The bad news is that the Attorney General is actively shopping around for Medicaid cases to attack. The good news is that local probate judges are – so far – holding the line.
Over the past few months, at least two cases have been decided in probate courts that involve Medicaid long term care issues.
One case, the Estate of Amy Grosskopf, related to an estate recovery claim and was decided in Gratiot County.
The other case, the matter of Emma J. Molesworth, a protective proceeding to increase the protected spousal amount, was heard in Shiawassee County.
The Opinion in the Grosskopf case is attached here: Grosskopf Opinion.
The Transcript of the decision in the Molesworth case is attached here: Molesworth Transcript.
Grosskopf is important because it builds on the Salemka-Shire case discussed in posts in this blog below. In Salemka-Shire, the Clinton County Probate Court held that the failure to give notice of an estate recovery claim at the time the person began seeking Medicaid precludes the estate recovery claim entirely. Grosskopf clarifies that this defect cannot be cured by subsequent applications filed in the redetermination process, even if those subsequent applications include estate recovery notices.
Molesworth was a Petition for Protective Order to increase the protected spousal amount for a married couple seeking Medicaid assistance in a nursing home. The Petition was actively opposed by the State. The Probate Court held that the relief was appropriate, and in doing so expressly refuted the State’s claim that such proceedings are not in the best interests of the protected persons, or that they are a function of an inappropriate “loophole” in the law.
Over the past few months I have discussed several cases with colleagues in which the attorney general’s office is pushing the enveloped in challenging issues relating to Medicaid eligibility and estate recovery matters. Congrats to the attorneys involved in these two cases for their superb advocacy: the Lansing law firm of Fraser Trebilcock in the Grosskopf case and Attorney Rebecca McClear in the Molesworth matter.