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According to a UN General Assembly Report, the United States needs to step up its commitment to safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law in its own backyard — specifically, escalating abuse in the U.S. Elder Guardianship system. It’s legal, but is it right? Imagine you’ve worked hard all of your life and suddenly you are deemed incapacitated and are stripped of your dignity and basic individual rights. You have been abducted from your home, isolated from your family, and “placed” somewhere to be medicated while your assets are being pillaged. The authorities that should be protecting you are the ones committing these heinous acts. It sounds like Nazi Germany, but this is happening in the United States today. The victims are seniors. The partners in crime are financial predators and agents of the Elder Guardianship system — attorneys, professional guardians, medical experts, and others who are paid out of the senior’s assets. There are some good judges but many are overworked and some are actively aiding the exploitation. Anyone can file to deem you incapacitated. The entire process from filing an incapacity petition to plenary guardianship where all rights are removed can happen within days. Yet, once you’re caught in the web, it’s almost impossible to break free… AND you are forced to pay your abusers in the process. A 2013 AARP report gave a “best guess” estimate of the number of adults under guardianship nationally at 1.5 million. Idaho and Minnesota are the only states that track the amount of…

We’ve become aware of some hospital discharge situations that raised a significant element of concern relative to the ability of the discharged patient to select the nursing or rehabilitation facility of their choice. In two recent examples, patients were told that the facility to which they wanted to go and with which they were familiar had “no available beds.” This was not true, as the facilities did have available beds and every morning those facilities contacted the hospitals stating their bed availability. Another patient — not in a position for himself to decide — had two hours for his family to choose the hospital-offered facility that was not convenient for the patient’s family and also was a low-rated Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services facility (two stars out of a five-star rating system). What to do? Trust and verify. Call the facility you want yourself to verify bed availability and its acceptance of your insurance coverage. All the more reason to be familiar with long-term care facilities in your area in the event of a need for their services. Federal law requires that hospitals have a process to identify and plan for Medicare patients’ needs after they are discharged. This discharge will occur when you no longer have a need for inpatient care and are able to go home or have a need for another type of facility. That might be a nursing facility for long term care needs or for rehabilitation services. The secretary of the U.S. Department of…

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