August 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Confronted by the government, section holds its ground Confronted by the government, section holds its ground Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Little did Scott Solkoff realize when he became chair of the Elder Law Section that he would wind up summoned to the Capitol and threatened with criminal prosecution.The government accused him — and Florida’s other elder law attorneys — of illegally helping qualify rich clients for Medicaid.Solkoff countered that elder law attorneys are simply doing their duty to advise their clients on how to protect their life savings so they can qualify for needed insurance through the Medicaid program and receive needed health care without becoming impoverished.“It was a call to courage and a call to principle,” Solkoff told members gathered at the Elder Law Luncheon at The Florida Bar’s Annual Meeting in Orlando June 24.“I was never prouder of this membership when we voted as an executive council that our clients will always come first. When we look at reforms to the Medicaid program, that even if it meant we were going to negotiate ourselves to a worse position business-wise, if we would lose money because we would end up solving the problems that we help people with, that we would prefer that fate. So we recognize that we are advocates, above all, rather than a trade organization.”Here’s what happened, according to Solkoff, a Boyton Beach attorney who is the son of Jerome Solkoff, a founding member of the Elder Law Committee and the second chair when it began as a section:On March 9, he and then-Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson were called to a meeting at the Capitol by the office of the secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration.When they walked into a conference room in the Office of the Attorney General at the Capitol, Solkoff said in an interview, “It turned out to be an ambush.” In the room were high-ranking officials from the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Elder Affairs, the Office of the Governor, and AHCA.One government official, he said, was holding an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal and the accusation was that “those elder law attorneys are qualifying those rich clients for Medicaid.”“It took an hour from us educating them,” Solkoff said. “The tone in that room was completely changed after we left.”In summing up their argument, Solkoff offered this scenario:“If you have a married couple who saved up to $200,000 throughout their life, one needs nursing home care that costs $5,000 a month, they will be completely wiped out and the other spouse has nothing. What we do is protect what they have saved, and so they can qualify for Medicaid for care, and use their own dollars to pay for what Medicaid doesn’t cover.“We tried to turn the discussion around that we are not nefarious attorneys trying to bilk the system, but that this is a real social problem that people are facing.”What started with threats of criminal prosecution ended in a changed tone of agreeing to work together to solve the problem, he said.“I say with no ego that I felt that I was at my very best that I have ever been that day,” Solkoff told the elder law attorneys at the luncheon.“It was largely because the words coming out of my mouth were your words, and the words I had heard from all the seminars I attended, and from listening to my father. I was able to explain to the government that we weren’t crooks; we are actually helping people and we are following the law.“I commend this membership for standing strong this year and for being able to talk to the government in a way that was respectful, but not cowed,” Solkoff said. “doing that, we were able to mend fences and help educate people.”During his term as chair, Solkoff created the Joint Public Policy Task Force, a combined effort of the section and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys.Lauchlin Waldoch, a co-chair of that task force, praised Solkoff and Johnson for their efforts on the issue.“On that particular issue, I had a very good meeting,” Waldoch said. “The Attorney General’s Office has told us unequivocally that we are not on their radar screen. We are not even on their list, not even at the bottom of the list. So we are going to use that as an opportunity. They have asked us to work with them on a going-forward basis.”The section also now has two lobbyists.“There is a strong likelihood of a special session on Medicaid in October or November,” Waldoch said. “So we’ve got a very, very busy time ahead of us in the next four or five months.”The section’s goal, Solkoff said, is to work with the legislature “to ensure that there is a government system that provides for the health care for people who need it. It’s rather basic. You have people who have worked all their lives and saved their small fortune, and they will lose it all and then be totally reliant on the government dole. We want to make sure there is a health care system in place that doesn’t require total impoverishment.”The section’s new chair, Chris Likens, said, “I am sure Scott had absolutely no clue what was coming ahead,” when he became chair.
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A tropical paradise. Picture: SuppliedHe was marketing the home at 5 Lawson Street, Midge Point as “the ultimate in exclusivity”.“After more than three decades of planning and fulfilling a dream, the owners are about to retire in Sweden and must acquire a sale.” The property has a swimming pool too. Picture: SuppliedHis wife Ingemar said “Paul Deering came highly recommended and he was an excellent choice for us and Villa Simar”.“This has been a really long project. Over the years, continued improvements and plantings have been commissioned as we worked closely with Paul to create the most sustainable, beautiful surrounds that we could.” They even built a bridge on the property. Picture: SuppliedThe 700 sqm home has five bedrooms and three bathrooms with green marble in the kitchen, five-metre high ceilings, and a panorama room that overlooks the substantial investment they made into the gardens. It has soaring five metre high ceilings. Picture: Supplied Landscape designer Paul Deering helped lay out the gardens 22 years ago. Picture: Supplied The home was sprawled over 700 sqm. Picture: Supplied Loads of outdoor space. Picture: SuppliedThe couple had roped in the help of landscape designer Paul Deering 22 years ago for the greenery, fountains, ponds and waterfall.“Everything was carefully chosen to showcase the surrounding nature,” according to Sigrid Eriksson.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours ago Many architectural plants were incorporated into the design. Picture: Supplied“The gardens and home were designed sensitively to be sustainable and to complement the beauty of the natural surroundings, with the entire property powered by solar energy.”The gardens include a pergola, bridges and a gazebo with the design created around being “as beautiful as possible and easy to maintain” Mr Eriksson said. Classic and tranquil. Picture: Supplied Not a bad spot for a firepit. Picture: Supplied FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK A fan on the veranda even. Picture: Supplied“It’s the perfect lifestyle property. With a semitropical climate, it is close to the coast and all amenities, yet it is wonderfully private.”Agent Rob Taylor of Taylors Property Specialists Cannonvale has the home marketed for expressions of interest closing November 12.“They are the most beautiful people and what they have created there is just a beautiful labour of love. You just sit there in awe. It’s a beautiful home.”He said it would be an amazing wedding venue. The ultimate in exclusivity, Villa Simar was created for those that enjoy their privacy but still love to entertain. Picture: Supplied One of the most stunning kitchens to come on the market this year. Picture: SuppliedA 22-YEAR labour of love close to the Whitsundays has hit the market and it comes with its own helicopter pad, fountains and waterfall. Swedish couple Ingemar and Sigrid Eriksson were on a month-long Queensland holiday when they got more than they bargained for after falling in love with the tropics.They built a two-storey resort-style home after buying five acres of land, creating Villa Simar — a sumptuous escape with all you could ask of a tropical sanctuary. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:51Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:51 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p432p432p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenStarting your hunt for a dream home00:51
All is now lined up for the Syracuse and West Genesee ice hockey teams to clash again for the Section III Division I championship if they both take care of post-season business twice on home ice.The Cougars have the top seed and the Wildcats the no. 2 seed for the sectional tournament, and will host quarterfinals late this week at Meachem Rink and Shove Park. Wins mean they will also be home for the Feb. 26 semifinal round.In order to win the regular-season league title, Syracuse had to win both of its remaining games last week, and did so, first handling Cicero-North Syracuse 9-1, and then blanking Baldwinsville 4-0 last Thursday. Defensively, the Cougars bottled up B’ville, holding it to 15 shots, all stopped by Alex Moreno, who had returned to the net after missing much of the season due to injury.Prior to that, the Cougars handled C-NS at the Twin Rinks, using three goals late in the first period to break out of a 1-1 tie.Benedict, with three goals and one assist, led the way as Vern Cooke scored twice and Durand picked up three assists. Jones had a goal and two assists.Matro, Colin Johnson and Cam Walsh also put in goals, with assists going to Richards, Luke Dwyer and Shemar ThomasWest Genesee, meanwhile, honored its seniors prior to last Tuesday’s game against visiting Ontario Bay, and then proceeded to blast the Storm 9-0.Building up an 8-0 advantage through two periods, the Wildcats saw James Schneid earn a three-goal hat trick, plus an assist as Billy Fisher got two goals and three assists and Andrew Schneid had four assists.Jeremy Keyes also scored twice, adding a pair of assists as Joe McLaughlin and Alex DeSantis had the other goals. Jake Kopek got two assists. Single assists went to Ryan Considine, Michael Bergan and Will Shields.Even with this, WG needed a win at Fulton 24 hours later to keep the pressure on Syracuse, and it got that victory, keeping the Red Raiders off the board in a 4-0 shutout.Goals by Keyes and James Schneid has the Wildcats in front 2-0 through two periods, and it doubled that margin thanks to a pair of third-period goals by Fisher, which helped overcome 46 saves by Fulton goalie Jadon Lee.Andrew Schneid piled up three assists, James Schneid getting two assists and McLaughlin a single assist. WG’s defense held the Red Raiders to just five shots.Despite these fine efforts, the Wildcats could not keep the Cougars from earning the regular-season title, though the bigger games still remain.After Tuesday’s opening round of the sectional playoffs, where no. 8 seed Liverpool faces no. 9 seed Cicero-North Syracuse and no. 7 seed CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt meets no. 10 seed Cazenovia, the lowest remaining seed draws Syracuse in the quarterfinals, and the other winner takes on WG.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: ice hockeySyracuseWest Genesee What made the win over B’ville particularly sweet was that Syracuse had lost to the Bees 3-2 in the Dec. 7 final of the Bobby Conklin Tournament. Two months later, the result was quite different.Ryan Durand twice set up goals two minutes apart in the first period, setting up Kaleb Benedict’s wraparound effort and then feeding it to Stephan Matro, who scored to make it 2-0.Early in the second period, Tommy Rioux made it 3-0, and Durand himself scored in the final period as Benedict, Nelson Jones and Nick Richards each got one assist.
Sumner Newscow report â€” Applications are available at the Wellington Recreation Commission for people interested in serving as recreation commission board member. Applications will be taken through June 14.