My mother has no assets and we are at our limit after 2 yrs of living with her. If she can get into supportive assisted living (Medicaid pays for it in Illinois but she says no) or later a nursing home, will the state send us a bill for what they spent under filial responsibility laws. I heard Pennsylvania sues the kids for their own money even if the parent never gave them any of theirs.
Filial responsilbility is based on old English law. The older states in the US still often have statutes on the books that are a hold-over from their colonial past and based on old English law. Several states have filial on the books but PA seems to be the only one that allows for a creditor to take this approach.
I'm in Louisiana and we are French law based and to this day, there are certain things especially related to probate, that are only done in Louisiana because it is French law based. Now as it just so happens, HCRA was sued by the National Labor Relations Board in Louisiana for a series of wrongful termination of nurses at their HCRA Louisiana NH's. I know someone who worked in the ALJ office when this happened - it was a big deal case. HCRA seems to be the type of company who is not adverse to going to court.
What you are referring to for PA is the HCRA vs. Pittas case. The state of PA did not sue Pittas, it was Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America (HCRA) - which owned the faciliiy - that sued a son for 93K in charges that his mom was billed for and did not paid. HCRA is aka HCR Manor Care. The mom, I believe, was not the typical aged elder with dementia goes into a NH situation but she went into the facility for a 6 month rehab after an auto accident. Now I'm remembering that one big issue with Pittas was that the mom got better and discharged from the NH and then she moved back to Greece. So the facility couldn't go after her as she was no longer in the US. She had moved back to a foreign country.
If she was a Greek citizen, maybe she wasn't even qualified to get Medicare or Medicaid or there was a citizenship issue with her Medicaid so that the state would never pay for her care by the Medicaid program or maybe she entered the facility as totally private pay other issues but she was not here (in the US) to respond to any of this. Federal law prohibits a facility from demanding a 3rd party guarantee if they are on a federal program (like Medicare) but if momma wasn't on Medicare or Medicaid because she couldn't qualify, then the facility can. I bet that was a big factor in why the court ruled for HCRA.
HCRA is huge, has more than 500 facilities in the US. Under Wiki it shows:
facilities are under the names: Heartland, ManorCare & Arden Courts. In 2006 earned $ 167 million on sales of $ 3.6 billion. It is a privately held corporation.
They are huge, they have full court press legal if need be. Most NH don't have the wherewithal to go the long legal route to get a judgement.