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Joel Smith Testifies Before Minnesota Senate Committee

By March 21, 2014 No Comments

I was invited to testify before the Minnesota Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee yesterday, in support of Senator D. Scott Dibble’s bill in favor of elderly vulnerable adults.  Sen. Dibble’s measure is attempting to change the Department of Human Service’s current policy, which discriminates against Minnesota citizens 65 and older.

imageThis photo shows me, Prof. Kim Dayton (center) and attorney Laurie Hanson.

As I testified, the Department’s current discriminatory policy not only negatively affects the quality of life for individuals living with disabilities who are over the age of 64, but also works as a detriment to the state because it discourages lawsuits against tortfeasors whose actions directly result in the need for long term care services in the first place.  For example, when residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities are injured as a result of their caregiver’s negligence or abuse, Medicaid and Medicare pay for the medical care required as a result of those wrongful injuries.  If the injured resident pursues a legal claim against the wrongdoers and recovers a settlement, the resident/family is obligated to reimburse Medicaid and Medicare of the related medical expenses.  Unfortunately, for such injured persons who are over the age of 64 and on Medicaid, if they are unable to place the settlement funds in a pooled trust sub-account, they will have to spend the money on care until they are again eligible for Medicaid. The Department’s current policy effectively penalizes them for successfully holding wrongdoers responsible.  Consequently, wrongdoers are not held accountable for the harm they cause and the government does not recover what it pays for medical care caused by the wrongdoer.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.