In late April, Jerry Rothkoff and Amanda Jacob attended the 2006 Symposium of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). During the NAELA Symposium, Mr. Rothkoff and Ms. Jacob attended seminars on “Medicare Part D,” “Veteran’s Services Available for the Elderly or Disabled Client,” “Planning Your Own Retirement,” “Guiding Your Client to get the Best Break in Caregiving,” and “Case Law Update.”

They also attended a presentation by Judith Schneider entitled “How Congress Really Works,” which provided an insider’s humorous yet sobering view on the legislative process. Mr. Rothkoff attended the “Health Care Special Interest” group breakfast featuring speaker Debbie Bushnell, the guardianship attorney for Michael Schiavo. Ms. Bushnell provided an interesting perspective on the entire Terri Schiavo case, including an overview of the legal processes involved and her personal observations.

As expected, a good deal of the focus of the Symposium was the impact of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) on long-term care planning, particularly Medicaid planning. One general session included a panel presentation and discussion on the specific DRA provisions and interpretations of their impact.

States have to develop their regulations and procedures to implement the DRA provisions, so it is unknown at this point how the DRA will be specifically implemented in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Symposium also included breakout sessions where attendees could discuss alternate planning strategies in light of DRA implementation.

The problems confronting the elderly, including uninsured long-term care and health care expenses, have not been addressed or solved by the DRA or Medicare Part D. These meetings provided us the opportunity to remain up to date on changes in laws and practices. We will use this information to assist clients in addressing these problems that confront the elderly.

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