Case Studies

Elder & Disability Law Attorney Reunites Family After Early End to Involuntary Commitment Order

Back view of patient woman sitting on bed in hospital ward, looking away at window and hope everything will be better.

Elder and disability law attorney Jane Fearn-Zimmer recently assisted a New Jersey family with legal advice/advocacy and secured the early release of their loved one, after a series of unfortunate events culminated in an involuntary commitment order, apparently due to a medical misdiagnoses.

In this case, a family member expressed concern to the relative’s new physician, who did not know the patient well, and had spent minimal time with the patient. The patient was going through a very difficult marital separation and was understandably upset. The middle-aged patient had known no pre-existing diagnosis of chronic mental illness and had cared for other family members for many years while also maintaining employment.

The family member was escorted to the hospital by the police from the medical office. The patient was promptly made the subject of an involuntary commitment order and was transferred to a behavioral health facility. Jane was retained by the family to help get the relative released.

Getting in touch with a medical facility’s administrator can be challenging even before the pandemic, but since Jane knows the ins-and-outs of the behavioral health system, it was seamless for her to communicate quickly and efficiently with the right people. She was able to get the facility’s executive and its medical doctor to clear the patient for release prior to the scheduled involuntary commitment hearing date after she learned that the patient was not receiving appropriate care for a medical issue and group therapy sessions could not be held because the patients were confined to their rooms. Both patient and family were thrilled to be reunited.

“Jane helped me during my darkest time. She gave me hope as she acted in the most professional and attentive manner throughout the process of gaining our discovery. She was very attentive to all my needs, answering my concerns as they came up daily,” said the client “This type of reassurance was a Godsend to me and enabled me to keep my composure knowing that I had a loyal, intelligent human on the outside representing my best interests and protecting my human rights. I feel forever indebted to her for her kindness and dedication to working so hard on my behalf, presenting a factual case, which enabled her to gain me an early emergency, after a lengthy and difficult stay. I am forever grateful for her.”

Questions? Let Jane know.

Medicaid Caregiver Child Exemption Success Story in New Jersey:

Home Saved & Nursing Home Paid

Property insurance and security concept

Seasoned elder law attorney Jane M. Fearn-Zimmer, obtained a landmark Medicaid Final Agency Decision for her elderly, ailing client and her family after a three-year long dispute with the Division of Medical Assistance & Health Services and the Burlington County Board of Social Services in New Jersey. The Appellate Court ultimately ruled in favor of Jane’s client and reversed a Medicaid penalty computed on the sum of $179,000, based on the equalized value of the family home, which was gifted by the elderly mother to her caregiver child. The final ruling is based on the exemption for a transfer to a caregiver child. This exception to the Medicaid transfer penalty is intended to encourage children to take care of their aging parents so the parent can remain at home as long as possible. The conditions of the exemption may be met where the parent has a documented need for 24/7 skilled nursing care during the two years immediately prior to the date the parent enters into a nursing home and the child provides such vital, round-the-clock care for the parent during that period. If these conditions are met, then the parent may transfer their home to the child without incurring any Medicaid penalty period, provided that the parent is otherwise financially eligible for Medicaid.

This case is a significant breakthrough, because since approximately 2015, there has been a substantial decrease in caregiver child exemptions awarded on Medicaid applications in the State of New Jersey, due in part to an internal change in the State’s Medicaid policy. Attorneys throughout the state began to notice that requests for caregiver child status were denied, particularly where the proposed caregiver child was gainfully employed, or working for pay, whether inside or outside the home.

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Questions? Let Jane know.