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Peck v. Ohio Department of Job & Family Services

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Geauga

June 18, 2018

EVELYN PECK c/o LEGACY HEALTH SERVICES d.b.a. MAPLEVIEW COUNTRY VILLA, Appellant,
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF JOB & FAMILY SERVICES, Appellee.

          Administrative Appeal from the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2017A000359.

          Jennifer Ann Coy, sb2, Inc., (For Appellant).

          Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Rebecca L Thomas, Assistant Attorney General, (For Appellee).

          OPINION

          DIANE V. GRENDELL, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Evelyn Peck c/o Legacy Health Services d/b/a Mapleview Country Villa, appeals the dismissal of its appeal of an administrative appeal decision by the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas. The issues before this court are whether a reviewing court may amend a notice of appeal after the dismissal of the appeal and whether a nursing facility may seek an undue hardship exemption as an authorized representative on behalf of a client in the absence of express authorization to initiate such a proceeding. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the court below.

         {¶2} On May 4, 2017, Legacy Health Services d/b/a Mapleview Country Villa filed a Notice of Appeal to Court of Common Pleas, providing as follows:

Pursuant to R.C. § 5101.35(E) and R.C. § 119.12, notice is hereby given that Legacy Health Services d/b/a Mapleview Country Villa (hereinafter "Mapleview"), on behalf of Evelyn Peck, as her Designated Authorized Representative, by and through its undersigned counsel, hereby appeals the ODJFS Bureau of State Hearings' April 18, 2017 Administrative Appeal Decision, Appeal No. 4174041, to the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas.

         The Notice was filed by Jennifer A. Coy of the law firm sb2 inc.

         {¶3} The Administrative Appeal Decision, rendered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, provides the relevant factual background:

[Evelyn Peck] is 103 years old and in a nursing facility (NF). [Her] son is her Power of Attorney and authorized representative (AR). An application for long term care facility (LTCF) benefits was made by the son on July 25, 2016. The application/verification process was completed by [Evelyn's] son. The application was approved with an RMCP [restricted Medicaid coverage period] from September 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017 and a partial for February 2017. * * * The RMCP resulted from an improper transfer of $34, 000 as a result of [Evelyn's] son writing checks out of his mother's account for that total.
On December 7, 2016, the NF issued a 30-day discharge notice to [Evelyn] and the AR. * * * The discharge was not appealed through the Department of Health. On December 21, 2016, a written request for an undue hardship exemption was submitted by the NF. * * *
The Agency denied that hardship request on January 13, 2017 on the grounds that [Evelyn] was not in jeopardy of being denied basic needs due to not exhausting all legal remedies and appeals to challenge the planned discharge or to recover transferred assets. * * *
Having reviewed the record and decision, we must agree with the decision that the requirement of the rule[1] is plain and [Evelyn] did not comply.

         {¶4} On June 26, 2017, Job and Family Services filed a Motion to Dismiss for the following reason: "The Court lacks jurisdiction because Legacy Health Services d/b/a Mapleview Country Villa is not the real party in interest and lacks standing to prosecute this appeal on Ms. Peck's behalf."

         {¶5} On July 5, 2017, Attorney Coy, on behalf of Peck c/o Mapleview filed a Motion in Opposition to Appellee's Motion to Dismiss, contending that Mapleview had standing to bring the appeal as Peck's authorized representative: "Prior to her admission [to Mapleview Country Villa], Ms. Peck designated Mark Ross as her Power of Attorney. * * * Mark Ross, in turn, executed a Designation of Authorized Representative form on November 2, 2016 which designated Sharon Robinette of Mapleview to serve as Ms. Peck's authorized representative. * * * Sharon Robinette of Mapleview retained sb2 inc. as legal counsel to represent Ms. Peck and appeal GDJFS' denial of the Undue Hardship Exemption request."

         {¶6} On July 11, 2017, the trial court on its own motion advised the parties that ...


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