When three attorneys, Emma Hemness, Rebecca Bell, and Twyla Sketchley, volunteered to advocate for elderly citizens during the long debate on Florida’s Medicaid Reform, they didn’t anticipate something: that these efforts would evolve into a passion to make sure seniors are guaranteed protection as they suddenly have to start relying on for-profit organizations for their healthcare.
They spent thousands of hours analyzing, attending early morning meetings and public hearings, reviewing waiver applications, studying HMO contracts, did even more analyzing, and communicating their conclusions to lawmakers, federal agencies, and fellow advocates.
Their work involved interpreting terms like “capitated payment rates, enrollee obligations, maintenance of effort, waivers, and rebalancing of the long term care population.” But it boiled down to one simple question rarely addressed during the debate by lawmakers, regulators and interest groups: Will seniors be able maintain high quality health care through the new Medicaid Managed Care?
To make sure the answer is “yes,” the elderly, their caregivers and providers, need the following:
1. Objective information
2. Concise explanations
3. Conflict-free advocacy
Emma, Rebecca, and Twyla formed the Foundation for LTC Solutions to provide all three of these.
We Create the Village
We have a particular philosophy in our Elder Care Law practices: It takes a village to provide the resources for quality long term care for a vulnerable, elderly person. A single caregiver is insufficient. A team-approach is crucial, especially now.
Rebecca C. Bell, Esquire
Rebecca practices law with the law offices of Delzer, Coulter & Bell in Port Richey in the areas of elder law, estate planning and estate and trust administration. She graduated from Vanderbilt University (B.A., 1997) and Stetson University College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1999 and LL.M. in Elder Law with distinction, 2011).
Rebecca has served as an adjunct professor at Stetson University College of Law. She is the author of Florida’s Adoption Of The Uniform Power Of Attorney Act: Is It Sufficient To Protect Florida’s Vulnerable Adults? 24 St. Thomas L. Rev. 32 (2011). She is Florida Bar Board certified in Elder Law and an accredited agent with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and is the immediate past president of the North Suncoast Estate Planning Council.
Rebecca also serves as a board member of CARES, Inc. (Community Aging and Retirement Services), Hudson, Florida. She is a member of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys and Elder Law Section Joint Public Policy Task Force. Rebecca received the 2012 Member of the Year Award by the Florida Bar Elder Law Section and was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Elder Law for 2013.
Emma Hemness, Esquire
Emma Hemness is the founding member of the Law Office of Emma Hemness PA located in Brandon, Florida, where she specializes in the practice area known as Elder Law. She is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law, as well as nationally certified as a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.
Mrs. Hemness also has been accredited by the Veterans Administration. She has been designated as “Super Lawyer in Elder Law 2008 to present”, and recognized in Florida Trend’s Legal Elite in Elder Law 2011 to present. In 2011, she was awarded the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Attorney of the Year and achieved listing among the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Florida by Super Lawyer magazine. In 2008, she was awarded the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Outstanding Member of the Year.
She is past Chair of the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section (2007-08), current officer of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA), the state chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Member of the Florida Council on Aging QSLA Committee.
Twyla Sketchley, Esquire
A Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, has served in every leadership role in the Florida Bar Elder Law Section, including serving as 2012-2013 Chair. She served as the Florida Bar Elder Law Section’s Legislative Liaison and as a member of the Florida Joint Public Policy Task Force for the Elderly & Disabled. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Florida CHAIN and a member of the Florida Council on Aging’s Advocacy Committee.
Ms. Sketchley has been involved in advocacy for the elderly since law school, where she wrote “Coping with Aging”, a reference book for Montana attorneys with elder law questions. Ms. Sketchley is licensed to practice law in Florida and Montana and is active in advocating for elderly throughout the United States.