The Need to Coordinate Care for the Elderly and Disabled

By: Jerold E. Rothkoff

We are pleased to announce that effective August 11, 2014, Kathleen McGee has joined our Elder Law firm as a geriatric care coordinator.  Kathleen joins our office after several years of long term care experience working in social services in a Pennsylvania nursing home.  Kathleen becomes the third geriatric social worker in our firm, joining our Director of Care Coordination, Janie DeLeon Male and Care Coordinator, Jennifer Cooley.

Our Elder Law firm employs three geriatric social workers to assist our clients & their loved ones because we know those services are needed.  I always tell our clients and their families that our motto is “care always comes first.”  Once we address the care issues, our office can then design a plan and draft documents to address current and future care needs to access benefits and protect valuable assets.  Providing clients with documents and protecting assets are not enough.  Advocating for quality care should always come first.

Recent studies have proven the  importance of care coordination by having a “transitions coach” come to the patient’s home soon after hospital discharge.  The coach discusses the patient’s goals, instructs on medication management, and assist family members in caregiving.  Studies have shown the transitions coach has decreased hospital readmissions and has reduced medical costs.  You can read more about the studies by clicking on the below link.

The federal government has begun to understand the importance of care management by incorporating care management or coordination into health care reform.  The Obama administration recently announce that beginning in January 2015, Medicare will pay monthly fees to doctors who manage care for patients with two or more chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and depression.  According to the Medicare initiative, doctors will assess patients’ medical, psychological, and social needs, check on medication management, coordinate with other doctors, and assist with discharge planning to ensure a smooth transition when patients move from a hospital to their home or to a nursing home.  You can read more about the new Medicare initiative at the below link.

Paying doctors to coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries is an important step in recognizing the importance of care coordination for seniors and those with disabilities.

About Jerry

Jerold E. Rothkoff, a practicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania attorney, is the Principal of the Rothkoff Law Group, an elder care law firm. Jerry dedicates his practice to serving clients in the areas of life care planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid & VA benefits, and advocacy for the elderly and disabled. He is past President of the NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, former chair of the elder law section of the NJ State Bar Association, and past President of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Jerry continues to be an outspoken advocate for the rights of the elderly and disabled. He writes for and gives presentations regularly to attorneys and other professionals about legal issues related to seniors and those with disabilities. Jerry’s community activities include the Twilight Wish Foundation, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council, the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as numerous other advocacy groups. When not in the office, Jerry spends time with his wife, Erica, and their five children, eighteen-year old identical twin girls, Liza and Julia, fifteen-year old fraternal twin boys, Evan and Gregory, and six-year old Aitan.

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