In North Carolina, a young man named Freddie Lempke is slowly trying to recover from severe brain and spinal cord injuries suffered during a car accident in March of 2011. To make the situation more difficult, the hospital, WakeMed, which has been caring for Freddie, has now filed to become Freddie’s legal Guardian.
The problem is that Freddie already has a Guardian, his father. Medicaid has been reimbursing the WakeMed Hospital for Freddie’s care, and now, the hospital is claiming that Mr. Lempke failed to renew Freddie’s application for Medicaid. The constant care and treatments are expensive, with those costs reaching nearly $2,000,000.00 in 2011 alone. WakeMed’s official statement claims the intent of the guardianship request is only to secure the Medicaid coverage for Freddie as the hospital does not believe Mr. Lempke is capable of completing all of the paperwork necessary to restore Freddie’s Medicaid coverage.
It appears WakeMed’s request to become Freddie’s Guardian is done in good faith and to benefit Freddie. However, if the request is granted, the hospital not Freddie’s father will be making decisions for Freddie’s long and short term care. As many would imagine, this possibility upsets Mr. Lempke greatly. He describes the process as a “nightmare.” The Court ruled in favor of Mr. Lempke allowing him until July 25, 2012 to file all of the necessary paperwork to secure his son’s Medicaid funding.
The Guardianship process is very intensive, and the Guardian must commit a great deal of time and resources to the process. The Guardian has extensive duties and is responsible for making all medical and financial decisions for their Ward. Any individual appointed as the Guardian should not take on the responsibilities without the help of an experienced attorney.
If you or someone you know has questions about the Guardianship process please contact Ford + Mathiason LLP today.