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Experienced Lawyers in Action | ABA SENIOR LAWYERS DIVISION | MARCH 2008



senior woman driving

Screening drivers for dynamic visual acuity, an integral measure of driving skills and ability, may soon buck the driver's license vision testing trend. The Online Dynamic Visual Acuity Tests ™, commercially available products through SpecialtyAutomated Systems Corporation ™, fully computerize one of the most important measures of real-world task performance, dynamic visual acuity. The SpecialtyAutomated line of dynamic visual acuity tests are specially designed in standardized, objective, and user-friendly online formats to screen and monitor drivers in departments of driver's licenses, doctors' offices, clinical settings, among other agencies. Such cutting edge, sensitive, multimedia, and interactive tests can be rapidly administered to screen the dynamic visual acuity of millions of people of all ages on computers.

Dynamic visual acuity is fundamentally recognized as one of the visual functions that worsen with age. Tests of dynamic visual acuity appear to have the potential to detect and monitor various vision impairments that would be overlooked by conventional visual acuity screening tests. Studies, such as the recent successful beta test program conducted at the Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, Florida, show that dynamic visual acuity offers strong potential for fitness-to-drive evaluations to reduce the disproportionate numbers of collisions, injuries, and deaths associated with older drivers. As a good predictor of collisions, dynamic visual acuity is considered a superior form of screening visual acuity. Dynamic visual acuity applications already vary from sport training to NASA space travel vision screenings. 

Since vision test administrators and evaluators at motor vehicle bureaus are not medically qualified to determine who has a visual impairment and who can or cannot drive, dynamic visual acuity screening tests appear to be a small investment that can improve public safety.  As online screening tools, dynamic visual acuity tests effectively reduce significant time, paper, labor, costs, and bias associated with administering, scoring, and interpreting results of the traditional wall charts, vision testers, and vision screeners. Software, CD-ROMs, DVDs, downloads, and special equipments are not required. Such savings are significant to offices and the environment, especially as many agencies go green to promote eco-friendly solutions and practices. Online dynamic visual acuity tests, such as the SpecialtyAutomated Dyna-VACS ™ line of products, also allow for the rapid screening of ambient conditions, such as fog vision and night vision, that a driver would encounter on the road. Test results can be shared between government agencies, and when authorized, to physicians and lawyers in real time. 

Computers equipped with Internet access and identity authentication mechanisms can even allow dynamic visual acuity tests to be issued on a self-service basis. Autonomous devices now effectively function and allow users to seamlessly and swiftly process transactions at airports (airline tickets), libraries (books), post offices (stamps), supermarkets (groceries), cinemas (movie tickets) and numerous retail establishments. Online vision tests are therefore needed to prevent drivers who do not visually qualify for a driver's license in one state, from obtaining a driver's license in another state. As states consider and even scramble to comply with the Real ID Act to implement a national driver's license, the opportunity to improve motorist safety may be realized through implementation of web-based vision assessments, such as the Online Dynamic Visual Acuity Tests ™ by SpecialtyAutomated.

SANDY H. STRAUS is President, Senior Engineer, and Transportation and Security Expert Witness of ESRA Consulting Corporation of Boca Raton, Florida. Sandy Straus is also the inventor of numerous automated products, tests, and systems. She shares patents pending on the SpecialtyAutomated Online Dynamic Visual Acuity Tests ™. She also has significant financial involvement (stock ownership) with SpecialtyAutomated Systems Corporation, the company she co-owns that manufactures the Online Dynamic Visual Acuity Tests ™,
the test instruments mentioned in this paper.



Age Discrimination

Supreme Court alters
tone in discrimination case

By Linda Greenhouse,
The New York Times



Long-ago lead exposure may
hasten aging’s toll

‘Natural’ mental decline may be
related to pollutants absorbed
years before. Associated Press,
Source: MSNBC


Disability Law

Bills Introduced
HR 5484 (Frank, D-MA), to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from income and employment taxes real property tax abatements for seniors and disabled individuals in exchange for services; to Ways and Means. H1030, CR 2/25/08.


Elder Care

Elderly couples 'can stay
together in care'

By Rosa Prince, Telegraph.co.uk


Elder Law

Bills Introduced
HR 5510 (Wilson, D-OH), to amend Title II of the Social Security Act to eliminate the five-month waiting period in the disability insurance program; to Ways and Means. H1183, CR 2/27/08.

The Senate Special Aging Committee held a hearing on hunger among the elderly and the steps that need to be taken to prevent it now and in the future. 3/5/08, 10:30 a.m., 562 Dirksen.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee, House Appropriations Committee, held an oversight hearing on the disability case backlog at the Social Security Administration. 2/28/08, 10 a.m., 2358 Rayburn.

The Senate Special Aging Committee held a hearing on surgeons and conflicts and consultant payments in the medical device industry. 2/27/08, 10:30 a.m., 628 Dirksen.



Health Tip of the Week
Sponsored by the American Bar Endowment

Computers could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease

Dentist helps elderly brush up
Daily dental maintenance can
help nursing home residents
prevent a host of ailments.
By Kim Archer, Tulsa World

Eating disorders in the elderly
By Geeta Arora, Bradenton Herald

On Men
Multivitamins—a health hazard?

By Adam Voiland,
U.S. News & World Report

Small tumbles can predict
seniors' serious falls

Wrist monitors, simple test in your chair can help tell who is most at risk

State to slim weight-loss
surgery options

By E. B. Solomont,
The New York Sun


Health Law

Bills Introduced
S 2687 (Snowe, R-ME), to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to enhance beneficiary protections under Parts C and D of the Medicare program; to Finance. S1467, CR 3/3/08.

S 2662 (Baucus, R-AL), to respond to a Medicare funding warning; to Finance. S1121, CR 2/25/08.

HR 5480 (Hoyer, D-MD), to respond to a Medicare funding warning; to Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, and Ways and Means. H1030, CR 2/25/08.

Long-Term Care

States draw fire for pitching citizens
on private long-term care insurance

By Jennifer Levitz and Kelly Greene,
The Wall Street Journal



Bush Proposes Linking the Medicare Drug Premium to Beneficiaries’ Income
By Robert Pear, The New York Times

California reverses course, adopts 10% physician Medicaid pay cut
Lawmakers and the governor agree to $544 million in state cuts for Medi-Cal in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
By Doug Trapp, AMNews

Consumer Groups Say Medicare Agency Is Proposing The Wrong Approach To Protecting Drug Coverage For People With Low Incomes, USA
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., Source: Medical News Today

Democrats take renewed aim at private Medicare insurance plans
The Associated Press,
International Tribune, Americas

Fiscal experts question cost effectiveness of Medicare plans
By Julie Appleby, USA Today

Maryland joins suit over Medicaid
rule change

All American Patriots

Medicaid-Financed Nursing Home Services: Characteristics of People Served and Their Patterns of Care, 2001-2002
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term-Care

Merck to pay $650 million
to settle Medicare suits

By Val Brickates Kennedy, MarketWatch

Private Medicare Drug Plans: High Expenses and Low Rebates Increase the Costs of Medicare Drug Coverage
United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Majority Staff, October 2007

Some Doctors Not Accepting Private Medicare Plans
By David Gulliver, HeraldTribune.com

Senate finance committee bans American Medical Association from Medicare reform bill talks
Kaiser Network

Targeting hospital errors
New Medicare rules help stimulate more safety and cleanliness procedures
Las Vegas Sun


Reverse Mortgages

Tapping into homes can be
pitfall for the elderly

By Charles Duhigg,
The New York Times



401(k) debit draws red flags
By Tom Ramstack,
The Washington Post

A Bill Aims for Nursing Home Reform
Proposed legislation considers the biggest reform of the industry in decades.
By Bret Schulte,
U.S. News & World Report

Families Help Care for Half
of U.S. Preschoolers, Census Says

By Tarmar Lewin,
The New York Times

Free agent adjusts his truss
By Bryan Curtis, The New York Times

Medical Identity Theft Turns
Patients Into Victims

By Michelle Andrews,
U.S. News & World Report



Information of interest on assisted living, nursing homes, healthcare, and more.




SLD Spring Meeting
April 11-12, 2008
American Bar Association
Chicago, IL

National Healthcare Decisions Day 2008
April 16, 2008
For more information, download flyer.

U.S. Supreme Court Trip
June 8-9, 2008
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Washington, DC

courtesy of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division Elder Law Committee, contains summaries of articles of interest including hyperlinks to e-news web sites. Articles appear on the provider’s web site as of today’s e-news posting. Visit the provider’s web site to request a copy of the article if the link no longer is operational. You may also gain access to most newspapers through local libraries.

The views of the commentators are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division.

Share comments with other SLD members concerning senior issues via e-mail.
Visit sld-membership@mail.abanet.org.

Authors are encouraged to submit articles for possible publication to the Division’s periodicals, Experience magazine and Voice of Experience newsletter. Contact Lisa Comforty for more information.

The Elder Law E-News list serve is transmitted electronically to SLD members every month. Members are asked to submit newsworthy articles that are of interest to lawyers. Topics should be relevant to the practice of elder law, elder law court cases and opinions, and senior issues including Medicare, health law issues, etc. Articles should be faxed or sent by e-mail with direct link to article to Angela Boykin (fax: 312/988-6033, e-mail: boykinaa@staff.abanet.org). Articles should note the article title, source, date and/or issue.

The Elder Law Committee thanks the following
Elder Law E-News article contributors and reviewers:

Malinda Allen
Walter Burke
Ruth Kleinfeld
Marvin Maydew
Kathleen O’Connor Robertson

Elder Law E-News | Copyright  ©2008 American Bar Association



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