Assessing Therapies Through Interaction and Education

Traditional cognitive behavior therapeutic studies help to identify issues that cause psychological stress and challenging behaviors. Cognitive behavior therapy also teaches the person how to solve problems through goal-oriented activities or systematic procedures. Functional assessment collects functional assessment information and identifies the hypothesis or hypotheses maintaining problem behavior. The information will confirm that the hypothesis or hypotheses are correct then a summary will be developed based on the functional assessment findings. There are a number of different tools used to assess social skills, physiological setting events, quality of life, and other important areas of an individual’s life that can be used in a functional assessment. In the mental health field, research, and statistical significance cannot be explained by chance alone. Therefore, statistical significance and assessment is important in examining cognitive therapies.Therapy through interaction teaches individuals how to communicate, improve decision-making skills and improve attention span. It also facilitates communication and socialization among staff and individuals. Communicative development varies with individuals because of functioning ability. Communication tools increase the ability to initiate, anticipate, engage, and interact. At times, a person can have difficulty using objects based on joint attention, difficulty in interpretation, and motivation.Therapy through education is an intervention that investigates, defines, and addresses an individual’s pattern of learning strengths and deficiencies. Therapy goals include restoring self-esteem; improving the learning process, developing learning strategies, and helping the person feel comfortable in his or her learning environment. Processing is the way we think and learn. We have strengths and weaknesses concerning learning. We learn by taking in information through our five senses. Some people learn better by watching, and some people learn better by listening which refers to visual and auditory processing. Attention and memory are also a part of processing. As attention deficits are more accurately and more frequently diagnosed, their effects on learning are also more specifically identified. Attention deficits make a student less available for learning. This means that the person may not be paying attention and missing a good portion of any lesson in the classroom. The purpose of education therapy will be to train individuals on how to improve their money management skills, independent living skills, and cognitive awareness.When an individual can learn or improve on a new skill, he or she will feel a sense of accomplishment. Assessing these skills will assist the individual in improving in problem or weaker areas. Furthermore, the accomplishment will improve self-esteem, which may stabilize moods and alleviate challenging behaviors. The development educational through interaction is very important to everyone’s lives. Learning new ways to develop skills will give individuals better opportunities to become independent and integrate into society.

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The Medicaid Buy-In Program

The State of New York’s expenditure on health insurance is higher than other states because of its wider range of benefits and flexible terms of eligibility on New York medical buy-in program, foremost of which is coverage of disabled people who are employed to get Medicaid eligibility, or maintain it, in spite of receiving more income or having more resources which was formerly allowed only for Medicaid card holders.Residents of the Empire State can qualify for a medicaid buy-in program if they:
· are between 16 and 64 years old;
· are full-time or part-time employees;
· have disabilities, either physical or mental, that have lasted or expected to continue for more than a year or result in deaths;
· have passed the medical criteria for eligibility set forth by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program; and
· receive not more than $53,028 in gross income as an individual or not more than $71,028 as a couple.Available through local Medicaid offices, Elder Law attorney may file the application, particularly for those who are looking into how they may qualify for benefits and what specific benefits they may avail of. Errors in filing the form, filling out information, and non-submission of required documents may lead to delays in or denials of benefits.In cases wherein a spouse applies for Medicaid but the other declines support, Medicaid will provide the benefits to the spouse who is sick but it can also ask contributions from the spouse who is called as “community spouse,” and entitled to some income and resources which have immunity from any claims made by Medicaid. A community spouse may have up to $109,560 in resources and $2,739 from monthly income received from employment wages.However, applicants should take note that the coverage of NY Medicaid does not include children or other members of the family because this program is exclusive and limited to disabled individuals or couples who both have disabilities. A review for disability is conducted by a Disability Review Team of the State of New York to certify that the person applying for the program is actually disabled or has not been certified as such by the Social Security Administration.An individual who doesn’t own assets which are more than $13,050 (or $19,200 for a family consisting of parents and two children) of “nonexempt resources” such as the residence of the applicant, motor vehicle or funds earmarked for burial expenses, any properties other than your existing home and your regular bank account savings is still eligible for enrollment in the medicaid buy-in program.For seniors who were already eligible before the filing of the Medicaid application, they can get reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenditures for health care for up to ninety days. Coverage for seniors start off on a pending basis upon filing the application. In effect, the home care facility or nursing home has to wait to be paid in arrears by Medicaid after the application has been approved (this usually takes several months).If you get right down to it, though, the main beneficiaries of New York’s medicaid buy-in program are disabled people who don’t receive any form of SSI because they:
· Are already recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI);
· Had SSDI but lost their right to it since they got employed;
· Are disabled and qualified to receive SSI but never received SSI; and
· Received SSI previously but have been disqualified for having more resources allowable for SSI.The expanded coverage of NY Medicaid now allows those who are in the SSI program but lost the right to it when they got employment to maintain their eligibility for Medicaid, but under a different work-incentive program called Section 1619 (b) program.New York’s social services counselors can discuss with you the conditions regarding whether or not you are required to pay a premium, but generally, these are the following guidelines required by an application for the medicaid NY program:
· A monthly income of $1,300 or less doesn’t entail payment of a premium.
· A monthly income between $1,300 and $2,167 for an individual and for families with only one child necessitates payment of a premium, the sum of which is 3% of earned income from employment wages and 7% of unearned income that comes from sources like pension of any kind, unemployment benefits, etc.
· For an individual, the maximum total premium payable is pegged at $1,026 for a year.Pregnant women who decide to get an abortion may get Medicaid coverage with Presumptive Eligibility, which gives women coverage easily and begins the same day that the application is made. Individual enrollees who want to quit smoking can avail of Medicaid’s smoking cessation counseling (SCC) coverage, effective April 1st of 2011, of six counseling sessions in twelve continuous months.These sessions will all have to be face-to-face and may use prescription as well as non-prescription products made specifically for smoking cessation (these products are part of Medicaid’s coverage). 48% of smokers, according to the New York Adult Tobacco Survey of 2009, are enrolled with Medicaid or do not carry health insurance. According to University Health Services specialist Wendi Hamm, a nurse, counseling and medication combined could be more effective in enforcing smoking cessation than used either or alone. Medicaid’s expanded coverage of smoking cessation services can be of significant help to New Yorkers in this.”Excelsior,” the Latin word for “Ever Upward” is the state motto of New York, and rightly so, as the state maintains a lower rate of uninsured residents, and consistently at that, in comparison to the rest of the country. New York has extended efforts in streamlining renewals to encourage eligible applicants not to drop out of the program unnecessarily, as well as offering opportunities in facilitated enrollment in the medicaid NY program and spreading eligibility to provide health insurance to all individuals, couples, childless couples and families with children.Those found to be eligible for the medicaid buy-in program are entitled to retroactive eligibility for up to three months. And should you be ill or laid off from your job while in the program, you won’t lose your eligibility because of a “grace period” granted to you for as long as a six month duration period, and you are allowed to have more than one of said grace period for as long as these periods don’t come up to more than six months over a year or 12 month time period (exceeding the grace period as set will negate your eligibility for the New York medicaid buy-in program accordingly).And as if those weren’t enough, a New Yorker who has an employee’s health insurance may be reimbursed by the New York medicaid buy-in program for any amount that he or she paid in maintaining that insurance. The state wherein The Sons of Liberty were organized in the 1760s fulfills the significant role of safety net in the absence of either a state or federal solution regarding universal health insurance coverage.In October 2007, Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) President, Daniel Sisto, cited a HANYS report showing medicaid buy-in program cost increases were the result of enrollment increases over the recent years and not the outcome of increases in the reimbursements of providers or costs of services. And while New York Medicaid spending increased by 54% between the years 2000 and 2005, its enrollment also increased by a near 54.5% during the same duration period.New York’s medicaid buy-in program is considered to be the largest Medicaid program in the country, providing comprehensive health insurance coverage to around 4.9 million New Yorkers. Prescription drugs, nursing home long-term care, facilities that are community-based, vision healthcare, dental care and long-term care in private homes are provided for by NY Medicaid even as the program extends coverage for those largely ignored by other states in the provision of additional benefits.In a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine in July 2012, it showed the states of New York, Maine and Arizona have been expanding the range of their eligibility requisites since 2000. In 2001, New York’s eligibility level rose to 150% off the poverty level, and by all indications, Governor Andrew Cuomo will raise that level up again in 2014 with the Affordable Health Care Act.Delivery of healthcare services in this state is a key factor in the overall healthcare system of New York and its policies have long influenced the progression of that delivery system. Such a delivery is New York’s review of program applications for community-based Medicaid wherein transferred assets prior to application for benefits will not incur any penalties.
And for as long as a senior citizen is qualified in needing long-term care in either a nursing home or private residence, New York’s medicaid buy-in program will cover the payment until the patient’s demise. Quite a throwback to the New York Police Department motto, “Fidelis Ad Mortem,” (Faithful Unto Death), don’t you think?

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Medicaid Overview

Medicaid, also known as medical assistance is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, it covers care in a nursing home for those who qualify. Medicaid is a state administered program and provides more comprehensive coverage than Medicare, particularly with regard to nursing home care. However, not all nursing homes participate in the Medicaid program. There are no limits on the maximum length of a Medicaid recipient’s stay at a facility.
The Federal government pays roughly one-half of the costs, while the State covers the remainder. In Illinois, the agency that administers Medicaid is the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA). In the absence of any other public program covering long-term nursing home care, Medicaid has become the default nursing home insurance of the middle class.While Congress and the federal Health Care Financing Administration set out the main rules under which Medicaid operates, each state runs its own program. As a result, the rules are somewhat different in every state, although the framework is the same throughout the country. The following describes some of the basic rules regarding Medicaid in Illinois.Resource (Asset) RulesIn order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits in Illinois a nursing home resident may have no more than $2,000 in “countable” assets. While a Medicaid applicant may be eligible even if these assets exceed the limits, the applicant will be required to “spend down” these assets. This means that the cost of care must be paid for by the Medicaid applicant to the extent that the assets exceed the $2,000 limit.The spouse of a nursing home resident–called the ‘community spouse’– is limited to one half of the couple’s joint assets up to $84,120 (in 2000) in “countable” assets (see Medicaid, Protections for the Healthy Spouse). The $84,120 figure changes each year to reflect inflation. In addition, the community spouse may keep the first $17,400, even if that is more than half of the couple’s assets. These figures change annually and are found in the Department of Human Services policy manual. Basic Medicaid information is also available at [].
All assets are counted against these limits unless the assets fall within the short list of “non countable” assets. These include:(1) Personal possessions, such as clothing, furniture, and jewelry with an equity value of no more than $2000. However, wedding rings, engagement rings and items required because of an individual’s medical or physical condition are exempt regardless of value.(2) One motor vehicle if it meets any one of the following criteria: A) If it is necessary for employment B) If it is necessary for transportation for medical treatment of a specific or regular medical problem C) If it is modified for operation by or transportation of a handicapped person or D) If it is necessary because of terrain, remoteness or similar factors to provide necessary transportation to perform essential daily activities.A motor vehicle owned by a nursing home resident is also exempt if transferred to a spouse. In all other cases the exemption is limited to $4,500.(3) The applicant’s principal residence, provided it is in the same state in which the individual is applying for coverage although some limitations, discussed below, exist.(4) In Illinois, up to $1,500 of revocable burial expenses are exempt and up to $4,120 in irrevocable prepaid expenses are exempt. However, the amount of the revocable expense exemption is reduced by the amount of irrevocable expenses. In all cases, expenses for burial space or plots and other customary items such as a casket or headstone are completely exempt.(5) Assets that are considered “inaccessible” for one reason or another. These assets often come in the form of specific types of trusts.The HomeNursing home residents do not have to sell their homes in order to qualify for Medicaid. In Illinois, the home will not be considered a countable asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes as long as the nursing home resident intends to return home. The home may also be kept if the Medicaid applicant’s spouse, sibling, minor or disabled child lives there. However, if the applicant leaves the home with no intention of returning, the property must be counted as an asset.The Transfer PenaltyThe second major rule of Medicaid eligibility is the penalty for transferring assets. Congress does not want you to move into a nursing home on Monday, give all your money to your children (or whomever) on Tuesday, and qualify for Medicaid on Wednesday. So it has imposed a penalty on people who transfer assets without receiving fair value in return.This penalty is a period of time during which the person transferring the assets will be ineligible for Medicaid. The penalty period is determined by dividing the amount transferred by what Medicaid determines to be the average private pay cost of a nursing home in Illinois. The period of ineligibility starts on the first day of the month of the transfer.
Example: If a Medicaid applicant made gifts totaling $90,000 in a state where the average nursing home bill is $5,000 a month, he or she would be ineligible for Medicaid for 18 months ($90,000 ÷ $5,000 = 18).
Another way to look at the above example is that for every $5,000 transferred, an applicant would be ineligible for Medicaid nursing home benefits for one month.In theory, there is no limit on the number of months a person can be ineligible.Example: The period of ineligibility for the transfer of property worth $400,000 would be 80 months ($400,000 ÷ $5,000 = 80).
However, the IDPA may look only at transfers made during the 36 months preceding an application for Medicaid (or 60 months if the transfer was made to certain trusts). This is called the “look-back period.” Effectively, then, there is now a 36-month limit on periods of ineligibility resulting from transfers. This means that people who make large transfers must be careful not to apply for Medicaid before the 36-month look-back period passes.Example: To use the above example of the $400,000 transfers, if the individual made the transfer on January 1, 1998, and waited until February 1, 2001, to apply for Medicaid — 37 months later — the transfer would not affect his or her Medicaid eligibility. However, if the individual applied for benefits in December 2000, only 35 months after transferring the property, he or she would have to wait the full 80 months before becoming eligible for benefits.Exceptions to the Transfer PenaltyTransferring assets to certain recipients will not trigger a period of Medicaid ineligibility. These exempt recipients include:(1) A spouse (or a transfer to anyone else as long as it is for the spouse’s benefit);(2) A blind or disabled child;(3) A trust for the benefit of a blind or disabled child;(4) A trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65 (even if the trust is for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant, under certain circumstances).In addition, special exceptions apply to the transfer of a home. The Medicaid applicant may freely transfer his or her home to the following individuals without incurring a transfer penalty:(1) The applicant’s spouse;(2) A child who is under age 21 or who is blind or disabled;(3) Into a trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65 (even if the trust is for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant, under certain circumstances);(4) A sibling who has lived in the home during the year preceding the applicant’s institutionalization and who already holds an equity interest in the home; or(5) A “caretaker child,” who is defined as a child of the applicant who lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization and who during that period provided care that allowed the applicant to avoid a nursing home stay.Congress has created a very important escape hatch from the transfer penalty: the penalty will be “cured” if the transferred asset is returned in its entirety, or it will be reduced if the transferred asset is partially returned.Is Transferring Assets Against the Law?
You may have heard that transferring assets, or helping someone to transfer assets, to achieve Medicaid eligibility is a crime. Is this true? The short answer is that for a brief period it was, and it’s possible, although unlikely under current law, that it will be in the future.
As part of a 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum health care bill, Congress made it a crime to transfer assets for purposes of achieving Medicaid eligibility. Congress repealed the law as part of the 1997 Balanced Budget bill, but replaced it with a statute that made it a crime to advise or counsel someone for a fee regarding transferring assets for purposes of obtaining Medicaid. This meant that although transferring assets was again legal, explaining the law to clients could have been a criminal act.
In 1998, Attorney General Janet Reno determined that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment protection of free speech, and she told Congress that the Justice Department would not enforce the law. Around the same time, a U.S. District Court judge in New York said that the law could not be enforced for the same reason. Accordingly, the law remains on the books, but it will not be enforced. Since it is possible that these rulings may change, you should contact our office before filing a Medicaid application.Treatment of Income
The basic Medicaid rule for nursing home residents is that they must pay all of their income, minus certain deductions, to the nursing home. The deductions include a $30-a-month personal needs allowance, a deduction for any uncovered medical costs (including medical insurance premiums), and, in the case of a married applicant, an allowance for the spouse who continues to live at home if he or she needs income support. A deduction may also be allowed for a dependent child living at home. A deduction is also allowed for community spouse maintenance needs. The allowance in 2000 was $2,103 and is adjusted annually. This allows the Medicaid recipient to exempt some of his/her income for the purpose of spouse maintenance.
Example: if Mr. X resides in a long term care facility such as a nursing home and has monthly income of $1,600 and his spouse has income of $800 a month (from pension or social security for example) then the difference between the spouse’s $800/mo. Income and the $2,103 allowance (in 2000) may be contributed by Mr. X to his spouse and he may deduct that amount, up to the total allowance, from his income for asset calculation purposes. Under the facts of the example, this would allow Mr. X a $503 community spouse deduction and $30 personal needs deduction. The amount of Mr. X’s income in excess of the deductions ($1,600-$503-$30= $1,067) must be “spent down” or paid to cover the medical expenses each month. A similar deduction exists for dependent family members including dependent adult children, dependent parents or dependent siblings.For Medicaid applicants who are married, the income of the community spouse is not counted in determining the Medicaid applicant’s eligibility. Only income in the applicant’s name is counted in determining his or her eligibility. Thus, even if the community spouse is still working and earning $5,000 a month, she will not have to contribute to the cost of caring for her spouse in a nursing home if Medicaid covers him.Protections for the Healthy SpouseThe Medicaid law provides special protections for the spouse of a nursing home resident to make sure she has the minimum support needed to continue to live in the community.
The so-called “spousal protections” work this way: if the Medicaid applicant is married, the countable assets of both the community spouse and the institutionalized spouse are totaled as of the date of “institutionalization,” the day on which the ill spouse enters either a hospital or a long-term care facility in which he or she then stays for at least 30 days.
In Illinois, the community spouse may keep one half of the couple’s total “countable” assets up to a maximum of $84,120 (in 2000). Called the “community spouse resource allowance,” this is the most that Illinois allows a community spouse to retain without a hearing or a court order.
Example: If a couple has $100,000 in countable assets on the date the applicant enters a nursing home, he or she will be eligible for Medicaid once the couple’s assets have been reduced to a combined figure of $52,000 — $2,000 for the applicant and $50,000 for the community spouse.In all circumstances, the income of the community spouse will continue undisturbed; he or she will not have to use his or her income to support the nursing home spouse receiving Medicaid benefits. But what if most of the couple’s income is in the name of the institutionalized spouse, and the community spouse’s income is not enough to live on? In such cases, the community spouse is entitled to some or all of the monthly income of the institutionalized spouse as described above in “treatment of income.”..In exceptional circumstances, community spouses may seek an increase in the income allowance either by appealing to the IDPA or by obtaining a court order of spousal support.Estate Recovery and Liens
Under Medicaid law, following the death of the Medicaid recipient a state must attempt to recover from his or her estate whatever benefits it paid for the recipient’s care. However, no recovery can take place until the death of the recipient’s spouse, or as long as there is a child of the deceased who is under 21 or who is blind or disabled.The IDPA is permitted to seek recovery of paid benefits in all of the benefit recipient’s probate property. Given the rules for Medicaid eligibility, the only probate property of substantial value that a Medicaid recipient is likely to own at death is his or her home.
In addition to the right to recover from the estate of the Medicaid beneficiary, IDPA must place a lien on real estate owned by a Medicaid beneficiary during her life unless certain dependent relatives are living in the property. If the property is sold while the Medicaid beneficiary is living, not only will she cease to be eligible for Medicaid due to the cash she would net from the sale, but also she would have to satisfy the lien by paying back the state for its coverage of her care to date. The exceptions to this rule are cases where a spouse, a disabled or blind child, a child under age 21, or a sibling with an equity interest in the house is living there.
Whether or not a lien is placed on the house, the lien’s purpose should only be for recovery of Medicaid expenses. The IDPA may seek to enforce the lien at any time there is a transfer of the real property, in cases of fraud, or at the time of death of the owner.

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