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Hi:
I live in Massachusetts was informed the other day that my 87 year old mother's nursing home care will no longer be covered by her insurance and that she will be considered private pay. I was given a form to sign on her behalf (I am her POA though she is competent so she could have signed it herself) indicating that we acknowledged that her care is no longer covered. I foolishly signed it and am now thinking that I have signed to be the person responsible for payment of her bills. We are in the process of applying for Medicaid. I plan to go by the nursing home to discuss this as I cannot believe I was so naïve and foolish. Would anyone know if I will be held responsible for payment of her care? I did not get a copy of what I signed...another foolish move on my part and will request it tomorrow. I am beside myself with worry. I have read that the Nursing Home Reform Law prohibits guaranteed payment from anyone other than the resident. I have also contacted my lawyer. Any help is appreciated.

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Thank you for the update! The paperwork can be really nerve-wracking. I'm so glad things got straightened out!
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Thank you for all your responses. Turns out I worried for nothing (something I am famous for). The form just indicated the day that my mother's healthcare coverage was to end and that she had the right to appeal the decision. There was no mention of financial responsibility on it. What was concerning to me was that the bill my mother received in the mail had my name on it in addition to hers. I clarified this with the nursing home on Monday. They have since reprinted the bill listing only my mother's name as the responsible party not mine. As I am sure many of you know, the stress of this ordeal has been overwhelming. Unfortunately, I created unnecessary worry for myself. Once again, thank you.
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What exactly was the form for? What did it say? No, by law as a POA you are NOT liable to pay for your mother. I believe you signed for her, in other words as if she was reading it. Try to get copy of the form and see what it says. If she has money, then she will have to come up with some money. If she does not, then she must apply for Medicaid. But rest in peace, YOU are not liable for our mother's care - she is.
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Medicare only covers 20 days at a nursing home in the state of Massachusetts. I know that because my late mother was in a Massachusetts nursing home. Day number 21, I had to pull out of my MOTHER'S CHECKING/SAVINGS ACCOUNT THE PAYMENT, NEVER MY OWN!! You will use her money to pay for the rest of the nursing home stay. For my mother, that was $410 per day so it adds up very quickly.
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Don't be so hard on yourself, the number of things you suddenly have to remember and keep track of on top of the stress at times like this is just criminal and the fact you had the wherewithal to think about it so quickly after the fact and are proactively doing something makes you quite something. She is lucky to have someone so capable looking after her. Now the NH should have handled this much better in my opinion. First they should have provided you with a copy, asked or not. They also should have explained it to you better but I am fairly certain signing a form with her name on it as her POA only binds her not you personally. It's not like a minor who you have a legal responsibility to support. I'm also curious and a bit disturbed that they wouldn't have come to you earlier to warn you that her benefits were running out and you would be asked to sign something like this for her to stay when they did run out along with making suggestions about what you could do proactively to not get caught by this so she wouldn't have to pay out of pocket. Unless of course that's part of the plan, have her run out of money so she can get Medicaid or some other help or this form is just in case and her benefits haven't actually run out yet. Anyway I hope this wasn't all a surprise and you know what's happening, what your options are and have figured out what your next step is. Good luck, she is lucky to have you.
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First, congratulations for checking in with your lawyer. I hope he/she is specialized in Elder Law.

When we applied for Medicaid, we applied under the title "Medicaid Pending." This is important (check with lawyer) as once you have that identification, most facilities will allow your loved one to stay without cash being laid out (unless you have an agreement that part of the Social Security income would be given to the facility, so you keep paying that part for your loved one).

The facilities know that Medicaid will reimburse them the funds owed when approval has been granted. All facilities are a business, so they only need certainty that they will get refunded down the line.

Again, do this with an Elder Lawyer as they have specific ways to approach Medicaid which will speed approval for you. It only took us 8 weeks after application to be approved, yet I have heard of cases that do not get resolved for many months when the application was done without the support of an EL.

If the application been submitted already, not via an Elder Lawyer, take your case number and have him/her follow up. Well worth the cost.
Good luck!
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You very well could be liable. Anytime you are signing for your loved one always sign your name plus AGENT after your name. I also found this out the hard way. Good luck to all of you.
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As POA, you are not responsible to pay your Mom's bills, only the handling of HER money and decision-making, IF she is incompetent. Take a deep breath, get a copy of the paper you signed and show it to your lawyer, who will clarify and straighten this out for you. You cannot be forced to pay your Mom's bills. If she has run out of funds, or will soon, the nursing home should be able to apply for Medicaid for you. Again, let your lawyer calm your fears.
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Thank you all very much for your responses. This has been such a stressful time in my life and to say that I am frazzled is an understatement therefore I am trying hard to forgive myself for not being as efficient as I usually am. I appreciate all your responses.
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for future, get in the habit of signing your name with POA after your name. Then there will be no confusion that you are signing as POA on her behalf.
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Don't chastise yourself. I did the same thing when my father was hospitalized after his first leg fracture. I was so frazzled from trying to find a good rehab facility that I didn't even think to add the DPOA qualifier after my name.

And you are entitled to copies of whatever you signed. The next to the last rehab stint raised that issue when I asked the admissions director when she would be making copies for me of the dox Dad had signed. I was told by her (a young thing) and the then DON that they weren't obligated to provide copies.

I suggested something to the effect of looking up the federal statute obligating provision of copies of anything someone executed and they backed down.

I thought perhaps it was another example of the trend I've seen at that facility - young people with little real world knowledge, and especially of the legal issues surrounding execution of documents.

Since then, someone else has taken over. I think some of those Admission Directors only last less than a year because every year it's been someone different.
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Don't feel bad about just asking the office for a copy now. Usually those forms say that the resident or the POA will make sure that the payments are made via the resident's assets. Most likely that is all you signed.
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