Elder Placement & Referral Agency Concierge Care Advisors Expose Heroes in “Best of 2011” Awards

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Rep. Jim Moeller, Columbian Reporter Marissa Harshman, and Detective Pamela St. John feted advancing Safety and Security for Seniors

Concierge Care Advisors closed out its first full year of operations by “exposing heroes” that reflect the Agency’s mission of secure and safe seniors above all else.
Criteria for the recipients required results. “These CCA heroes inspired change, demonstrated courage in the face of opposition, were innovative, and encouraged provocative approaches to problem solving,” said Mary Cordova, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Concierge Care Advisors. “Above all, these heroes were unafraid to seek greater security and safety for seniors.”
Exposed Hero: The Elected Official - Washington State Rep. Jim Moeller

Rep. Moeller, Washington State House Speaker Pro-Tem and member of Health & Wellness Committee, represents Vancouver. He sponsored and shepherded ESHB 1494. Passage of any bill is remarkable, but Moeller worked with stakeholders, including opponents, to gain passage of the first-in-the-nation legislation that regulated Placement and Referral Agencies. These agencies were entirely unregulated and no background checks or training was required, despite handling the sensitive personal and financial information of vulnerable adults.    Having, from inception, implemented strong policies that included certification and background checks that include drug testing, Concierge Care Advisors served as a best-practices model.

A health care professional himself, Rep. Moeller aggressively pursues long term care issues, particularly those that impact the safety and security of vulnerable adults. He was instrumental in pursuing solutions to slow or inadequate investigations of abuse and neglect by various state departments, as well as seeking greater accountability and reporting.

“Rep. Jim Moeller is truly remarkable in his ability to reach out to all stakeholders, including opponents of active legislation,” said Marc Lilly, CEO and Co-Founder of Concierge Care Advisors. “Rep. Moeller innovatively listens, but also remains true to his goal of security and safety for seniors. He understands how long term care depends on businesses, and that responsible businesses depend on fair oversight and regulation.”

        Exposed Hero: The Investigator - Marissa Harshman, Vancouver Columbian.

Marissa Harshman’s work uncovering the abuse of elderly residents by Vancouver, Washington caregiver Susan Meade, CNA, is resulting in statutory and regulatory proposals by Rep. Jim Moeller, which will streamline and hasten state investigations and reporting of caregiver abuse. In the Meade story, the long term care provider properly reported abuse, but the case took Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services and the Department of Health nearly three years to reach conclusion, longer than the Persian Gulf and Korean Wars. The caregiver was allowed to continue working with vulnerable adults for more than two years; it was nearly three years before her license and certification was revoked.

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of Marissa Harshman’s fair and balanced reporting on this subject,” said Cindi Laws, Concierge Care Vice President. “Our priority is the safety and security of seniors. Citizens need to know that government is acting appropriately and promptly to protect vulnerable people at every level, and this investigation demonstrated severe flaws in Washington State’s system. Marissa’s story, which was subsequently picked up by broadcast media, has provoked change that will result in greater protection for both seniors and long term care providers who do the right thing.

“Every long term care provider who employs caregivers is held to high standards; they must conduct background checks on those who come into contact with vulnerable adults, and they must report any suspected, as well as actual, incidence of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. When providers follow the law and report bad caregivers, those providers – and the families of their clients – must have assurances that the state is acting quickly. Caregivers, and others working with these vulnerable populations, must not be allowed contact until they have been cleared of any wrongdoing. The protection of seniors must not be superseded by caregivers’ employment rights.”

        Exposed Hero: The Advocate - Pamela St. John, Seattle Police Department

Pamela St. John is a detective who joined the Seattle Police Department to investigate domestic violence. Her current assignment involves investigating financial exploitation of vulnerable adults, a division of the DV unit. Hailed as a hero by victims, attorneys and other advocates, Pamela determines immediate financial risk, interviewing victims, suspects and others, as well as case preparation with the prosecutor’s office. She routinely provides outreach and public education on preventing these types of crimes.

There were 14,477 reports of abuse or neglect in 2009, the last year data was made available by the State of Washington’s Aging and Disability Services Administration, a division of DSHS. Of those, 1,505 cases – 10% – are substantiated. However, financial exploitation makes up 28% (4,061) of all reports of suspected abuse, and 19% of those are substantiated, making this type of abuse both the largest reported violation and the most likely to have actually occurred. In comparison, the same period showed 1,278 reports of physical abuse – 9% of all reports – with a 7% substantiation rate.

“The statistics can be dry but reflect an important reality about elder abuse,” noted Kecia Lilly, Senior Vice President of Concierge Care Advisors. “Pamela St. John strips away the statistics to reveal the awful truth about financial exploitation: when seniors discover they have been victimized, the shock to their mental state impacts their physical health and leads to their decline. Financial victimization also reduces the ability of seniors to enjoy the living options they had carefully saved for. Thanks to the work of Pamela St. John, increased investigations and effective prosecution of those preying on seniors is providing for greater security and safety of us all.”

About Concierge Care Advisors
CCA strives to elevate the senior care and housing referral services industry through personalized attention and self-regulation. While not the first, nor the largest, in the field, CCA offers credentialed, trained and thoroughly background-checked care advisors who work towards the best outcomes, not the most numerous. Headquartered in Seattle, the agency helps individuals and families identify the best senior housing, assisted living, in-home care and other senior living solutions, based on each individual's unique circumstance. CCA adopts an approach that prioritizes safety and security of seniors above profit and volume.
Each Concierge Care Advisor is HIPAA and CCA certified and is among the Northwest's best. The company's advisors personally know, visit and prequalify every recommended community. To learn more about Concierge Care Advisors' services, and how the company is helping establish industry regulations from the ground up, visit http://www.conciergecareadvisors.com, follow the company on Twitter @CareAdvisors or learn more on our Facebook page.

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