At Elder Law of East Tennessee, we see a good number of people who have Parkinson's Disease. Families tell us that early symptoms include increasing unsteadiness, falls, fine motor tremors, somewhat clouded cognition or judgment, and flat facial expressions. Parkinson's Disease is a progressive brain disorder in which dopamine-producing neurons are damaged over time, causing a variety of motor and non-motor symptoms. In layman's terms, this means that the individual may know that they need to move their legs to walk, but the neurons which carry that message to the lower extremities are short-circuited. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don't.
In February of last year I wrote about the problems Medicare beneficiaries needing rehabilitative care face when hospitals provide services under observation status rather than actually admitting the patient into the hospital. At a recent national gathering of Life Care Planning Law Firm Association providers, Elder Care Coordinators recounted case after case where clients have been denied Medicare coverage for rehabilitation services or have been saddled with expenses from their hospital stay that were not covered due to only being under observation. This March it became clear that some legislators have heard the voices of their constituents and are working to improve the Medicare rules for providing coverage after a hospitalization - regardless of the patient's hospitalization status.
After a 15-week distance learning course, I am proud to announce that I now hold an Elder Care Coordinator certificate! In September 2012 I began an online course offered through the Stockton Center on Successful Aging in conjunction with the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association in order to benefit from the expertise of other Elder Care Coordinators from around the country and receive input from other professionals in my field. This certification reinforces my 25-plus years of direct experience in elder care and in coordinating care solutions for seniors and their families. It also underscores Elder Law of East Tennessee's commitment to achieving the highest levels of continuing education available in the industry so that we can best serve our clients.
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