LTC Bullet: Mr. Long-Term Care Speaks Out

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Seattle--

LTC Comment: Martin Bayne, aka Mr. LTC, addresses Medicaid planning, the nursing home litigation explosion, and the sad state of long-term care in the U.S., after the ***news.***

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LTC BULLET: MR. LONG-TERM CARE SPEAKS OUT

LTC Comment: Marty Bayne, also known as "Mr. Long-Term Care," has a new "BLOG" at http://www.ltcblog.org/ . Check it out. Bayne's "Mr. LTC" website became a mainstay for anyone interested in long-term care several years ago. His personal story, which you can read at http://www.mrltc.com/ , is the strongest possible argument for early long-term care planning and comprehensive insurance. A successful long-term care insurance agent in the 1980s and '90s, Bayne was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at age 45. He now depends on the product he once sold to pay for his long-term care and he continues to advocate passionately for responsible long-term care planning. We express our thanks to Martin for permission to reprint the following article from his Web Log.

"ADVOCACY?" by Martin K. Bayne, http://www.ltcblog.org/ , October 20, 2003

The only thing more depressing about the long-term health care system in this country -- are those confused souls who stand on the front lines as the collective clarion of injustice within that system.

These self-declared "elder care advocates" have aligned themselves with members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and selective personal injury lawyers, in an effort to cut off the oxygen feed to the present system of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) by using a tsunami of civil litigation.

While it is true that abuse, neglect and indifference have claimed the lives of thousands of our parents and grandparents, asking the same fox that just ate two of our geese to guard the hen house, may not be the best strategy.

Am I missing something? Aren't these the same attorneys that invented "Medicaid planning?" (a way of "gaming" Medicaid by using loopholes in existing regulations to artificially impoverish their clients, thus allowing their clients to pass their assets to their children and still take advantage of Medicaid - a means-tested program designed for the indigent.)

In fact, the downward financial pressure that Medicaid planning has forced SNFs to endure, has had a significant impact on the level of care SNFs can now provide. In other words, the very same attorneys that have been partially responsible for SNF revenue-related lapses in patient care, are now suing these same SNFs for lapses in patient care.

And the jury awards have not been insignificant. Many family-owned SNFs that have provided good care for decades are closing their doors, as they can no longer afford the dramatic increases in liability insurance that the suits have brought.

For me, however, the most frustrating part of this truly unholy partnership, is the lack of any intelligent alternative proposal for chronic health care in this country. None of the attorneys or "advocates" have offered a strategy for replacing the current system.

It's just one big, happy litigation lobotomy, and they can't file the motions fast enough --

MKB