A Symposium for Professionals in Health Care
and Long-Term Care
The Opioid Crisis and its Impact on Older Pennsylvanians
A joint presentation by:
Secretary Teresa Osborne
PA Department of Aging
Secretary Osborne was confirmed as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging by a unanimous vote of the Senate in May 2015. A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, she earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree and Masters of Health Service Administration from Marywood University. Secretary Osborne has over two decades of professional experience working with and advocating for older Pennsylvanians and other vulnerable populations. She has served as the Executive Director of the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging; as Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Department of Human Services; and also as Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging. Secretary Osborne has volunteered with numerous not for profit and community organizations focused on improving conditions for seniors, persons with disabilities and the marginalized. She has received many awards for academic scholarship, professional accomplishments and community service.
Secretary Jennifer Smith
PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
Secretary Smith was confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) in October 2017 after becoming the department’s deputy secretary in 2015 following 11 years in various roles for the Office of the Budget (OB). A Dauphin County resident, Secretary Smith desires to collaborate with other healthcare and human services agencies to make a tangible impact to improve access to client-focused services for vulnerable populations through the use of tools to enable tailored treatment of opioid abuse, including an expansion of access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), improving “the warm handoff process,” and increasing the use of other evidence-based treatment practices, including motivational interviewing and family-oriented therapy. Secretary Smith’s experience includes serving as Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse; Chair of the Methadone Death and Incident Review Team; member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; and Chair of the Overdose Rapid Response Task Force.
Grieving and End-Stage Planning
John Reese, BA, M.S.
Former Care Coordinator at Keystone Elder Law.
Jill Lazar, Certified Pre-Planning.
Consultant/Licensed Funeral Director at Hoffman Funeral Home.
Long-Term Care Planning with Trusts and Eligibility for CCRCs
Nicole Bowser, JD, LL.M.
Credit and Collections Council at Presbyterian Senior Living
Jessica Fisher Greene, JD, CELA*, LL.M.
Attorney at Keystone Elder Law.
*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.
Medicare Choices and Appeals
Area Manager at Regional Financial Security Agency
Ryan A. Webber, JD.
Attorney at Keystone Elder Law.
Sexuality and Aging
Jennifer Holcomb, M.S., NHA, CDP, CDCM, CADDCT.
Director of Memory Support at Cross Keys Village.
Latest Research about Alzheimer’s
Candy Yingling, CTRS.
Education and Outreach Coordinator at Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Pennsylvania.
Nutrition and Seniors
Amy Sagen, LSW, ACSW, MSG.
Chief Operating Officer at the National Association of Social Workers PA Chapter.
Empowering Professional & Lay Caregivers to Provide Resources
Dawn Hippensteel, M.S., BSN, RN, CCRN.
Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist at Community General Osteopathic UPMC Pinnacle.
Elder Fraud and Abuse
Education and Outreach Specialist at PA Office of the Attorney General.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney can be used to give another person the right to sell a car, home, or other property in the place of the maker of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney might be used to allow another person to sign a contract for the maker of the Power of Attorney (the person who makes a power of attorney is called the “principal”). It can be used to give another person the authority to make health care decisions, do financial transactions, or sign legal documents that the principal cannot do for one reason or another. With few exceptions, Powers of Attorney can give others the right to do any legal acts that the makers of the Powers of Attorney could do them themselves. A General Power of Attorney gives the “power of attorney Agent” or simply “Agent” (the legal name of the person who is authorized to act for the principal) very broad powers to do almost every legal act that the principal can do. When Elder Law Attorneys draft general Powers of Attorney, they still list the types of things the Agent can do but these powers are very broad. People often do general Powers of Attorney to plan ahead for the day when they may not be able to take care of things themselves. By doing the General Power of Attorney, they designate someone who can do these things for them.
Normal Powers of Attorney terminate if and when the principal becomes incompetent. Yet many people do Powers of Attorney for the sole purpose of designating someone else to act for them if they cannot act for themselves. It is precisely when persons can no longer do for themselves that a Power of Attorney is most valuable. To remedy this inconsistency, the law created a Durable Power of Attorney that remains effective even if a person becomes incompetent. The only thing that distinguishes a Durable Power of Attorney from a regular Power of Attorney is special wording that states that the power survives the principal’s incapacity. Even a Durable Power of Attorney, however, may be terminated under certain circumstances if court proceedings are filed. Most Powers of Attorney done today are durable.
Yes. At the time the Power of Attorney is signed, the principal must be capable of understanding the document. Although a Power of Attorney is still valid if and when a person becomes incompetent, the principal must understand what he or she is signing at the moment of execution. That means a person can be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or be otherwise incompetent sometimes but as long as they have a lucid moment and are competent at the moment they sign the Power of Attorney, it is valid even if they do not remember signing it at a later date. At the time it is signed, the principal must know what the Power of Attorney does, whom they are giving the Power of Attorney to, and what property may be affected by the Power of Attorney.
Any competent person eighteen years of age and older can serve as an agent. Certain financial institutions can also serve. There is no course of education that agent must complete or any test that Agent must pass. Because a Power of Attorney is such a potentially powerful document, agents should be chosen for reliability and trustworthiness. In the wrong hands, a Power of Attorney can be a license to steal. It can be a big responsibility to serve as an agent.
Medicare is health insurance and covers medical services such as physician appointments, therapy, blood tests, x rays, medical procedures and hospitalization. Medicare will sometime pay for rehabilitation in a long-term care facility for a period of 20 to 100 days, but not longer. In long-term care, Medicaid covers the cost of ongoing support services for daily functioning, such as room and board in a nursing home.
Medicaid is a federal program that is overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In Pennsylvania, Medicaid is called Medical Assistance and is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
In Pennsylvania, Medicaid funds are not available to pay for assisted living or personal care.
For Medicaid to pay for care in a nursing home, an individual recipient must be determined to need a nursing home level of care by a physician and the local Office of Aging. An individual whose income is not greater than three times the poverty level may keep up to $8,000 of total resources, but may otherwise keep only $2,400. The cash value of life insurance counts as a resource, but one car and a residential home does not count as a resource.
Empowering Clients with Holistic Planning at
Keystone Elder Law
At Keystone Elder Law, we believe that the physical, social, legal, and financial considerations of our clients all intertwine. We utilize an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate each area, which allows for the creation of a plan that addresses the concerns of the individual as a whole as well as the family. To this end, our model of practice includes a Care Coordinator (usually a nurse or social worker), whose expertise complements our team of attorneys.
When the road of life is smooth, decisions about legal and financial matters are easy to push aside for “a rainy day.” Planning ahead, however, will allow for more options as you view the map of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Don’t let a crisis limit your choices or derail your plans.(717) 697-3223