Woman cries foul against nursing home, attorney

Sue Ann Alvarez recently admitted her 66-year-old father Rafael Alvarez, to Retama Manor Nursing Home in Harlingen, since she said her father suffers from several health issues, such as kidney and liver failure, and would not be safe at home.

"He was admitted in the hospital on the 26th of April of this year, because he kept falling and he fractured some ribs," she said.

Alvarez said she ran into financial troubles when Medicare would only cover her dad's stay at the nursing home for 20 days, and he didn't qualify for Medicaid based on income.

She turned to a La Feria attorney to help her file for the Medicaid assistance she needs.

Attorney David Vogel allegedly directed her to liquidate her father's assets in order to begin the Medicaid application process.

Alvarez claims he also asked for a $1,000 fee, and then she paid $4,000 more for work he said was never done.

"I started balling because I owe all this money to the nursing home and I TMm under the assumption that he's doing something (about the application) - he did not do anything."

Vogel tells Action 4 News he can't comment on the case until he clears it with the state bar association due to client confidentiality laws.

Alvarez said she lost the money she paid Vogel and owes the nursing home about $11,000 dollars.

She said she TMs finally getting the help she needs for free from the Local Area on Aging, and wants others to know of the available resources before losing money to unnecessary legal services.

Retama Manor Nursing home administrators could not comment about the case due to privacy laws, but add that staff members do not make referrals.

They said staff can help fill out necessary paper work, but only when their customers follow the necessary procedures.

They add the nursing home has to abide state laws that can TMt be circumvented in any case.