Nursing Home Agreement Review

Placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility is never an easy process. First, there's the difficulty that comes with the reality of having to move your loved one out of the home. Then comes all the paperwork—the application, the entrance agreement, and the actual contract. These can be confusing and lengthy documents. But know that these documents were all designed to protect the facility in case there's an accident and, most often, to make sure someone pays the bill.

So who looks out for you in this process?

We do. If you're confused and want to know what your rights are, don't count on the facility to help you.

Do nursing homes put illegal provisions in their contracts?

Sometimes they do. They might not even know it. But if the facility accepts Medicaid as a pay source, the facility is heavily regulated in what it can do in its contracts.

Federal law prohibits
the facility from requesting or requiring a third party guarantee of payment to the facility as a condition of admission or expedited admission, or continued stay in the facility. But the facility is allowed request and require a resident representative (usually the agent under the financial power of attorney) who has legal access to a resident’s income or resources available to pay for facility care to sign a contract, without incurring personal financial liability, to provide facility payment from the resident’s income or resources.

Even so, we've had many clients tell us the facility requires this signature or that signature by other family members and that the admissions person says "it doesn't mean the family member's responsible to pay the bill."

But guess what? Regardless of what the admissions person says, the contract terms usually bind the co-signer's personally responsibility to pay the bill if it isn't paid. That responsibility could be thousands and thousands of dollars.

This is where our services come into play. We go through the contract and point out issues before anyone signs. We can explain what the terms mean and whether they're enforceable.