Chamber Calendar Open!

BREAKING NEWS: The Hammond Chamber’s 2009 Calendar is OPEN!

After Hours is the 3rd Thursday of every month. Cost is $400 + food & entertainment.
Ham’nd Eggs is the 1st Wednesday of every month. Cost is $300 + food & entertainment.

If you are interested in hosting one of these events, please send your request via fax (345-4749) or email ( with the month and event you would like to sponsor. Requests MUST be in writing.
Available on a first come/first serve basis.

Community & Business Expo 2008

Community & Business Expo has a new date…
October 9th!
from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
featuring “A Taste of Hammond” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available for $5 at the Hammond Chamber of Commerce and may be purchased at the door.
Southeastern University Center
For Expo participants: Booth set-up for the Expo will take place on Wednesday, October 8, 2008
From 3-6 p.m. Set-up MUST be completed by 6:00 p.m.
Due to the storm, we have a few available booths. Sign-up today! They are first come, first serve. Call the Hammond Chamber of Commerce at 985.345.4457 for more info

Fairway Medical Center Recognized for Excellence

Fairway Medical Center’s Bariatric Center of Excellence recognized by the Joint Commission and the BlueCross Blue Shield Quality Recognition Program
COVINGTON-- Fairway Medical Center is pleased to announce that on September 1, the Joint Commission recognized Fairway’s bariatric center of excellence by awarding a “Merit Badge” under the “Special Quality Awards” category on their Quality Check Web site.

Fairway is one of only a few surgical hospitals in Louisiana to meet the levels of efficacy, efficiency and safety required for this nationally recognized designation.

The merit badge recognizes achievement by a health care organization that goes above and beyond accreditation. The Joint Commission Quality Check Web site is one tool that patients, health plans, employers and other organizations can use to evaluate quality.

Fairway’s Bariatric Center of Excellence was also recognized by the BlueCross BlueShield Quality Recognition Program, which recognizes quality initiatives throughout the United States. BlueCross BlueShield recognized the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (BSCOE) designations through its website with placement of the ASMBS BSCOE seal next to all hospitals that have achieved this designation.

Because of its demanding standard and record of success, only ASMBS Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence or American College of Surgeons (ACS) Level One Centers of Excellence are facilities where Medicare provides coverage.

Fairway is a physician-owned hospital with 21 private, patient beds. As the only physician-owned, physician-managed hospital in the area, its success has been built on a high standard for patient care and attention to customer service. Fairway Medical earned the Gold Seal of Approval by The Joint Commission and is named a Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). For more information on Fairway Medical Center, call 985-809-9888 or visit

Fanfare Tickets on Sale!

Southeastern NEWS
■ Southeastern Louisiana University
Public Information Office
SLU 10880, Hammond, LA 70402
985-549-2341/fax 985-549-2061
■ Date: 9/12/08
Contact: Christina Chapple

HAMMOND – Tickets are now on sale for the 23rd season of Fanfare, Southeastern Louisiana University’s annual October arts festival, and the 2008-09 season of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Patrons can purchase tickets in person at the box office, located in the lobby of the theater at 220 E. Thomas St. or by phone at 985-543-4371. Tickets for events at the Columbia Theatre are available online at
Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and noon-4 p.m. on Thursday.
Tickets that can be purchased online and at the box office are:
▪ Missoula Children’s Theatre’s “Robinson Crusoe,” (Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 11, 2 p.m., Columbia), $14, adults; $12.50, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; $10.50, non-Southeastern students; $7, Southeastern students.
▪ Elisa Monte Dance (Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., Columbia Theatre), $35, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $29, Orchestra 2 and Balcony 1; $25, Balcony 2. (The event is also part of the Columbia 2008-09 season ticket package, so ticket availability may be limited.)
▪ Southeastern Wind Symphony’s “Radiant Joy!” (Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m., Columbia), $6, adults; $4, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; all students free with I.D.
▪ Robert Cray Band (Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m., Columbia), $46, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $41, Orchestra 2 and Balcony 1; $36, Balcony 2.
Tickets that can be purchased at the box office are:
▪ American Place Theatre’s “The Kite Runner,” (Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., Vonnie Borden Theatre), $12, adults; $10.50, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; $9, non-Southeastern students; Southeastern students free with I.D.

Hurricane Gustav Victims Qualify for IRS Disaster Relief

Hurricane Gustav Victims Qualify for IRS Disaster Relief

IR-2008-100, Sept. 3, 2008
• Updated Sept. 4 to add St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is providing tax relief to victims of Hurricane Gustav in affected areas of Louisiana.
The IRS is postponing until Jan. 5, 2009 deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. The postponement applies to return filing, tax payment and other time-sensitive acts otherwise due between Sept. 1, 2008 and Jan. 5, 2009. This includes:
• Individual estimated tax payments due Sept. 15, 2008.
• Corporate extended 1120 tax returns due Sept. 15, 2008.
• Individual extended 1040 tax returns due Oct. 15, 2008.
“As residents of Louisiana return to their homes following Hurricane Gustav, taxes are one thing they won’t need to worry about,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “This relief gives them extra time to get their lives in order before having to deal with their tax matters.”
In addition, the IRS will waive the failure to deposit penalties for employment and excise deposits due on or after Sept. 1, 2008 and on or before Sept. 16, 2008 as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 16, 2008.
Other provisions are listed in the Grant of Relief section below.
Taxpayers who reside in or have a business located in the following parishes qualify for the relief announced today: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
IRS computer systems automatically identify taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and apply automatic filing and payment relief. Affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request tax relief.
If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing or payment due date between Sept. 1, 2008 and Jan. 5, 2009.
Covered Disaster Area
The Louisiana parishes listed above constitute a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.
Affected Taxpayers
Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose books, records, or tax professionals’ offices are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area are eligible for relief.
Grant of Relief
Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until Jan. 5, 2009 to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns) or to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after Sept. 1, 2008 and on or before Jan. 5, 2009.
The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until Jan. 5, 2009 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2007-56, 2007-34 I.R.B. 388 (August 20, 2007) that are due to be performed on or after Sept. 1, 2008 and on or before Jan. 5, 2009. This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.
The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098 or 1099 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits. The IRS, however, will abate penalties for failure to make timely employment and excise deposits due on or after Sept. 1, 2008 and on or before Sept. 16, 2008 provided the taxpayer made these deposits by Sept. 16, 2008.
Casualty Losses
Affected taxpayers in a presidentially declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.
Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements but they must first subtract $100 for each casualty event and then subtract 10 percent of their adjusted gross income from their total casualty losses for the year. For details on figuring a casualty loss deduction, see IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts.
Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on last year’s return should put the Disaster Designation “Louisiana/Hurricane Gustav” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.
Free Return Copies and Transcripts
The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.
Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.
Taxpayers may download forms and publications from this Web site or order them by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.
Related Information
• Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses
• Recent IRS Disaster Relief Announcements

Medicaid Estate Planning Workshop

Medicaid Estate Planning Workshops

Free Workshop Seminars
September 12, 2008 at 10am
September 15, 2008 at 5pm
Hampton Inn Conference Room, Hammond

Please call 985-542-1351 for more information.
What you need to know about
Medicaid Planning

Get the help (and protection)
that you deserve
Though there are many complexities to Medicaid planning, it’s important to understand
this: Medicaid is there to help families like yours, and Medicaid planning is the best way of insuring that you receive the benefits to assure the protection of your hard-earned assets.
The first step in Medicaid planning is education. The more you know about how Medicaid works, the better you will be able to look out for the interests of your family.
Provided within is a brief look at some aspects of Medicaid law. For more detailed information, it’s best to consult with a qualified legal advisor. So think of this as a kind of introduction.
Let’s get started...
Things to remember
Medicaid planning can begin anytime, even if your loved one is already living in a skilled care facility. But the sooner you plan, the more options you will have to protect what’s important to you.
If you’re married, and you or your spouse needs to go into a nursing home, your home is exempt from Medicaid’s calculation of what your contribution to the cost of care should be. If you are unmarried or widowed and you go into a nursing home, your house may be exempt if you follow certain procedures. But planning is key to preserving your home.
Since major changes to laws in 2006, “gifting” away your assets creates unforeseen circumstances for years. Far from protecting yourself, you will be undermining your own security.
Congress has created a number of “safe harbor” provisions for protecting your assets. These exempt certain assets and allow transfers to children or siblings who meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as putting assets in certain kinds of trusts.
Applying too early can mean a longer wait for Medicaid qualification than necessary, while applying too late can mean having to pay for months of care you may not have had to.
Rule of thumb: Do not apply for Medicaid without a plan to ensure you qualify.
Medicaid planning is a complex matter. You need expert assistance to keep your assets safe. Be sure to find legal counsel who limits their practice to this area–someone with proven expertise in Medicaid law.
What are the rules
for Medicaid qualification?
Medicaid is a federal program that provides health coverage for people with limited assets and incomes. It covers the cost of nursing home care for those who meet the program’s economic requirements for eligibility.
Though it’s a federal program, Medicaid is administered by the states. Federal law empowers each state to enforce Medicaid eligibility rules according to its own interpretation. This means that application of these rules can vary significantly from state to state and, in some states, from county to county.
Your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification.
Generally speaking, assets fall into two categories: “countable” and “non-countable.”
To qualify for Medicaid benefits, a nursing home resident can have $2,000 in countable assets. The spouse of a nursing home resident, or “community spouse” can retain $104,400 (2008) of the couple’s joint countable assets. (These amounts are adjusted annually for inflation.)
Certain assets are not counted in arriving at this amount. They include:
All or part of applicant’s principal residence • (see “Some simple planning options”)
Personal possessions • (furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.)
One motor vehicle • (some limitations apply to unmarried people.)
Prepaid funeral plan for applicant, spouse or family members•
Life insurance • (up to a certain limit)
“Other assets” needed to raise the community spouse’s total income up to • the statutory minimum (see allowable income)
If you don’t own a home, you may purchase a “life estate” in a child’s or • other’s home.
A life estate is the right to live in a residence without owning it.•
What happens to a Medicaid recipient’s estate when he or she passes away? Like so much else, that depends on whether they have properly planned to protect it.
When a Medicaid recipient dies, the state must attempt to recover the benefits paid to that individual from his or her estate – that is a requirement under federal Medicaid law. However, the state cannot proceed with this recovery process if any of the following applies:
If the recipient’s spouse is still living•
If the recipient has a child under age 21•
If the recipient has a child who is blind or disabled•
Some states have expanded the scope of real estate assets from which they can recover the cost of a Medicaid recipient’s care. Trusts are often used to protect your assets both during your life and after your death. A qualified Medicaid Planning Attorney
can advise you on the many types of trusts available.
In addition, the state can place a lien on an unmarried Medicaid recipient’s home unless certain dependent relatives live on the premises or the state permits a “Homestead Exemption” (see “Some simple planning options”). Sale of the property while the recipient is still living could result in the loss of Medicaid coverage (due to excessive assets) and an obligation to use the sale proceeds to satisfy the lien.
There are exceptions to this rule, as well. Satisfaction of the lien is not required if the applicant returns home prior to their death or one or more of the following individuals reside on the property:
the recipient’s spouse•
a child under the age of 21•
a child who is blind or disabled•
a sibling with an equity interest in the home•
a child who cared for the recipient for the two
• years preceding his or her application for
Medicaid coverage
Note: The lien is solely for the purpose of recovering the cost of Medicaid care paid prior to the recipient’s
death. Consult your Medicaid planning advisor for more details.
How much income are you allowed under Medicaid law? There are different answers
for the “community spouse” and the spouse who resides in a nursing home.
Nursing home residents• can only keep $38 a month as a personal needs allowance
– the rest of their income must go to help cover the cost of their care.
If the resident is married, the • community spouse can keep $2,610 a month (in 2008) including income from nursing home spouse. Many states permit the community spouse to retain all of their individual income without limit.
If the resident has a • dependent child living at home with the community spouse, Medicaid may permit and additional allowance.
The asset transfer “box”
Many people believe that if you give your assets away, you must wait 36* months to qualify for Medicaid or 60* months if a trust was involved. This is not the case. The 60 month requirement only applies to the financial disclosure you must provide, not eligibility.
Think of it this way: When you go to apply for Medicaid, imagine you’re bringing a box with you. In that box is every financial transaction you’ve made for the previous 36* months. That is all you need to provide — if you made a transaction 37 months ago, it’s not in the box. So 36* months is just the size of the “box”. . . it’s that simple.
* The 2006 law expanded the box to 60 months for all transfers, but will be phased in from 2009 to 2011.
However, this has nothing to do with determining your qualification for Medicaid. It is what Medicaid sees in the “box” that determines whether you will qualify. If you make the proper planning decisions, you may qualify immediately even if the “box” contains information that might otherwise make you ineligible for Medicaid.
This 36 (or 60) month period is what is referred to as the Medicaid “look back period.” With appropriate planning and expert assistance, you can give yourself the best opportunity to qualify for Medicaid coverage when you need it.

a spouse•
a child who is blind or disabled•
trusts that solely benefit the applicant or applicant’s spouse•
trusts that benefit a blind or disabled child•
trusts that solely benefit a disabled person under the age of 65• (in some cases, the recipient)
Some Simple planning options
If you are married, your home is exempt and cannot be taken if one spouse • applies for Medicaid. If you are single or widowed, up to $500,000 of equity in your home is exempt (many states have raised the limit to $750,000). Some states permit a “Homestead Exemption” which protects a married or single applicant’s
home regardless of value. Transferring your home to your children will result in immediate ineligibility for Medicaid.
A nursing home or hospital that offers to file a Medicaid application for you has • no obligation (and often is unable to) advise you on how to protect your assets. Only a qualified Medicaid planning attorney can provide you with the options you need to make an informed decision.
Long-term care insurance should always be considered. An annual premium • for a couple is usually less expensive than one month of nursing home care, and when incorporated with proper planning it may also enable you to stay home if you become ill.
Special Needs
In 1993, Congress enacted new laws that entitle disabled individuals to get the same estate planning benefits as non-disabled individuals without affecting their eligibility for state or federal benefits. A Supplemental Needs Trust can be created by an individual with their own funds or be created by someone other than a disabled
individual, typically a parent or relative.
As a parent of a special needs child, you are the minor child’s “natural guardian” and can make all decisions regarding the child. However, your rights as guardian do not allow you to have access or control over your child’s assets. In addition, when your child turns 18, you lose your rights as natural guardian to make healthcare and other life decisions for them. To maintain these rights, you must commence a guardianship proceeding in Court or the state will have legal authority over your disabled loved one. To avoid losing your authority, you should contact a qualified attorney to begin a guardianship proceeding at least six months prior to your child’s 18th birthday.
Spousal protections
The spouses of nursing home residents are provided certain protections under Medicaid law. Here is a brief overview:
Snapshot of couple’s assets- • With married applicants Medicaid takes a
“snapshot” of the couple’s assets when the ill spouse enters a hospital or long term care facility for at least a 30-day stay.
Community spouse resource allowance- • This rule allows the community spouse to keep up to $104,400 (2008) of additional assets above and beyond
the non-countable assets. You may be permitted to keep assets above $104,400, if you meet certain criteria.
Minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance- • If the nursing home resident
is the principal breadwinner, and the community spouse does not have enough income to live on, the community spouse can keep some of or all of the nursing home spouse’s monthly income. The total amount the community spouse may retain is $2,610 (2008)
Contact us. We can help
The best advice we can give you is this: Start planning now. No one knows what the future will bring. The sooner you start preparing for your golden years, the fewer surprises there are likely to be. And a little planning now can make a big difference for you and your loved ones later on.
Contact us today for a consultation. We are glad to help.

Estate Planning Law Center of Southeast Louisiana
203 East Thomas Street
Hammond, LA 70401
Tel 985.542.4737 Fax 985.542.1354

Northshore SHRM Human Resources Forum

Thank you to all of Our Sponsors: 

Express Employment Professionals, Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, Concordia University, Wilkinson Seminars & presentations, Colonial Life and Lofton Staffing Services

The Northshore
Human Resources
Forum & Exposition
October 10, 2008
Greater Covington Center
Covington, LA
Northshore Region Human Resources
PO Box 2302
Slidell, LA 70459

Keynote Speakers
Opening Session with
Bruce Wilkinson, CSP
One Voice Leadership:
The Key to Long Term HR Success
(9:00 am—10:00 am)
Closing Session with
Marlaine Peachey
It Takes Two to Tango: Teamwork
(2:30 pm—3:30 pm)
Breakout Sessions
Track 1—Legal
10:15 am EEOC Charges & how to defend them,
David Korn, Esq. Phelps Dunbar
11:30 am OSHA Recordkeeping,
Calvin “Bud” Kline, The O’Brien’s Group
1:15 pm Recent Legal Developments Impacting HR,
Elvige Cassard, Esq. Daigle Fisse & Kessenich
Track 2—HR Development
10:15 am Diversity - Update,
Janika Polk, Esq. Abbott, Simmes, & Kuchler
11:30 am Emotional Intelligence & It’s Importance
to HR, Suzette Bryan, PhD, SPHR, Professor, SLU
1:15 pm Workforce Readiness in LA - Update,
Jim Heap, Louisiana Department of Labor
$150 for full day includes continental breakfast and
$135 for early registration, if payment received by
Wednesday, October 1, 2008.
Student Rate for conference is $70 with school id
To Register: Please tear off and return the form below.
Address: City: State: Zip Code:
Telephone: E-Mail:
Please choose one breakout session for each time period by placing a check in the appropriate blank:
10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Track 1- Legal _________ or Track 2 - HR ____Cost: $150.00 after October 1, 2008
11:30 - 12:30 p.m. Track 1- Legal _________ or Track 2 - HR ________ $135.00 early bird rate
1:15 - 2:15 p.m. Track 1- Legal _________ or Track 2 - HR ________ $70.00 student rate with school id
Mail completed pre-registration form and check to: NRHRA, P. O. Box 2302, Slidell, LA 70459 MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO NRHRA.
Fr iday, October 10, 2008
Regist rat ion & Cont inental
Breakfast Star t ing at 8:00 am
Program 8:30 am — 3:45 pm
Greater Covington Center
317 N. Jef ferson St
Covington, LA
Early Bird registration rate!
Mark your calendars and save the date!
Take advantage of the best forum rate and
register now before October 1, 2008.
HRCI CEU’s pending

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