Current MassNAELA Workgroups
All workgroups are open to non-MassNAELA Professionals. If you would like to learn more or join one of our workgroups, please contact Executive Director, Clarence Richardson, at Clarence@MassNAELA.com.
The Amicus Workgroup is responsible for identifying appellate cases that affect the organization’s membership, and deciding whether or not a brief should be submitted. The Workgroup is responsible for drafting or reviewing any brief that the organization will be a signatory. The Workgroup is also responsible for analyzing and reviewing applications for litigation support and performs such other duties as may be directed by the Board. – Meets as needed.
- Due Process
The Due Process Workgroup was created by a group of attorneys that were litigating cases against MassHealth in Superior Court regarding the issues of inconsistent fair hearing decisions, inadequate notice, and violations of time standards. The Workgroup has met with MassHealth’s legal department over the past two years and has recently spearheaded the ‘MassHealth Appeal Helpline’ for members who would like advice regarding MassHealth Appeals. – Meets as needed.
The Guardianship Workgroup meets monthly to discuss recent developments regarding Guardianship and Conservatorship. The Workgroup discusses recent decisions, successes and challenges in dealing with the courts, and serves as a liaison to the Oversight Committee that was funded through the Administration for Community Living Elder Justice Innovation Grant. – Meets on the second Monday of the month at 12:00PM.
- Home and Community Based Services
The Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Workgroup is tasked with expanding access to HCBS in Massachusetts. The Workgroup is currently pursuing two avenues to accomplish this goal: First, they are continually meeting with MassHealth Policy personnel to share information from CMS about ways to expand HCBS. Second, they are advocating for our Community Care Bill in legislature that would allow for a more accessible premium to be paid, as opposed to the current six-month deductible method. – Meets as needed.
- Life Estate Valuations
The Life Estate Valuations Workgroup was formed in 2020 when MassHealth issued EOM 20-16. The goal of this Workgroup is to advocate for consistent valuation of Life Estates for tax and public benefits purposes. The Workgroup received a major victory in the spring of 2023 when MassHealth issued EOM 23-12, which provides that the value of a Life Estate shall be calculated the same way for public benefits as for tax purposes. However, the Workgroup continues to work on legislation to codify this principle, so that it cannot be changed through a future EOM. – Meets as needed.
- MassHealth Issues
This Workgroup is where members can share issues that they are having with MassHealth to determine the best way to proceed, and whether a Workgroup should be formed. Generally, the choices for proceeding include administrative advocacy, legislative advocacy, or litigation. – Meets as needed.
- Pooled Trust
This is one of MassNAELA’s longest standing Workgroups. The Pooled Trust Workgroup currently consists of MassNAELA members along with representatives from the different Massachusetts Pooled Trust companies. The goal of this Workgroup has been, and continues to be, preserving the use of Pooled Trusts for individuals over the age of 65. – Meets as needed.
- Power of Attorney and Trust
The Power of Attorney (POA) and Trust Workgroup was formed in 2022 following the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Decision in Barbetti v. Stempniewicz. In this, decision the SJC identified the ambiguity in the law regarding whether an Agent under a POA has the authority to establish a trust on behalf of their principal. This Workgroup is pursuing legislative clarity around this issue. In addition to addressing the Barbetti decision, the Workgroup is also working to improve the acceptance of POAs by financial institutions. – Meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 8:00AM.
- Probate Court
The Probate Workgroup was formed to discuss and offer solutions to delays in different Probate Courts. This Workgroup has partnered with multiple Probate and Family Courts to help provide volunteers for their Lawyer of the Day programs. By providing these volunteers, the Court staff were able to focus on reviewing and processing pleadings and motions. Although most of the delays have been resolved the Workgroup may shift its focus to consistency among the different courts. – Meets on the forth Tuesday of every other month (starting Sept. 2023) at 12:00PM.
- Residents’ Rights
The Residents Rights Workgroup is advocating for legislative and regulatory reform in regards to Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The reforms focus on transparency and accountability for the facilities that are home to some of the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. – Meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 10:30AM.
- Special Needs
The Special Needs Workgroup works directly with the MassNAELA Special Needs Steering Committee to further the efforts of the organization around Special Needs Law. Two major projects of this Workgroup are maintaining the MassNAELA Special Needs Toolkit, and hosting the Special Needs UnProgram, where they bring together advocates and service providers to discuss major issues for individuals with disabilities. – Meets on the first Thursday of every other month (starting Oct. 2023) at 11:00AM.
- Taxation of Credit Shelter Trusts
The Taxation of Credit Shelter Trusts Workgroup was formed in early 2023 to research Mass. Dept. of Revenue’s (MDOR) policy to include residential assets in a Credit Shelter in the estate of the surviving spouse. This Workgroup offers support to members working on estate tax returns involving a Credit Shelter trust and is determine the best way to address this issue with MDOR. – Meets as needed.