Beware when a home health agency tells you they can help you get qualified for VA aid and attendance

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I recently hired a home health agency to help take care of my father who has Alzheimer's. The owner of tthe agecy told me since my father is a wartime veteran he works with a guy who could get us approved in about 2 months. He said he'll pay the man's fee for us and then once application process is underway he'llstart providing services to my father. He asked me to sign an agreement that would allow him to have benefits paid to him once VA funds arrive. He dissuaded me from having my attorney fill it out saying she didn't do as many such applications as thisVA "advocate" does. My attorney said it was too good to be true but not to pay for or buy anything from the advocate.

Well the va advocate called me and told me that he preferred not to use my father's diagnosis of Alzheimer's as it would delay or not be an accepted diagnosis. He then asked for me to fill out some forms defining my father's income and assets. I thought yhis all smelled fishy at this point. I contacted the healthcare agency to voice my concerns and the agency owner asked for the "VA ADVOCATES'" doctor to come visit my father to find a diagnosis other than Alzheimer's.

At this point I was furious and saw the unethical nature of the whole arrangement. How would a "doctor" come to visit my father and in a brief visit, give my father a different diagnosis for the purpose of getting approval for VA aid and attendance? Fabricate one and then try to sell me a trust or annuity product to pay down my father's assets? I was not going to become the victim to this un kosher underhanded arrangement meant to pull the wool over my eyes!!! Beware that if a homehealth care agency tries to get your business this way, drop them like a hotcake!


Just briefly...did you actually sign the agreement allowing the "advocate" to get a portion of your father's benefits? If so, contact the VA and ask if they have a fraud department, or better yet, contact APS and notify them of this predator's actions, which I am sure were illegal and predatory.
When the healthcare agency owner came to my home to get me as his client, he had me sign a form in order for the VA "advocate" that I hadn't yet met to obtain my father's medical records. I never did give him my father's Neurologists' name, just that of my father's Primary, who has nothing to do with my fathers' Alzheimer's diagnosis. He told me that I should sign a form allowing his agency to recoup the home healthcare costs after my father would be approved ( with no money down on my part). But I told him not to start the application process until I've done my Medicaid planning with my Eldercare Attorney. He once again told me not to have her do the VA aid and attendance app because she wouldn't be as "qualified" as the "advocate" who did this everyday and knows the ins and outs of the process. I never did give the "advocate" or the agency owner my father's financials or sign the application. The "advocate" called me to tell me that he had my father's military records but didn't like the diagnosis that the medical records and that the VA wouldn't approve the Alzheimers because of their "new strict guidelines and dementia type illness". He proceeded to tell me that they'd have to ask for a fiduciary if it actually did get approved and the likelihood of getting approved would not be good. He said we'd have to focus on another diagnosis! I said, "what do you want me to do, Invent one?" He said, just fill out forms he'd email me to get my father's income and assets info. I refused to sign those and called the agency. It was the agency that recommended that I see the "advocate's doctor" who would make house calls. I told him I had a bad taste in my mouth and and told him I was terminating his agency as I felt he is in sync with this "advocate" with some unethical relationship. So, there is no actual application, but I plan to contact the appropriate organization to report this. I wasn't born yesterday, and happy that I was onto such a sneaky thing.
It is completely free to apply for VA Aid and Attendance. I printed out the application online. My mother and her Dr. both signed where applicable, and she receives the maximum benefit for being a widow.
I tried to pay the financial advisor who helped me, and he told me it was against the law for him to accept any payment. The payments were put directly into my mother's checking account just like her Social Security. I would report them to the VA.
The financial advisor who assisted me in filling out the forms told me it was against the law to accept payment. Her monthly payments were deposited directly to her checking account. We then paid the AL ourselves.
Rothdiane, you were subjected to what I would consider undue pressure, harassment, and misrepresentation. I don't know if the police would be able to do anything because fortunately you didn't sign anything or give the "advocate" any money. But others should be warned.

I think your state attorney general might have jurisdiction. You could also contact APS and ask if they have any suggestions. AARP periodically reports about these kinds of situations but they don't have any legal authority; all they can do is make the issue known.

It wouldn't hurt to also contact the FL and Federal reps and senators to share the situation with them. They may be aware of a task force working on protecting elders from fraud. Some years ago the Senate held a hearing on fraud against seniors. Given that there's an election year approaching, some may want to get on the senior citizen bandwagon and actually help in the campaign against elder financial abuse.

The RLTV show also periodically hosts programs in which elders have been abused; they might also have programs on attempted frauds to alert elders. You could contact them as well.

I would also contact either the Area Agency on Aging or the local police to find out what governmental agency has authority over home care agencies, and report that agency with the so-called advocate.

It sounds like there's more than just the "advocate" involved in this attempted ruse. If there is in fact a "VA doctor", he's pretending to be one because to the best of my knowledge VA doctors don't make house calls.

Real doctors also don't play spin the bottle diagnosis to find one that would be more likely to be accepted by the VA.

This is what I think the REAL reason is for not wanting to use the Alzheimer's diagnosis: they wanted to restructure your father's portfolio, take fees for doing so, and likely fund assets managed by their cronies. If your father has Alz, and depending on his stage, he might not be able to legally give them permission to do so.

I'm assuming that you don't have a durable power of attorney, so your father would have to allow them to reconfigure his portfolio, and hiding that Dx would allow them to get his approval to do that. Sneaky devils they are.

It's a good thing the fishy smell became apparent and you didn't provide information on your father's financial situation, because the next step would be for an alleged financial planner to contact you about reconfiguring those assets. They might have put them into annuities, or who knows - they might have committed fraud and cleaned out your father's financial portfolio.
BTW, I would also send a certified letter revoking the permission you gave for the con artists to contact your father's primary care doctor and get privileged health information. Briefly explain the situation to him or her and advise that because of the "advocate's" unscrupulous actions the authority to release medical records has been revoked.

But I definitely would contact Florida police or governmental agencies so they can go after this agency. I wonder how many people they bilked out of their funds?

Oh, and if this agency was recommended by anyone, they should be aware as well, although it could be they're part of the scheme. However, if the agency was recommended by a hospital, they have a right to know of the "advocate's" actions.
I do have DPOA and I love all the great advice you've all given me. But who is RLTV? Great ideas and I will follow through with all. You know how they say there's a reason for everything? Well for one, I've learned a big lesson of what to look out for and in the process of searching out another agency, I found a gem and they are wonderful, upstanding and so suitable for what we need for my father. If this didn't happen, I would never have found them. But it kills me that so many who are so vulnerable, looking for help for their loved ones or individuals like veterans who have served their country well fall prey everyday to these snakes. I will now be more determined to make sure that I tell as many people about this to avoid it happening to as many people as I can.
RLTV is Retirement Living TV channel.

Good idea to share your experiences with others. If I can offer a word of caution though, don't mention the names of the "advocate" and affiliated "colleagues" or the home care agency in print or in public. Those weasels sound aggressive enough to take action against you if they consider your comments slander, libel and/or character defamation.

If someone raises a specific agency name, you can make ugly faces; that's a nonverbal communication and the person with whom you're speaking will get the message.

You can share the facts but don't reveal names except to law enforcement, or unless you know the people to whom you're speaking won't make public statements either.
You're right, I would never ever do that.

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