It is always a good idea to consult with a local San Jose elder law attorney before you enter into a contract with a nursing home. This is not to imply that there is generally any unscrupulous intent. It is simply a matter of knowing exactly what you are signing.
With the above in mind, there was recently a relevant court case (Cook Willow Health Center v. Judy Andrien) decided in the state of Connecticut. A nursing home was seeking compensation for an unpaid balance, and they cited an agreement that was entered into by the daughter of the resident that incurred the expenses.
In this agreement the daughter in question, Judy Andrien, allegedly agreed to take steps to arrange for her mother’s Medicaid eligibility or do what was necessary to pay the expenses via utilization of her mother’s funds.
Ms. Andrien countered by citing a law that does not allow nursing homes to require a third-party to guarantee payment before they will admit someone seeking care.
After the court examined the document, they found that the nursing home was in the right. The verbiage was not construed as a required third-party guarantee; rather, the court found that it was an agreement that was voluntarily entered into and not something that was mandatory.
The average cost for a year in a private room in a nursing home in the United States is well in excess of $80,000, and here in northern California it is higher than that.
Clearly, with that kind of money at stake it is a good idea to speak with an attorney before signing a nursing home contract so that you know exactly what is expected of you before you enter into the agreement.
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