New Book by Elder Law Attorneys Helps Florida Nursing Homes and their Residents Defend against Unlawful Medicaid Planning

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In their book, “Protecting Nursing Homes and their Residents from the Unlicensed Practice of Law,” Florida Attorneys John R. Frazier, Leonard E. Mondschein, and Twyla L. Sketchley document how seniors become sitting ducks for non-lawyer insurance salesmen, financial planners, disbarred attorneys and others who appear to be legitimate Medicaid planners, as well as so-called Medicaid planning companies that profess to work with lawyers.

John R. Frazier J.D. LL.M.

John R. Frazier J.D.,LL.M.

I have seen many cases where seniors were referred by trusted sources—such as social workers or nursing home administrators—to Medicaid planners who were not lawyers. These nonlawyers do not always have the senior’s best interest in mind.

The handbook raises awareness of an ethical and fiduciary tragedy that happens all too often to Florida’s aging citizens. The tragedy is the Unlicensed Practice of Law, or UPL, related to Medicaid planning services. By reading this book, Florida seniors and the long-term care facilities in which they reside will become financially safer and wiser as to the right way to engage in Medicaid planning.

Medicaid planning is a complex legal field where, if mistakes are made, the applicants can be financially devastated. Medicaid planning should only be done by licensed attorneys with specific training.

But most seniors and their families in financial need are not thinking about this. They are bewildered by the nursing home’s admissions process and overwhelmed by their sudden financial consequences.

Attorney John Frazier explains, “I have seen many cases where seniors were referred by trusted sources—such as social workers or nursing home administrators—to Medicaid planners who were not lawyers. These nonlawyers do not always have the senior’s best interest in mind. They have neither the skill nor expertise to handle the legal aspects of a case properly. If the planning fails, there is no regulatory authority to hold them accountable.”

John adds, “Equally dangerous are people who have the best of intentions, and try to help seniors apply for and become eligible for Medicaid. Nursing homes are committed to helping the seniors in their care, but their administrators and staff are not trained to assist in Medicaid planning. Someone trying to help may unwittingly cross the line into the practice of law. Such UPL can cause great harm to the Medicaid applicant and to the facilities in which the senior lives.”

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities must stay vigilant to the dangers of Medicaid planners who are not attorneys. This book will help protect Florida nursing homes and their residents by answering questions such as:

  • What are the things a nonlawyer Medicaid planner can and cannot legally do?
  • Can a nursing home get in trouble for working with a nonlawyer Medicaid planner?
  • Is it against the law for a nursing home employee to be paid a fee to refer Medicaid cases to a nonlawyer Medicaid planner?
  • Is financial exploitation concerning UPL and Medicaid planning a form of elder abuse?
  • What is the penalty if someone is charged with UPL?
  • How can a nursing home protect its rights?
  • How can an elderly Medicaid applicant protect his or her rights?
  • How does one file a UPL complaint in Florida?

This handbook is part of an extensive effort to protect Florida seniors from financial exploitation through prevention and awareness. We must all work to increase public awareness about unlicensed individuals who engage in Medicaid planning, but shouldn’t.

About John R. Frazier

John R Frazier, J.D., LL.M. is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys and the Florida Bar Elder Law Section. John is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and he is accredited by the Veterans Administration to assist VA claimants present, prepare and prosecute claims with the VA. John can be reached through his website: EstateLegalPlanning.com.

About Leonard E. Mondschein

Leonard Mondschein, J.D., LL.M., CELA, CAP is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law and Wills, Trusts and Estates, and is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation and is a member of The Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP). He is a past chair of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar and a past president of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Leonard can be reached through his website: MiamiElderCareLawyers.com

About Twyla L. Sketchley

Twyla Sketchley, B.C.S. is a Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney. Ms. Sketchley’s practice focuses on elder law, guardianship, fiduciary representation, and elder law related litigation. Twyla is an active member of the Florida Bar and its Sections, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Twyla can be reached through her website: SketchleyLaw.com

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John Frazier
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