Planning for Life

Attorney Sarah Hartline Gets MassHealth Transfer Penalty Overturned

Posted by Estey Silva on March 24, 2020


The MassHealth Board of Hearings ruled in favor of Attorney Sarah Hartline’s client last week in a case involving a transfer of assets from a nursing home resident to her son and a question of whether the transfer was done with the intent to qualify for MassHealth benefits, which would result in a significant disqualification period.

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Topics: nursing homes, Massachusetts, MassHealth, elder law, Medicaid, disqualifying transfer

The Coronavirus and Senior Living Facilities

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 17, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis


With seniors being most vulnerable to COVID-19 and many living in the concentrated clusters of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, many are taking drastic measures to bar visitors who might bring in the coronavirus. This has been difficult for many residents and their families. Here is part of an email we received from one Massachusetts grandson about his grandmother:

My family received a call yesterday from my grandmother's nursing facility which is a Wingate. That call stated that they will no longer be allowing any visitors in to visit patients of the facility and that they will be going on a week to week basis of deciding whether to lift the isolation of the entire facility or not.

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Topics: nursing homes, assisted living, CCRCs

5 Common MassHealth Myths & Misconceptions

Posted by Patricia C. D'Agostino on February 18, 2020



With so much at stake, planning — and paying — for long-term care services such as assisted living or nursing home stays can be a confusing and anxiety-ridden process. Medicaid (known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) provides coverage for long-term care costs, including comprehensive coverage for skilled nursing home care and supplemental coverage for the cost of assisted living and home health care, but there are some common misconceptions about what MassHeath does and does not cover and who is eligible.

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Topics: nursing homes, MassHealth, Estate Planning, financial planning, Medicaid, MassHealth lien

Brookline Nursing Home Subject to 93A Claim

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 24, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis


The U.S. District Court for Boston has ruled that the estate of a deceased resident of the Brookline Health Care Center (BHCC) can pursue its claim that the facility violated the Consumer Protection Act, often referred to by its statutory reference, 93A.

Sarah Theresa Libby died after choking at BHCC on May 7, 2014. This occurred "when she was left unsupervised to eat in the dayroom of the nursing home in which she resided." Mrs. Libby's estate brought suit for wrongful death in Estate of Sarah Theresa Libby v. Park Marion and Vernon Streets Operating Company (U.S. Dist. Ct. Boston, C.A. No. 17-10843-JGD) for negligence and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The 93A claim carries with it the threat of treble damages and the facility being responsible for the plaintiff's legal fees.

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Topics: nursing homes, assisted living

Reminder: There is No Such Thing as a Medicare Improvement Standard

Posted by Anthony Bushu on March 8, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

hospital-discharge-protections-medicare-legal-guide.pngFor decades, Medicare, skilled nursing facilities, and visiting nurse associations have applied the so-called "improvement" standard in determining whether residents were entitled to Medicare coverage of the care. The standard, which can be found nowhere in Medicare law, only permitted coverage if the skilled treatment was deemed to contribute to improving the patient's condition, which can be difficult to achieve for many ill seniors.

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Topics: Medicare, nursing homes

MassHealth Seeking to Limit Use of Pooled Trusts

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 11, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis


MassHealth has proposed massive changes to its regulations governing long-term care, both in the community and in nursing homes. Many of these are complicated, but could adversely affect many seniors in the state. One that's not so complicated is a proposal to limit transfers to pooled disability trusts.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, MassHealth

11 Nursing Homes to Avoid?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 25, 2015

By Harry S. Margolisimages-2.jpg

The Boston Globe has reported on a New York father and son who have been buying up nursing homes in Massachusetts and then, apparently, cutting costs to such an extent that patient care has suffered. According to an article, "Owners profited as complaints rose." Larry Lipschutz owned a development in Belleville, New Jersey—Branch Brook Gardens—that he ran into the ground with about 1,400 code violations in a March 2004 inspection. His failure to respond to the violations ultimately led to his criminal conviction and fines.

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Topics: nursing homes

How Much Does MassHealth Pay Nursing Homes?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 20, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis


Families of nursing home residents often want to know what MassHealth is paying for the care of their loved ones. This can be difficult to determine because rates are different for each facility and for each patient, depending on his or her level of care. But it's important to find out the answer because MassHealth often has a right to recover its expenses at the death of the nursing home resident in the form of a claim for estate recovery against a home, as the beneficiary of an annuity, or under the terms of a (d)(4)(A) or (d)(4)(C) trust. It helps to know what to expect.

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, MassHealth

Should You Prepare a MassHealth Application Yourself? - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 12, 2013

Masshealth-Wellesly-Attorney-Elder-Law-SpecialistBy Harry S. Margolis

Whether you should prepare and file a MassHealth application by yourself or should hire help depends on the answers to the following questions:

  • How complicated is the financial situation?

  • Are you applying for community or nursing home benefits?

  • How much time do you have available?

  • How organized are you?

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Topics: MassHealth planning, nursing homes

Pay Your Mom's Nursing Home Bill or Go to Jail - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 5, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

Parents are legally responsible for taking care of their children until they reach age 18.  Spouses are legally responsible for making certain that that their husbands and wives have the basic necessities of life—food, shelter, and clothing. No one seems to question whether these rules makes sense.

But should children be legally responsible for the care and basic necessities of their parents? Does it make a difference if the parents are ill or suffer from dementia? Does it matter what kind of parents they were when the children were young?

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Topics: long-term care planning, nursing homes, special needs planning, MassHealth

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