Hi all,
Where do I start? My mom is in an assisted living place in WI. Old contract says need for care services checked every 3 months, and both parties sign off on changes. Place bought out in July. November we get letter that rent increases 6%, and letter specified new rent amount. January bill includes new rate PLUS new notice, no sign-off meeting, no new contract reflecting new owner's plan & fee schedule. Nothing. Needless to say I'm annoyed. She is quite independent and only gets help with keeping track of meds. She was on $0 for services before, and now $800, $400 each for care and meds level 1. I don't think we should be charged anything for this preceding signing a new contract. Do I have any standing here? What can I do?

Start shopping around. Voting with your feet and wallet is the most potent thing you can do. They've served notice on what kind of managers they're going to be so it's on you if you stay for the further disrespect. I know it is not easy to move and leave all things established and familiar (so I'm not being flippant in saying it), but it will only get worse from here if you stay.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Geaton777

Let me guess...........a corporate chain like Brookdale bought out your mom's ALF? That's what happened in my folks' place and all hell broke loose. They raised ALL the rates on ALL the services immediately and kept looking for more and more add on's each and every month so we got to the point where the bill had gone up $2K a month for NOTHING. I moved them OUT of there and into a much better AL that is privately owned and much LESS expensive. No nonsense, no hidden fees, no incorrect bills, no corporate headquarters to deal with every month about ongoing issues that were never addressed, etc. The new AL does raise the rates once a year by about 3%, but that's standard across the industry.

You have no 'rights', that's laughable when others suggest you do. Your only 'right' is to say ENOUGH BS and move your mother OUT of there and into a privately owned AL where $$$$ isn't their #1 priority. They do exist. You just have to look for them and search them out.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1
igloo572 Feb 8, 2021
Brookdale is the devil,
I bet the new owners had some sort of resident meetings in Aug / Sept to verbally let residents know that changes were coming and in theory - rotflmao - get input from residents. It was probably posted in common areas that this was happening so totally provides new owners a CYA that residents “knew”. So now you have no recourse except to do what Geaton and others have said...... she moves out and you make sure she does whatever to have it be ok & within the 30 or 60 day notice as per her contract. Otherwise they will Bill her /you for what they think they can get away with.

The Nov letter informed y’all that it was coming so you had 60 days to evaluate and within time to send a letter notifying them mom was moving out.

Do you want to hard ball it and move mom ASAP and basically tell them to Foff & they are not getting paid? To me this depends on if there are 1. ooodles of other choices for mom to move into that can do her level of care easily and 2. IF mom is kinda judgement proof and 3. you personally did not sign off any financial responsibility AND 4. you have all paperwork from moms stay that shows this is the case. The AL will turn it over to collections eventually and that’s very much manageable - although not fun -if your an organized Pitt bullie personality and mom will let you take over dealing with all this. But if she’s gonna be all fretful & fearful, Personally I wouldn’t. I’d find a place, do the required notice to the old AL and move her.

AL, as most are totally private pay and without the strict staffing requirements of skilled nursing care, are real profit centers for the elder care industry. The big chains lowball the monthly rent but invariably have “add on’s” that can increase rent by 50%. AL make serious $ at least cost.

Because of this, my experience is that AL will do whatever to keep a resident from moving into a NH & possibly/ probably onto LTC Medicaid. My mom went into IL in a tiered place that went from IL to AL to NH & w a hospice wing. When she started having issues in her mid 90’s (Lewy), I wanted to have her go into NH section. They fought it big time, insisting she was AL and not wanting outside medical review input or needs assessment done. Her gerontologist - not affiliated with the place - told me it made more sense for her to go into NH as at her age, she was going to end up in skilled care in her near future, so why do a AL move now only to have to do a NH move later. Long story short, mom went into a NH at another facility. She did the jump to hyperspace from IL to NH bypassing AL or MC and applied for LTC Medicaid. It took abt 4 mos of every 3-5 weeks for her seeing her gerontologist to firm up her health care chart to clearly show “at need” for skilled nursing care. On retrospect it’s kinda unusual to get this done. But it can be done. If your mom is up in age & possibly could at all meet the criteria for MC or NH and if her finances are such that she will run out of $ kinda soon, I’d encourage you to see if you can get her into MC or NH that takes Medicaid now as a private pay resident and then she segueways into LTC Medicaid whether $ runs out. Entering as private pay has lots more latitude as to what their condition needs to be.
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Reply to igloo572
jacobsonbob Feb 10, 2021
If there was a notification letter posted, it was probably in fine print, and placed somewhere that was unlikely to be noticed by the residents and their families, such as on the back of some door that opens from the other direction, or on the employee bulletin board along with 20 other documents having no relevance to the residents (or maybe under the lid of the toilet water tank!).

I used to joke that "USA" stands for "U Screw All"--meaning that so many businesses seem to seek ways to deceive and mislead people while (usually) technically obeying the laws--sort of a "heads we win, tails you lose" mentality. Even the grocery stories have signs that say "79 cents" in large figures with "per lb." in the tiniest print. It's "how can we make you think you are getting something you aren't, or how can we trick you into paying more than you expected while getting less for your money?" "How can we smile at you and tell you 'customers are our HIGHEST priority!' while stabbing you in the back?" "How can we sneak in some little fees or service charges, or force you to buy an overpriced 'package' including services or items you don't need and might actually dislike so you can get the one thing you actually want?" "Why are you surprised that your rental car bill is $200 even if what you ordered only showed $85?" "Even if you try to fight us legally, it will cost you more than you will recover, so 'tough luck' "

Sorry for this rant, as I'm sure people in other countries face similar issues--what do others encounter?
There's an interesting issue here in terms of asset acquisition, which the sale of an AL facility would constitute.   The purchaser has acquired not only the physical assets of the facility, but also acquired the "customers".

I haven't worked on many asset acquisitions with "customers", but I have a vague recollection of one transaction back in the 1970s.   The seller had to notify all clients/customers of the transaction.  I don't recall whether or not the clients had any say-so though.

I'm guessing that you or your mother didn't get any prior notice of the sale so that you could make decisions then?

In terms of standing, I'm thinking that there's a possibility (probably remoted) that the old contract with the good firm might have provisions of notification before sale, but that's just a guess.   You could demand documentation for the new owner's right to make such changes, but I suspect the contract has some "weasel words" allowing the new owner to make changes w/o notification.

However, I don't think it would be prudent to waste time and money dealing with a new owner with such offensive tactics and lack of client focus.

I'd agree with Geaton: find another place.   And when your mother is safely gone, do some research on the new owner, find out if it's part of a chain, or held by an LLC, and notify them how they lost a good paying customer b/c of their insensitivity and irresponsibility.
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Reply to GardenArtist
Geaton777 Feb 7, 2021
March of 2020 (yes, the month we all were introduced to covid shut-downs) my business office landlord informed us they sold our building. We had been tenants since 1989. The new landlords were not acquiring any of the tenants, as they sent out new rent agreements and everyone could decide to stay or vote with their feet. Due to covid the vast majority of the tenants fled even before the new lease agreement came out. We were able to negotiate a new, downsized space for a fair amount. But we had free-will to leave. Tenants were angry that their worlds were further messed up by this change, but they were still in control of their situation. Nothing stays the same for long, or forever. The OP may want to hint that they are seeking other resident options but just keep in mind there is a shortage of facilities (at least where I am) and this may not be leverage.
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Check your local laws by checking with an attorney who specializes in elder care. There may be laws in your state specifically regulating senior care communities. You should know your rights.
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Reply to MaddieMae
gdaughter Feb 10, 2021
and should that be unaffordable, try the long term care ombudsman's office. Maybe a consumer reporter at your local newspaper or TV station. The original contract is being violated and not upheld...someone should be held legally accountable imo. So I'd be preferrring a consult with a certified elder law attorney asap.
I only get a 30 day notice when fees are raised. I do have to sign off but cannot refuse. I expect increases every year at the same time. It is in the initial contract. With COVID this year her AL had increased costs to cleaning products, PPE and multiple COVID testing for staff and residents.
DO you know that a good portion of AL costs are tax deductable?
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Reply to MACinCT

I suggest you call your State's Regulatory Agency, which has oversight for long-term care communities. In Missouri, it is the Department of Health and Senior Services. Ask what the process is for instituting new policies in long-term care communities. I know they have to give a 30-day notice in my state, and existing residents have to be "grandfathered in."

Typically, communities raise their rates once a year, but this sounds like it goes beyond the average rate increase.

When you speak with the State, be sure and let them know that you received no notice and your mom is independent with her ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and only requires having her medication administrated. Also, let them know that you were always notified before this new administration and had to sign off when there was a price increase due to your loved one needed additional services, which was not done.

Remember, a community has to justify a charge, or they cannot charge it. If your mom is charged for a service that she does not use, you can challenge that charge and remove it from her bill. For the next few months, I would request an itemized bill, which they should provide. This will show a detailed listing of everything they charge for the month.

Let us know how this turns out.
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Reply to cjwilson

We sold assisted living and SNF in Dec. New owners immediately raised rent for 2021. We told clients that new owners would probably increase. Some tried to sue and some went to nursing home registry. All were unsuccessful.
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Reply to Bridger46164
gdaughter Feb 10, 2021
sue who? Old or new owners? In being legally naive I would think the contract was with the old owners and the new would have taken on the obligations of that contract.
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They know that you have no recourse because it is expensive to move your family member to another facility and the change very disruptive to they know the majority of residents are just going to pay it.

It sucks but other than moving, there is nothing you can really do.  I would definitely set up a meeting with them to discuss the changes and your dissatisfaction with how they are handling the takeover.  That way you are totally aware of what is going to take place.  I would also ask them when and how they evaluated your mom to make the call about her care.

At my moms place, the monthly rent includes her apartment and her meals.  Outside of that, everything is extra.
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Reply to Jamesj

I feel your pain. every year, my mom's place goes up. However, they are open to negotiation. I ask them to meet me 1/2 way on the new charges, and they do. Your point about the contract is interesting - many services covered under contract fell off this year due to Covid, especially social / emotional care, as residents in my mom's place were isolated to their rooms.
Prior to your negotiation, sit back and make a list of items that were expected under contract yet not delivered. Inquire as to whether a refund might be issued. If not, then move right into the increase in fees and ask how that is justified if past services weren't received. Of course do this all very nicely, in nice warm tones and with a smile :) - I've found this to be the best tool in getting needs met.
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Reply to WendyM

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