Beware Unfair Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices
A nursing home cannot require a third party (such as an adult child, or friend) to guarantee payment of nursing home bills, as a condition of admission or continued stay at the facility. Despite this rule, nursing home form contracts often include boilerplate provisions requiring third party guaranties and signature by a “responsible party.”
The patient should be the only person to sign the nursing home contracts. If you are signing in your capacity as guardian or agent under a power of attorney because your loved one does not have the capacity to sign, always indicate that next to your signature. So you would sign your signature and next to it you would write, “as power of attorney,” or “as guardian.” This means that you are obligated to pay the bill from the patients assets, not from your own.
It can be important to consult an elder law attorney regarding your obligations to a nursing home. At Townsend Allala, Coulter, & Kludt, PLLC, we make sure that nursing homes get paid appropriately and that our clients are treated fairly.