Long Island Business News
Jennifer B. Cona is managing partner at Cona Elder Law, LLP (Cona Elder Law), an elder law firm in Melville. Cona founded the firm's Health Care Reimbursement and Recovery Department, which currently represents more than 150 skilled nursing facilities on Long Island and throughout New York State, making Cona Elder Law one of the preeminent law firms in this practice area.
Cona's practice focuses on both health care facility representation, including complex Medicaid eligibility matters, Guardianships, Fair Hearings, and civil litigation, as well as representing seniors and their loved ones with the preservation of assets, Medicaid planning, estate planning, wealth transfer strategies, administration of estates, estate litigation, contested Guardianships and special needs planning. Under Cona's guidance, the firm works to secure and ensure a payment source for long term health care, working together with both families and health care facilities to sustain quality care for older adults.
Cona and her team set the standard in health care facility representation and are responsible for numerous court and fair hearing decisions, which have changed the Medicaid and Guardianship landscape, leading to increased reimbursement rates for the firm's health care facility clients. Working on behalf of families, Cona's work includes locating appropriate care, coordinating public and private resources to finance the cost and working to ensure the client's right to quality care.
Cona has successfully argued a number of cases against healthcare budget cuts affecting the elderly, winning fair hearings and keeping benefits in place for the elderly.
Cona is currently focused on the conflict between the Guardianship statutes and the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which she said has led to inconsistent decisions in the New York Courts regarding end-of-life care for incapacitated adults residing in nursing homes and hospitals.
"Every individual of sound mind and adult years has a right to determine what should be done with his or her own body," Cona said. "This right to accept or reject medical treatment has long been recognized for competent adults. However, for individuals who lack capacity, the imposition of unwanted medical treatment is still an issue for patients who reside in hospitals or nursing homes due to an apparent conflict between the limitations placed on the powers of a Guardian in some court jurisdictions versus the standards set forth under the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA)."
"Historically, decisions to withdraw life-sustaining treatment made by court-appointed Guardians have been held to a 'clear and convincing' standard," she noted. "However, this standard is at odds with the 'best interests' standards and the legal and medical framework set forth in the FHCDA."
"As evidenced by the enactment of statutes such as the Family Health Care Decisions Act and the Guardianship statutes, the New York legislature has taken extensive measures to ensure that individuals' wishes are appropriately carried out when they are no longer able to make decisions on their own behalf," Cona said. "To ensure that incapacitated individuals are extended the protections that the legislature recognized were necessary, we are advocating for this issue to be properly addressed in the courts. However, corrective legislative action may well be necessary."
Cona and her team regularly provide in-service seminars for health care facilities as well as continuing education programs for health care administrators. Cona is rated a Super Lawyer by The New York Times. She was named in the inaugural class of the New York Law Journal's 2016 Top Women in Law, as well as the inaugural class of Hofstra's Outstanding Women in Law. Cona was also rated a Top 10 Legal Eagle on Long Island; Cona is vice chair of the board of trustees of the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation and serves on- the board of the United Way of Long Island. She is the founder and chair of the Advanced Elder Law Focus Group, an industry,think-tank. Cona is a New York State Certified Guardian, Court Evaluator and Counsel to incapacitated persons and is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for Veterans benefits.
Cona earned a juris doctor degree, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She earned a bachelor's degree, cum laude and with high honors, from William Smith College.
Genser· Dubow Genser & Cona, LLP (Cona Elder Law) is recognized as a leading elder law firm on Long Island. Cona Elder Law offers expertise in health care facility reimbursement and recovery, elder law, estate planning and litigation. Health car_e facilities turn to Cona Elder Law for innovative strategies and cutting-edge solutions regarding Medicaid and government benefits eligibility, Guardianship proceedings, PRUCOL matters, collections, litigation, and other matters related to resident financial accounts and the facility's bottom line. Cona Elder Law works to secure and ensure a payment source for long term health care, working together with both families and health care facilities to sustain quality care for older adults.