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Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.

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BIOGRAPHIES

Biographies are available for the staff and board members listed below.  Please click on the name of the staff member whose biography you wish to view.


CONNECTICUT
 

JUDITH STEIN, JD - Executive Director

BRAD PLEBANI, JD - Deputy Director

Margaret MurphY, JD - Associate Director

PAMELA MELISO, JD - Senior Attorney

GILL DEFORD, JD - Director of Litigation

MARY T. BERTHELOT, MSW, JD - Attorney

MARY A. ASHKAR, JD - Attorney

ABIGAIL C. SHEEHAN, JD - Attorney

TIANA HERCULES, MBA, JD - Attorney

NANCY GIFFORD, JD - Attorney

DAVID LIPSCHUTZ - Attorney

CAROLYN BOYLE, MBA - Administrator

SHAUN HARRINGTON - Assistant Data Manager

MATTHEW SHEPARD, MA - Communications Coordinator

ELLEN LANG, RN, MPH - Medical Advocacy Consultant

MARCUS TILTON - Senior Consultant

JOCELYNE WATROUS - Medicare Beneficiary Consultant

 

WASHINGTON, DC

 

ALFRED J. CHIPLIN, JR., M. Div., JD - Managing Attorney

VICKI GOTTLICH, LLM, JD - Senior Policy Attorney

TOBY EDELMAN, M. Ed., JD - Senior Policy Attorney

PATRICIA NEMORE, JD - Senior Policy Attorney

 

MAINE/DATA UNIT

 

LARRY GLATZ, M. Ed. - Data Project Director
LISA HALL - Data Project Manager

 

NEW YORK

 

WEY-WEY KWOK, JD - Attorney

 

ARIZONA

 

SALLY HART, JD - Senior Policy & Litigation Attorney

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Bess Brewer, JD - President

Constance Neal, BA - Secretary

Patrick Proctor, Ph.D. - Treasurer

MARION PLATT, M.ED

Keith Bradoc Gallant, JD

Rajiv Nagaich, JD

StePHEN Rosenfeld, JD

 

 

 


JUDITH STEIN, JD - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Judith Stein founded the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in 1986. She is currently the Executive Director.  Ms. Stein has focused on legal representation of the elderly since beginning her legal career in 1975.  From 1977 until 1986, Ms. Stein was the Co-Director of Legal Assistance to Medicare Patients (LAMP) where she managed the first Medicare advocacy program in the country.  She has extensive experience in developing and administering Medicare advocacy projects, representing Medicare beneficiaries, producing educational materials, teaching and consulting.  She has been lead or co-counsel in federal class action and individual cases challenging improper Medicare policies and denials.

Ms. Stein graduated cum laude from Williams College in 1972 and received her law degree with honors from Catholic University School of Law in 1975.  She is the editor and co-author of numerous books, articles, and other publications regarding Medicare and related issues including the Medicare Handbook (Aspen Publishers, Inc., updated annually).  She is a Past President and Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a past Commissioner of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI),  and a recipient of the Health Care Financing Administration ( HCFA, now CMS) Beneficiary Services Certificate of Merit.  She was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging, representing Senator Chris Dodd, and received the Connecticut Commission on Aging Agewise Advocate Award in May 2007.


BRAD PLEBANI, JD - DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Brad Plebani is the Deputy Director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.  Mr. Plebani received his B.A. degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., his J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School in New York, and received a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship through Howard University School of Law and the National Legal Services Corporation.

Mr. Plebani is responsible for assisting the Executive Director with personnel, budgetary and organizational issues and in engaging in community outreach efforts with respect to universal health care coverage and health disparities, particularly  (but not exclusively) disparities affecting the Latino population. He also assists with overseeing the Center's project development and advocacy efforts, including general advocacy and litigation efforts. He has been a frequent lecturer, around the country, to attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals regarding Medicare and related issues. He is co-author of numerous books, articles, and other publications addressing Medicare coverage and appeals issues including the Medicare Handbook (Aspen Publishers, Inc., updated annually).


MARGARET M. MURPHY, JD - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

 

Margaret Murphy is the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Associate Director, located in the Center’s Connecticut office. Prior to joining the Center in June, 2008, Margaret pursued a career in trusts and estates at two of Connecticut’s finest law firms, Cummings & Lockwood, and Robinson Cole.  Ms. Murphy has often been appointed by Connecticut probate courts to represent incapacitated adults, teaches as an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac Law School, and has experience supervising lawyers and legal staff.  She has over twenty years of legal experience and is an active member of the Connecticut Bar Association, having been involved in numerous training and writing activities. Ms. Murphy has a BA from Mt. Holyoke College and a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law.


PAMELA MELISO, MPH, JD - SENIOR ATTORNEY

Pamela Meliso is a senior staff attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.  Ms. Meliso has successfully handled hundreds of appeals of Medicare denials on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.  She is a member of Connecticut's Carrier Advisory Committee and is co-chair of the Medicare subcommittee of the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.  Ms. Meliso is lead trainer for Connecticut's Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program and is a frequent speaker on Medicare, due process, and related topics in Connecticut and around the country.  Ms. Meliso is a co-author of the Medicare Handbook, Aspen Pub. Co. 2003 (updated annually).  Ms. Meliso graduated from Rhode Island College in 1987 and received her law degree in 1990 and her master's degree in public health in 2006 from the University of Connecticut where she is a member of the adjunct faculty and teaches a course on public health policy development and advocacy.


GILL DEFORD, JD - DIRECTOR OF LITIGATION

Gill Deford is Director of Litigation of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.  After clerking for a federal district judge, Mr. Deford was a staff attorney for eighteen years with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Los Angeles, California specializing in health law, public pensions, ERISA, and SSI. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the Director of Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, a Massachusetts agency providing legal assistance to people with mental disabilities. He then worked as a staff attorney with the health law team at AARP Foundation Litigation in Washington, DC before coming to the Center in early 1999 to work on national litigation issues.

Mr. Deford graduated cum laude from Harvard College and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. His career has focused on federal court litigation and appellate practice, usually involving class actions or organizational representation.


TERRY BERTHELOT, MSW, JD – ATTORNEY

Terry received her Masters degree in social work (MSW) from Syracuse University in 1993, after which she designed, implemented, and then coordinated a Joint Commission Accredited hospice program in the state of Mississippi.  Finding herself fascinated by the legal and ethical questions surrounding death and dying, Terry pursued her law degree at the University of Mississippi.  At Ole Miss, Terry interned at the Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Defense Counsel, and won the following awards:   the Christopher P. Charlton Memorial Scholarship; the Law Association for Women Award; and the Outstanding Student Award for Political and Civil Rights.   Terry joined the Center in 2001, after graduating from law school, cum laude.  Currently, as a Center attorney, Terry provides legal advice and representation to Medicare beneficiaries who have been unfairly denied Medicare coverage or access to health care, writes articles for national publications, produces educational materials, engages in educational outreach activities with a particular focus on the Medicare hospice benefit, is a contributing author to the Medicare Handbook, and serves as co-counsel for federal class action lawsuits challenging improper Medicare policies.    Terry is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).  She is a member of NAELA's Health Care Special Interest Group's steering committee and serves on the Regulatory Committee for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). 


MARY A. ASHKAR, JD - ATTORNEY

Mary Ashkar is an attorney in the Center for Medicare Advocacy's Connecticut office where she provides legal assistance, education, and representation on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.  In this capacity Ms. Ashkar speaks to beneficiaries and their families and provides representation at all levels of appeal, including administrative hearings.  Ms. Ashkar is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association Elder Law Section.  Ms. Ashkar is also a trainer for Connecticut's Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1997 and received her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2000.  Before coming to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Ms. Ashkar practiced law at a firm in Dubuque, Iowa where she worked in litigation and employment law.


ABIGAIL C. SHEEHAN, JD - ATTORNEY

Abigail Sheehan is a staff attorney in the Center for Medicare Advocacy's Connecticut office.  Ms. Sheehan graduated magna cum laude with high honors from Middlebury College in 2003. In pursuit of a career in public interest law, Ms. Sheehan attended the University of Connecticut School of Law, where her studies included elder law and health care law. She joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy after receiving her law degree with honors in May, 2006.



TIANA HERCULES, MBA, JD - ATTORNEY

Tiana Hercules is an attorney in the Center for Medicare Advocacy's Connecticut office.  Ms. Hercules previously provided legal information and advocacy to low-income individuals and families, and has served as a clerk in several private law offices.  Ms. Hercules graduated from Connecticut College in 2004 and received her law degree and Maters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Connecticut in 2008.


NANCY GIFFORD, JD - ATTORNEY

Nancy Gifford is an attorney in the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Connecticut office.  Ms. Gifford served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut from 1998 until 2003.  During her tenure, Ms. Gifford prosecuted a wide variety of federal criminal cases, including cases about health care fraud, tax evasion and crimes against children.  Ms. Gifford served as a U.S. District Court law clerk for the Hon. Janet Bond Arterton, the Hon. Alvin W. Thompson and the Hon. Christopher F. Droney.  Ms. Gifford graduated cum laude from the University of New Hampshire and received her law degree cum laude from Boston University.


DAVID LIPSCHUTZ, JD - ATTORNEY

David A. Lipschutz, an attorney licensed in California, joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Connecticut office in June 2010.  Prior to joining the Center, from 2005 to 2010, Mr. Lipschutz worked as a staff attorney at California Health Advocates (CHA), a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy and education for California Medicare beneficiaries. While at CHA, he engaged in Medicare policy work and provided technical assistance to Medicare counselors and advocates. He also testified before Congress and the California state legislature, and was a frequent lecturer and trainer regarding myriad Medicare issues.  From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Lipschutz co-authored a chapter on Medicare in California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) publication California Elder Law, Resources, Benefits, and Planning.   Before joining CHA, Mr. Lipschutz worked as a staff attorney at the Center for Health Care Rights, a non-profit agency that provides direct services to Medicare beneficiaries in Los Angeles County.  Mr. Lipschutz earned his B.A. degree from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993 and his J.D. degree from University of California, Davis in 1999.


ELLEN LANG, RN, MPH - MEDICAL ADVOCACY CONSULTANT

Ellen Lang, RN, MPH is the Medical Advocacy Consultant for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in its Connecticut office.  Ms. Lang helps to coordinate the Center's advocacy efforts, writes about Medicare home health and related topics, and provides consulting and training services.

Ms. Lang has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years and has worked in a wide array of specialty areas within the field of nursing, with a focus on home health care. Ms. Lang was a practicing home health care nurse as well as the administrator of two home health agencies. She helped to establish the Infectious Disease Clinic of Norwich, CT.  She graduated from the William W. Backus Hospital School of Nursing with highest honors and received a BA degree in biology from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Ms. Lang holds a master's degree in public health from the University of Connecticut where she authored The Rising Incidence of Diabetes in the Adult Navajo and a Collaborative Approach to Health Care Using Traditional and Western Medicine.   She is also the recipient of the Eastern Connecticut State University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, May, 2003.


CAROLYN S. BOYLE, MBA - ADMINISTRATOR

Carolyn S. Boyle joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. as its Administrator in 1998.  Ms. Boyle is a graduate of the Barney School of Business, University of Hartford, where she received a B.A. in Management and an M.B.A.  She has previously worked as the Director of Administration for several law firms.  Ms. Boyle is a past president of the Nutmeg Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, and also served as a Regional Officer of that organization.  She is an associate member of the American Bar Association and a member of its Law Practice Management Section.


SHAUN HARRINGTON - ASSISTANT DATA MANAGER

Shaun Harrington joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in April 2008 as Assistant Data Manager, after a distinguished tenure with CT Tymetrix, a corporate/legal data support company where he earned multiple honors, including employee of the year.   Mr. Harrington brings to the Center his technical expertise in Windows based programs, network solutions, and data management, as well as his experience in client data services.

 

Mr. Harrington graduated from the University of Lowell with a degree in Business Administration, and is a member of the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) Oversight Committee, an international, voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of legal industry representatives charged with creating and maintaining open standard formats for the electronic exchange of billing and other information between corporations and law firms.
 


MATTHEW SHEPARD, MA - COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Matthew Shepard came to the Center For Medicare Advocacy in 1996, seeking a brief respite from the education field. Expecting a short-term, uninvolved job, Matt found, upon getting to know his fellow staff and the work of the Center, that he had no desire to leave. He has since moved from general office assistance through supervising a staff of full and part-time documents personnel, interacting with providers and insurers regarding Third Party Liability issues, to his greatest joys, editing the Center's written materials, and managing the Center's electronic media. Matt is also part of the Center's communications committee.

Matt graduated from Tufts University in 1992 with a BA in English. He immediately re-enrolled and graduated in 1993 with an MA in teaching, which explains his love of editing.


MARCUS TILTON - SENIOR CONSULTANT

Marcus Tilton is a Senior Consultant at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.  Mr. Tilton received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and his Masters degree in education from Eastern Connecticut State University. Following a five year career teaching in the public schools, Mr. Tilton was an employee of the Connecticut Department of Social Services from 1980 until 2004.  Mr. Tilton was primarily responsible for seeking third party payment for health services provided under the Medicaid program.  Following his retirement from state service Mr. Tilton joined the Center staff as a consultant.


Jocelyne Watrous - Beneficiary Consultant

Prior to joining the Center in March 2006, Jocelyne worked for the State of Connecticut as the CHOICES State Pharmacy Assistance Program (SPAP) Grant Coordinator.  As such she was responsible for statewide coordination of CHOICES outreach, education and enrollment activities for the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

In her previous career, Jocelyne was a Program Administration Manager with the Department of Social Services.  She was responsible for policy development and technical support to the DSS regional offices for Connecticut's adult entitlement programs, including long-term care and community Medicaid, State Supplement and State Administered General Assistance.  Jocelyne also coordinated the State's takeover of the previously town-administered General Assistance program, implemented the DSS Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program, developed regulations and policy for Connecticut's Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Waiver, and conducted highly successful outreach for the state's Medicare Savings Programs (QMB, SLMB and ALMB).

Prior to state service, Jocelyne was a social worker with the Town of Windsor and also coordinated town recovery efforts following a major tornado that struck in October 1979.  In her early career she also worked in children's protective services.

Jocelyne is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Connecticut.


ALFRED J. CHIPLIN, JR., JD, M. Div. - MANAGING ATTORNEY

Alfred J. Chiplin, Jr. is a Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in its Washington, DC office. His practice is devoted primarily to health care matters, with a concentration on Medicare and managed care coverage and appeal issues. He is also a specialist in legal assistance development and services under the Older Americans Act. Mr. Chiplin served as a consulting attorney with the Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care and, for over 10 years, as a staff attorney for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, where he focused on the Medicare program and on developments in managed care. He also coordinated Older Americans Act programs for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, including planning and developing the annual Joint Conference on Law and Aging (JCLA). He currently serves on the planning committee for the annual National Aging and Law Conference.  Mr. Chiplin is the immediate past chair of the Public Advisory Group (PAG) of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of health care Organizations (JCAHO).  Along with Judith A. Stein, Mr. Chiplin is co-editor-in-chief of the Medicare Handbook (Aspen Publishers, Inc., updated annually).

Mr. Chiplin received his J.D. degree from the George Washington University and his M. Div. from Harvard University, and his M. Div. is from Harvard University.  He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a former member of its board of directors, including its executive committee.  He is also a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), and served on its "Medicare and Markets" study panel.


VICKI GOTTLICH, JD, LLM - SENIOR POLICY ATTORNEY

Vicki Gottlich is an attorney in the Washington, DC office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. where she provides legal assistance, research, consultation, and litigation support regarding Medicare and employer-sponsored health benefits. Prior to joining the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Ms. Gottlich was a staff attorney for the National Senior Citizens Law Center. She conducts seminars and workshops regarding Medicare and other health-related issues for such organizations as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, the national Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Clearinghouse Review and the NAELA News.

Ms. Gottlich received her J.D. degree from New York University School of Law and her L.L.M. degree from George Washington University.


TOBY S. EDELMAN, Ed. M., JD - SENIOR POLICY ATTORNEY

Toby S. Edelman is an attorney in the Washington, DC office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. She has advocated on behalf of nursing home residents since 1977. From 1977 through 1999, she was a staff attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Washington, DC, where she was involved in the development and drafting of the Nursing Home Reform Law that was enacted by Congress in December 1987. Active in the law's implementation, she represented residents in a variety of task forces and workshops convened by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to address enforcement of federal standards for nursing facilities.

Ms. Edelman was the lead attorney for plaintiffs in Valdivia v. California Department of Health Services, in which a statewide class of nursing facilities residents successfully challenged California's refusal to implement the federal nursing home reform law. From 1977-1998, she coordinated a study, supported by the Commonwealth Fund of New York, regarding implementation of the Nursing Home Reform Law. Since 1999, she has written a monthly newsletter on nursing home enforcement issues. Ms. Edelman is a member of the Board of Directors of the Assisted Living Consumer Alliance. She received a B.A. from Barnard College, Magna cum Laude, an Ed. M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.


PATRICIA NEMORE, JD - SENIOR POLICY ATTORNEY

Patricia Nemore is an attorney in the Washington, DC office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  Ms. Nemore has been an advocate for older people and people with disabilities seeking health care for nearly thirty years. Her practice has focused on Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care, with special emphasis on issues of importance to those dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  Ms. Nemore's recent work focuses on issues affecting low-income Medicare beneficiaries in the Medicare Act of 2003 and on ongoing issues of state implementation of Medicare Savings Programs. With two other Center staffers, she has recently published a report for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation examining state Medicaid eligibility rules and processes for Medicare Savings Programs and their relationship to the Medicare Part D low income subsidy. Ms. Nemore's past work includes two reports, both supported by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, on variations in state Medicaid practices relating to the Medicare Savings Programs.

Ms. Nemore has engaged in individual advocacy, class action litigation and legislative and administrative advocacy at the national level.   Before coming to the Center for Medicare Advocacy in January 2000, she spent twenty years at the National Senior Citizens Law Center, a legal services back-up center.  She graduated from the Columbus School of Law of the Catholic University of America.


LARRY GLATZ - DATA PROJECT DIRECTOR

Larry Glatz is the Center's Data Project Director. He is responsible for all of the organization's information management systems. He designed and implemented the Center's Medicare appeal and case tracking program. Mr. Glatz serves as the Center's liaison with contracting entities regarding data and reporting and assists in the development and implementation of case selection criteria for the organization's Medicare optimization projects. He works with Medicaid agencies, fiscal intermediaries, and provider personnel to develop and implement systematized appeal and data sharing protocols. He has assisted in fact development and provided expert testimony in a number of class-action cases. Mr. Glatz received a Master's Degree in Education from Harvard University and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.


LISA HALL - DATA PROJECT MANAGER

Lisa Hall joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Data Unit in 1991 to temporarily assist with a large mailing project.  Soon after, she was hired as the Center’s third, full-time, Data Unit staff member.   With the rapid increase in staff at the Data Unit shortly thereafter, Ms. Hall’s position developed into that of Entitlement Analyst/Manager which entailed training, managing and supervising other staffMs. Hall continued in that position until 2006 when she became the Assistant Project Manager and simultaneously assumed a large part of the responsibility of computer systems management, acting as a key technical resource for other staff members.  Effective July 1, 2008, she became the Data Project Manager.   In this position she is responsible for the day-to-day operations and supervision of the Center's Data Unit and its ongoing relations with home health providers, federal Medicare contractors and state Medicaid third party liability offices and their agents.

Ms. Hall attended the University of Maine.  Prior to joining the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s staff, she worked as an administrative assistant to the Executive Director at Landmark Human Resources, a non-profit adult daycare facility and workshop for physically and mentally challenged adults.


WEY-WEY KWOK, JD - ATTORNEY

Wey-Wey Kwok has been a staff attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy since 2002. She represents Medicare beneficiaries in appealing coverage denials of home health and skilled nursing facility care. Previously, Ms. Kwok worked as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Hilo, Hawaii, specializing in family law, public benefits, and domestic and elder abuse. As a project attorney for the AARP Foundation's National Training Project, she designed and delivered materials and training on elder law for aging advocates across the country.

Ms. Kwok graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1991 and received her law degree in 1996 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar.


SALLY HART, JD, MBT, LLM - SENIOR POLICY & LITIGATION ATTORNEY

Sally Hart is consulting counsel to the Center For Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in Willimantic, Connecticut, and is located in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from Stanford University and Boston University School of Law (cum laude), and received a Masters in Business Taxation from U.S.C. Ms. Hart specializes in public health benefits law, particularly the problems encountered by elderly and low income persons in obtaining Medicare and Medicaid benefits. She has represented beneficiaries in numerous class action lawsuits that expanded their rights to procedural protections when health services are denied. She was lead counsel in Grijalva v. Shalala, 152 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 1998), cert.granted, vacated and remanded, 119 S.Ct. 1573 (U.S. May 3, 1999), judgment vacated and remanded, 185 F.3d 1075 (9th Cir. Sept. 1, 1999), settlement approved, CIV 93-711 TUC ACM (D.Ariz. Dec. 5, 2000), which expanded appeal protections for Medicare HMO enrollees across the country. More recently she represented the Arizona class plaintiffs in Ball v. Rodgers, 492 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2007), which recognized the right of HCBS recipients to sue the State Medicaid agency to obtain timely and reliable home care services.


Marion Platt – Member, Board of Directors

Marion Platt has served on the board of The Center for Medicare Advocacy since its inception in 1986.

Ms. Platt has been an advocate for special education services for over thirty-five years serving preschoolers through adults in Connecticut and Illinois as a teacher, administrator, professional development coordinator and consultant.  Areas of expertise include special education law and programming for students on the autism spectrum.  In the 1990s she received a Fulbright Scholarship to live and work in Russia to develop special education programming in concert with technological advances. Ms. Platt has been instrumental in the development of public school programming for minority populations including specialized training and services for medically fragile/technologically dependent children, pre-kindergarten through age twenty-one students on the autism spectrum and, most recently, transitional programming for students returning to public school subsequent to a  prolonged psychiatric or medical hospitalization.

Ms. Platt received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and education, cum laude, Masters in special education and Sixth Year degree in educational leadership and administration, magna cum laude, from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on program design and evaluation.  Ms. Platt is a life-long member of many special education organizations including the Council for Exceptional Children.
 



Patrick Proctor – Treasurer,  Board of Directors

 

Patrick Proctor, a recently-retired career educator, is an Education Consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) working with high-need school districts in the Education Commissioner’s new initiative for Accountability and School Improvement. 

 

For the past 17 years, Dr. Proctor has served as School Superintendent in the Windham Public Schools in northeastern Connecticut, and in the Wethersfield Public Schools, one of Hartford’s first-ring school districts.  Prior to this work, Dr. Proctor served as Assistant Superintendent in Windham; Director of the State Title I Program and Coordinator of the School Effectiveness Program at CSDE; Coordinator and Instructor for the Center for Urban Education-Teacher Education Program at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst); and English Teacher and Department Chair at Anacostia High School in Washington D.C.

 

Over his 41-year career in education, Dr. Proctor’s primary focus has been on leading schools and districts toward creation of the organizational and teaching/learning conditions necessary to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children and families, particularly those most deeply impacted by poverty and racial/cultural isolation.

 

In addition to his service as on the Center for Medicare Advocacy Board, Dr. Proctor has been an active volunteer in a variety of professional and community organizations, including the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (President); Connecticut Association of Urban Superintendents (Chairperson); Northeast Superintendents’ Leadership Council (Co-Chair); Regional Educational Lab at Brown University (Board Member); and The Connecticut Children’s Law Center (Board Member).

 

Dr. Proctor received a B.A from Rutgers University, an M.Ed. from the University of Maryland, and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts.  He has served on the Center’s Board since 1995.


Constance I. Neal – SecretarY, BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

Connie Neal has been a member of the Center for Medicare Advocacy board of directors since 1986.  She is currently serving as Secretary.  Ms. Neal has served on several boards throughout the years, including those of Windham Memorial Community Hospital, Mt. Hope Montessori School, and Altrusa International, Inc. of Northeastern Connecticut, an association of professional women and men who volunteer their energies and expertise in projects dedicated to community betterment.  Ms. Neal was President of the Foundation Board for Altrusa.

Ms. Neal attended the University of Hartford.  She has been a Marketing representative for the New York Telephone Company, Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotion for American Express Travel and Leisure, and Director of Personnel for the Commissioner of Public Services of Springfield, Illinois.  For the past 30 years, she has co-owned Smith-Keon Jewelers with her husband Bill, with whom she also raised two sons.

 


KEITH BRADOC (BRAD) GALLANT, ESQ. – MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Attorney Brad Gallant is a Partner in the law firm of Day Pitney LLP. His practice includes traditional trust and estate planning and administration, special needs and disabilities planning, planning for same-sex couples and their families, planning for incapacity, and all types of probate litigation.

Mr. Gallant is the immediate past Chair of the Estates & Probate Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and serves on the executive committee of the CBA's Elder Law Section. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Life Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. Since 2005, Brad has been designated by Worth magazine as one of the top 100 lawyers in the United States serving individual clients. In 2006 he was named one of "the top ten" of all Connecticut lawyers by Connecticut Magazine.

Mr. Gallant has litigated a wide variety of matters in probate and appellate courts, including lost wills, paternity disputes, will and trust constructions, contested conservatorships and accountings, and undue influence cases. He has appeared on behalf of clients in more than seventy-five probate courts as well as numerous Connecticut and federal trial and appellate courts. He was lead counsel for the amicus curiae in the landmark Connecticut Supreme Court case, Department of Social Services v. Saunders.

Mr. Gallant volunteers with numerous organizations that provide services to persons with special needs. In 1994 the Connecticut Probate Courts recognized his advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities by naming him "Citizen of the Year."

Brad Gallant received a B.A., with Honors, and an M.A. from Cambridge University, England, where he was a member of Pembroke College. He received a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Connecticut School of Law and an LL.M. from the University of London.

Brad Gallant has served on the Center for Medicare Advocacy Board since 2006.
 


BESS BREWER, ESQ. - President, BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Attorney Bess Brewer is a sole practitioner in Sacramento, California.  Her practice is devoted to litigating Social Security Disability cases at the federal court level.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Brewer was Directing Attorney for Northern California Lawyers for Civil Justice (NCLCJ), a staff attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) in Los Angeles, and the Executive Director of the Medicare Advocacy Project, Inc. (MAP, now known as The Center For Health Care Rights), a non-profit advocacy organization in Los Angeles specializing in Medicare, Medi-Cal, and related health issues.

 

Ms. Brewer received her J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law and her B.A. from Hampton University.

 

 

 


RAJIV NAGAICH, ESQ

 

Faced with the specter of caring for a family member suffering the ravages of Alzheimer’s, Mr. Nagaich left the management ranks of Allstate Insurance to pursue a law degree, with the goal of understanding how our legal system responds to the needs of the incapacitated elderly.  Out of this experience and legal education, he has developed a holistic legal practice focused on elder law and elder care issues that involve legal, financial and care coordination disciplines.

 

Mr. Nagaich a past president of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, a national organization that promotes the holistic approach of combining the legal and health care fields in addressing the care needs of incapacitated and frail individuals.  Mr. Nagaich serves on the board of both the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and is a member of the Elder Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association.  Mr. Nagaich holds memberships with the King County Bar Association, the Pierce County Bar Association and the Southwest King County Bar Association.  He has been an adjunct professor at Seattle University.  Mr. Nagaich is a board member of Washington Elder Care, a nonprofit organization he helped create that serves the needs of the elderly in the area. He hosts a weekly call-in radio show that airs each Saturday on KTTH, AM 770, where elder law and elder care issues are discussed.  At a civic level, Mr. Nagaich is an active member of the Rotary Club of Federal Way, where he serves on the board and has led international projects helping the needy. 

 

 
 


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