Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

Assisted Suicide and the Affordable Care Act

July 23, 2013

The controversy over federally endorsed abortion and its hidden surcharges has been well documented in conservative media. But there hasn’t been much coverage of late about the legislation’s  support for physician-assisted suicide.

Currently, only four states in the country legally allow assisted suicide. Vermont, Washington, and Oregon have unrestricted laws, meaning that the administration of life ending drugs is up to the discretion of the patient and his doctor (also it’s covered by insurance). In Montana, assisted suicide is legal through a court order. In the other 46 states, the practice is illegal and has been for most of the last century.

Section 1553

The piece of legislation in question is Section 1553 of the Affordable Care Act, which reads as follows:

(a) In General – The Federal Government, and any State or local government or health care provider that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or under an amendment made by this Act) or any health plan created under this Act (or under an amendment made by this Act), may not subject an individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the entity does not provide any health care item or service furnished for the purpose of causing, or for the purpose of assisting in causing, the death of any individual, such as by assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.

To break it down, if a terminally ill patient requests that his doctor help him end his life, and the doctor refuses for moral reasons or whatever the case may be, that doctor is protected by federal law against discrimination. This can be a saving grace for doctors who may subsequently be targeted by insurance companies because of their refusal to help patients end their lives.

Full Article and Source:
Obamacare’s covert support of assisted suicide

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Montana’s Elder Abuse Hotline Open Only during Regular Business Hours

June 2, 2013

Over the weekend KXLH received a call from a viewer who was reporting that she was being abused by someone in her home.

She told us that she tried calling the state’s elder abuse hotline and no one answered.

So we called the hotline (1-800-551-3191) to see if the phone lines were being manned and they weren’t.

The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services reports that this hotline is only operational during regular business hours.

Full Article and Source:
Montana Elder Abuse Hotline Open During Regular Business Hours

Law enforcement, MT lawmakers to fight elder abuse

February 24, 2013

Global stranger scams prey on older, trusting generations, and with Montana’s elderly population expected to double between now and 2030, seniors in the Treasure State are at high risk.

“We will rank fifth in the nation in the next few years as far as having the highest percentage of elderly people,” explained Big Sky Senior Services Executive Director Denise Armstrong. “We are just ripe for the scam artists.”

Financial exploitation isn’t the only type of abuse. Thousands of elders in Montana also fall victim to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, along with various forms of neglect. “Statistically they say only one in five cases are reported,” Armstrong said. That means between 2011 and 2012, instead of the reported 6,000 victims, an estimated 30,000 older Montanans were abused.

Despite those statistics, the amount of offenders prosecuted under the Montana Elder Abuse Prevention Act over the past two decades is minimal. “Since the act was passed in 1992, there’s only been 65 convictions in the entire state since 1992. That tells us that the Act is being underutilized,” said Twito. “That doesn’t mean that there’s not crimes against seniors, it just means prosecutors aren’t using it.”

Because of that, county attorneys statewide are pushing for Senate Bill 134 this legislative session. The bill revises portions of the existing Act, making it easier for prosecutors to use it in elder abuse cases. Senate Bill 134 would eliminate the need for prosecutors to prove the victim’s capacity due to mental or physical impairment and clarifies that the definition of an older person is anyone over the age of 60.

Full Article & Source:
Law enforcement, MT lawmakers to fight elder abuse

House panel debates penalties for assisted suicide

February 21, 2013
 
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Outlawing physician-assisted suicide in Montana would protect the elderly from being abused and keep the integrity of the medical profession intact, supporters of a bill to ban the practice told lawmakers Wednesday.
 
The House Judiciary Committee is considering the bill sponsored by its chairman, Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel, to penalize the doctors and caregivers who participate in the practice.
 
“Basically House Bill 505 is written to target elder abuse,” Kerns said. “And the fear that comes with that idea.”
 
The Legislature has struggled with physician-assisted suicide since a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said nothing in state law prohibits it. The ruling effectively made Montana the third state to legalize the practice, though the lack of regulations and reporting requirements makes it impossible to know how many physician-assisted suicides have taken place.
 
Last week, a Senate committee tabled a bill regulating assisted suicide, just as it did during the 2011 session. Kerns’ bill seeks to go in the opposite direction, outlawing rather than regulating the practice.
 
A similar measure also failed to receive sufficient lawmaker support in 2011.
 
Supporters of Kerns’ bill said assisted suicide is unnecessary because end-of-life palliative care is sufficient to aid in the process of death and it may damage the medical profession.
 
Full Article & Source:
House panel debates penalties for assisted suicide

Police, Montana lawmakers to fight elder abuse

February 21, 2013

BILLINGS – Global stranger scams often prey on older generations, and with Montana’s elderly population expected to double between now and 2030, seniors in the Treasure State are at high risk.

“We will rank fifth in the nation in the next few years as far as having the highest percentage of elderly people,” explained Big Sky Senior Services Executive Director Denise Armstrong. “We are just ripe for the scam artists.”

Big Sky Senior Services responds to several reports of elder abuse every week in Yellowstone County. Recently a social worker with BSSS, Linda Henry, encountered a woman who fell victim to one of those scams.

“In the last 12 months, she had paid out on three different occasions, checks anywhere from $350 to about $500 to companies that had contacted her by phone, offering to help protect her identity,” explained Henry.

That scenario is far from uncommon. Of the 6,017 reports of elder abuse in Montana from 2011 to 2012, More than 20-percent were cases of exploitation.

“Unfortunately they’re easy targets for financial exploitation and we see a lot of financial crimes when it comes to our seniors,” explained Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito. “Especially here in Yellowstone County.”

It’s not always strangers who target elders, in fact more of than not the abuser is a family member.

Full Article & Source:
Police, Montana lawmakers to fight elder abuse

Editorial: Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder

December 9, 2012

Re: Assisted Suicide and Elder Abuse

This letter responds to your recent AP article about assisted-suicide (Associated Press, Nov. 16). I write to emphasize elder financial abuse as a reason to keep assisted suicide out of Montana.

The landmark 2009 report by MetLife Mature Market Institute describes elder financial abuse as a crime “growing in intensity.” (See www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/mmi-study-broken-trust-elders-family-finances.pdf, p.16.) The perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel themselves “entitled” to the elder’s assets (Id, pp. 13-14.) The report states that they start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or coercing elders to sign over the deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets (Id, p. 14.) The report states that victims “may even be murdered” by perpetrators (Id., p. 24.)

With legal assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington state, perpetrators are instead able to take a “legal” route by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. The elder could be cajoled or coerced into taking the lethal dose, for example, while under the influence of alcohol. The lethal dose could be administered while the elder slept. If he awoke and struggled, who would know?

Alex Schadenberg,
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition,
London, Ontario, Canada

Source:
Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder

Woman Accused of Bilking Mom Must Pay Back $100K

July 22, 2012

A Missoula woman convicted of bilking her elderly mother, who has dementia, of the money from her home received a 10-year suspended sentence. Paulette Homer Ford also was ordered to pay back $100,000 – less than half the amount sought by the prosecution.

“Our elderly family members are being taken advantage of and this is the time we tell the community it’s not OK,” said Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Clark.

Clark had argued in favor of a 10-year sentence with eight years suspended. She also sought restitution of nearly $208,000, an amount that included attorneys’ fees expended by Ford’s relatives in a long-running battle over control of their mother’s care and assets.

Those relatives were furious when Ford used the proceeds from a reverse mortgage on her mother’s home to pay off her own mortgage and debts. Because of that, they said, there was no money to maintain their mother in a nicer nursing home than the one where she now resides.

Ford was found guilty of exploiting an older person in a bench trial in January. She could have faced 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Full Article and Source:
Missoula Woman Convicted of Bilking Mom Must Pay Back $100K

Man Acquitted of Kidnapping his Mother from Assisted Living Facility

June 13, 2012

A Cascade County jury has acquitted a South Dakota man of charges he kidnapped his mother from an assisted living facility in Montana.

James Wainscoat was arrested last August in California after he took his 93-year-old mother from Renaissance Senior Care in Great Falls. Prosecutors argued the woman was kidnapped because he could not legally make decisions for his mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Wainscoat told the Great Falls Tribune he was acting on his mother’s wishes and wasn’t aware of the legal guardianship or Alzheimer’s diagnosis until later.

Wainscoat’s mother, Troy Wainscoat, now lives with one of her daughters in California.

Full Article and Source:
SD Man Acquitted of Kidnapping Mother

Montana: Elders Lose $40K in Internet Site Scam

January 25, 2012

Local officials responded to 350 cases of elder abuse in 2011, most of them financial exploitation. If the first month of the new year is any indication, 2012 will be another tough year for seniors in the area.

In 2007 Rita Finch moved into her parents home to become their primary caretaker. Her mother is 84 and her father is 87.

Since the summer of 2011, [Finch’s father has] been bombarded with letters and phone calls from people trying to turn his life’s savings into a fortune. “Somebody offered to make him a million dollars in six months, and he fell for it,” Finch said. She said the opposite has happened. “Their money is all gone.”

Denise Armstrong with Big Sky Senior Services said it’s the latest scam, and it’s already affected at least two people in Billings. The alleged scam convinces seniors to start their own website where they can buy and sell merchandise.

Full Article and Source:
Two Elders Lose $40K in Internet Site

Woman Convicted of Bilking Alzheimer’s Stricken Mother

January 21, 2012

A Missoula woman has been convicted of bilking her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother out of more than $120,000 by using a reverse mortgage on the elderly woman’s home.

The Missoulian reports District Judge Karen Townsend found Paulette Homer guilty after a bench trial and scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 6.

Prosecutors charged Homer with exploitation of an older person or a person with developmental disabilities after the scheme came to light in 2009 when Homer’s brother and sister filed a report of elder abuse.

A police investigation determined Homer received a check for $141,308 from the reverse mortgage in 2008 and then wrote checks totaling $120,593. The defense argued the money was a gift from Homer’s mother.

Source:
Missoula Woman Convicted of Bilking Alzheimer’s-Stricken Mother Out of More Than $120K