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Can nursing homes sue friends and relatives of residents to collect debts?

by | Oct 31, 2022 | Firm News

When you have a loved one in long-term care, it comes with very high costs.

According to a Cost of Care Survey 2020 by Genworth Financial, the national annual median cost ranges from approximately $19,240 for health services and $106,000 for a private room. Considering that people typically have to cover the costs themselves, it opens the door for facilities to use debatable tactics to recoup financial losses.

Can nursing homes legally sue?

As a third party, federal law prohibits a facility from requiring you to agree to a financial guarantee. Medicare and Medicaid policies also include similar restrictions. These laws mean that even though you may sign an agreement as your loved one’s agent to use their resources to make payments, you personally do not take on any of the financial liability.

How can I avoid a lawsuit?

Unfortunately, some facilities try and find ways to work around these laws. While avoiding any liability has no guarantee, planning ahead and reading the fine print may help you avoid it. Before signing any documents, read them thoroughly. If you see anything regarding an arbitration cause or that implies you will take on any care costs, you should request a new contract to sign. Additionally, ensure you clearly spell out your role, such as power of attorney. When it comes to planning, take the time to properly calculate assets and all potential costs.

Making the move to a long-term care facility comes with many challenges. Understanding all the financial elements makes it easier to navigate any unforeseen changes.