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Elder Law Blog

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Volunteers Needed for Dementia Caregiver Studies


Rice University is recruiting caregivers who are currently caring for a spouse or romantic partner with Alzheimer's Disease, or related dementias, for two research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  "Project Care" is a fully remote study of caregivers' emotions and health during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Caregivers can participate in the study remotely, through online and mobile phone surveys, and will be compensated for their time.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine: Who, When, Where?

Over a million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been allocated to health care providers across Texas and about 174,000 Texans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. To be fully vaccinated, a person must receive two doses of the vaccine, administered about 3-4 weeks apart.  In the first phase of vaccination in Texas (Phase 1A), front line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are eligible for the vaccine.  In the next phase, Phase 1B, which began in late December, vaccines are being administered to seniors age 65 or older and individuals age 16 or older with certain chronic conditions. 


Read more . . .


Friday, December 18, 2020

Season's Greetings and Hope for the New Year

We wish everyone a safe, happy holiday season and hope that all those who lost a loved one this year find comfort in the nearness - or virtual nearness - of family.  We are grieved by the unexpected loss of clients in 2020, particularly those who were infected by Covid-19, residing in locked down nursing homes, or otherwise adversely affected by the pandemic.  Long-term care facilities will begin to receive and administer the Covid vaccines later this month according to the governor.  Here is some other hopeful news about the accidental discovery of a potential cure for hereditary blindness.  


Read more . . .


Monday, August 3, 2020

Funding Home Care for Elderly and Disabled


Tuesday, August 4th, is call-in day to push for dedicated funding of home and community-based services (HCBS) in the new COVID-19 relief legislation that is being negotiated in the U.S. Senate.  This is desperately needed in Texas, where HCBS funding has been greatly reduced during the pandemic, resulting in long delays for individuals waiting on the Interest List for an opportunity to apply for HCBS-Star Plus Waiver benefits.

As recently discussed on this blog, Medicaid requires states to provide nursing facility services, but does not mandate home and community-based care for elderly and disabled beneficiaries.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Home Care Alternatives to Nursing Facilities


As the spread of coronavirus threatens elderly and disabled residents of long-term care facilities, it is important to be informed about home-based alternatives to institutional care.  Major outbreaks of coronavirus have occurred in long-term care facilities across the U.S., infecting staff as well as residents.  Deaths from these outbreaks account for one-third to one-half of total COVID-19 fatalities.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Coronavirus Spreading in Nursing Homes

Large outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus have occurred among residents and staff at Texas long-term care facilities in San Antonio, Lubbock, Texas City, La Porte, and other cities.  State regulators have asked facilities to report coronavirus cases, and to inform residents and their families of cases within the facility.  While state government is collecting this data, it has failed to publicly release the numbers of cases and names of facilities where coronavirus has been reported. 



Read more . . .


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Covid-19: Expanded Medicare Telehealth Services


Telehealth & related services

Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency. These services expand the current telehealth covered services, to help you have access from more places (including your home), with a wider range of communication tools (including smartphones), to interact with a range of providers (such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social worker). During this time, you will be able to receive a specific set of services through telehealth including evaluation and management visits (common office visits), mental health counseling and preventive health screenings.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Long-Term Care Path from Medicare to Medicaid


Although Congress enacted Medicaid in the 1960s to provide health care coverage for the poor, Medicaid has become the primary pay source for nursing home and long-term care for the vulnerable elderly population.  The majority of nursing home residents, or 80%, are age 65 or older and 62% of residents are covered by Medicaid, which is available to beneficiaries with limited income and assets. 

Medicare – the national health insurance program for seniors and the disabled who work a sufficient number of quarters and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes – covers nearly 60 million people, mostly seniors, however Medicare provides very limited coverage of long-term nursing home care, just 100 days of rehabilitation in a facility after a 3-day hospital stay.  This and other Medicare coverage gaps, premiums, and copayments help explain why Medicare beneficiaries spend a larger share of income on health care costs than non-Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.  Few can afford long-term care insurance or the annual cost of nursing home care, which was $82 thousand in 2016, more than three times the annual income of most seniors, according to KFF.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 10, 2020

New Retirement Account Rules for the New Year


Happy 2020!  Major changes to the federal retirement account rules were signed into law December 20, 2019, under the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act).  Under the new rules, a retirement account can no longer be "stretched" and must be distributed within 10 years to non-spouse beneficiaries.  This will increase the taxes that beneficiaries pay on the funds.  An exception was provided for disabled beneficiaries, thanks to the advocacy work of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). 

Fortunately, most retirement accounts continue to be excluded as a resource in long-term care Medicaid.


Read more . . .


Monday, September 23, 2019

Medicare Enrollment: Public Option vs. Private Insurance

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period is October 15 – December 7.  Here are some things you can do during the annual enrollment period

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan [1] or switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan [2] back to Original Medicare [3].
  •  Join a Medicare Advantage Plan or change to another Medicare Advantage Plan.

Read more . . .


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

List of Poor-Performing Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a list of under-performing nursing homes, including over thirty facilities in Texas. 


Read more . . .


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Attorney Nancy Stone assists clients with Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, and Estate Planning throughout Harris County, TX. I am now based in Sugar Land and serve all of Houston, Harris County, Bellaire, Jersey Village, Cypress, West University, The Heights, Pearland, Alvin, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Kingwood, Humble, The Woodlands, Spring, Tomball, Richmond, Rosenberg Pasadena, Baytown, La Porte, Clear Lake, Texas City, Katy, Friendswood, Stafford, as well as Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Waller County and throughout Southeast TX.



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| Phone: 713.434.6310 | 281.566.2500

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