through its Legislature allowing terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to request lethal medication from a doctor. Among the current provisions set to expire next year are: *A requirement for a psychiatric evaluation if there is any indication that a patient requesting lethal medication has impaired judgment; *A 15-day waiting period between a patient’s first and second request for the medication; and *A waiting period after the last request before the doctor actually writes a prescription for the lethal drug. (NAELA, citing ABC News.) SUFFERING at the end of life is worse since 1997, not better.  “The number of Americans experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly 12 percent between 1998 and 2010, according to a study released Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In addition, depression in the last year of life increased by more than 26 percent.”  (NAELA, citing Kaiser Health News.) When my friend and client Joe was in hospice the nurse refused to give him additional pain medication.  She said the doctor did not want Joe to become addicted.  After learning I was his lawyer she called the doctor and got more pain medication.  But what if I wasn’t there or wasn’t a lawyer?  Would they just let him suffer?  Does it really matter if he becomes an...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 59

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 59 February 3, 2015   OBAMA backs away from idea to remove tax deduction for future contributions to 529 college plans.  (Various.) OBAMACARE health plans have a 90% renewal rate, with over 95% of California enrollments being renewed for 2015.  (Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2015.) STENTS aren’t just for hearts anymore.  Cardiologists and other doctors receive large sums to place stents in arms and legs.  This controversial procedure is done in a doctor’s office, not a hospital.  Many medical experts say the underlying conditions should be treated with exercise, weight loss and medication.  One cardiologist’s office billed Medicare $18 million in 2012 for these procedures.  The Justice Department has joined 2 whistleblower lawsuits claiming some procedures are unnecessary.  (New York Times, January 29, 2015.) MEDICARE to change payment models to reward doctors and hospitals for better patient care outcomes.  (Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2015.) SENIOR citizens in skilled nursing facilities, board and care homes, and similar places across the country are being “slammed” by some strains of the flu that were not in the vaccine this year.  (NAELA eBulletin, January 21, 2015.) VETERAN’S ADMINISTRATION will develop a plan for housing homeless veterans on the West Los Angeles health campus to settle ACLU lawsuit filed in 2011.  (Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2015.) DEPARTMENT of Veteran’s Affairs proposes rule to establish new requirements for eligibility for VA’s needs-based benefit programs, including three-year look-back on asset transfers and other requirements.  (NAELA, Advocacy Update.) PEOPLE on both Medicare and Medi-Cal (“medi-medi’s”) are supposed to transfer into HMOs instead of staying with their current doctors.  These Medi-Medi’s constitute 20% of...