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My 94 year mother is in an assisted living facility and I just got the bill for a shocking $700 per month increase starting May 1. This is a 19% increase. How can I argue with them? I know that they are doing more work taking temperatures and swabs of each resident daily I believe, delivering meals to each resident to prevent communal dining, but is this reasonable? Have their costs gone up 19%? Has anyone else had a similar experience? Maybe someone who works inside an assisted living facility?

Sounds like a Bait and Switch sales technique. Bring that up during the conference; it's worth a shot. It's an unethical sales technique that involves attracting a sale at one price, then quickly increasing the price or changing the product dramatically. Think about used cars and appliance "sales". That's kind of what it sounds like. Also, they might be leveraging your interest in staying due to the outbreak at this time; you could call their bluff and tell them you are ready to move her if the rate is increased that much. You can't afford that much of an increase with so little notice. I bet you can at least find some middle ground with them; perhaps agree at the last minute to a maximum 350/month increase, but don't immediately give in at the early stages of negotiation.
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Reply to gemswinner12
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Neverending Apr 7, 2020
It is definitely an unethical sales technique.  In fact, at the beginning, as an incentive they told me that after Dec. 31, 2019, there would be $1000/month increase.  That is why I took Mom in on Dec. 31, 2019. 
The increased rent is effective on May 1, which is 30 days, however, I have to sign the papers within 10 days.
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May I ask where this is at? They may be having to pay hazard pay? Is this a temporary or a permanent raise. Have they made this a raise in level of care, or in room rates due to cleaning. I know that their cleaning costs and their costs for food and delivery is likely up, but this is an enormous raise. Have you looked at the things you signed when she entered? At my bro's facility it says may be raised 3% to 5% a year, and I am certain we will see the 5%. Have you spoken to them. I think many will be taking seniors home simply because they are afraid to leave them in care, but wow. Where is Mom's facility located, and if not too intrusive, what were her rates before this happened and is this a raise for ALL residents with the explanation it is due to covid? You may be the canary in the coalmine to warn some of us? I am certain many seniors could not afford this raise.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Neverending Apr 7, 2020
It is located in Wickliffe, OH. I believe there is some basic increase to all residents, but I have no way of knowing how much.  $300/month increase is due to an increase in level of care for my Mom, however, the executive director told me the other $400/month was a "billing error".  I do not believe they could make such a huge billing error.  Of course their letter makes no mention of the Corona virus, when we all know that that is exactly what it is - totally opportunistic,exploitative  price gouging.  They know they got you.
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I'd call that a price gouge, if USA, report them to the State Attorney General & DOI.
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Reply to Jimbo99
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I would call the director of the facility and demand that they freeze any price hikes or you will be calling your local news station.  That is criminal and I am pretty sure they have to give you a certain amount of notice before they have an increase. 

They know folks are stuck right now....we can't get into the facilities to handle the tasks that we once did for our family member and we can't move them anywhere.  If they have increased expenses, they need to get on board with the other businesses and take advantage of some of the bail outs the government is offering.

I know my mom doesn't have an extra $700 per month.  What are they going to do if your mom doesn't have an extra $700 a month....kick her out?
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Reply to Jamesj
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I wonder how the meeting went. I’d suggest checking with the long term care ombudsman. They may also know of low or no cost legal services in your area. 10 days notice of an increase sounds like not enough. Typically it would be 30 or 60 days prior to the change. This is a good reason to have a contract.
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Reply to Juaticedog
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Are you sure that's a rent increase and not a "Level of Care" increase (in our area, $700 is roughly the increment between care levels)?

Unrelated to the pandemic, has your mom started needing more care? That's something that is tracked and evaluated usually monthly.
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Reply to IsntEasy
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Price gouging during a state or federal emergency is a crime. Do the following:
1) Gather records of previous bills.
2) Simply request an itemized bill for the month (s) with the increase, including how you were notified of the increase.
3) Contact your State Attorney General's Office and file a complaint for price gouging. Keep extra copies & originals of all documents. Send copies.
4) At any opportunity, find out if others received Notices of the increase & how much. Are they only charging Self-pay or those with Private Long Term Care the huge increase. Are they charging Medicare? Medicaid?
5) Inform your local State Representatives! Even a personal letter to your Governor.
-- If they are one of the few who dragged their feet on requiring rigorous protections be put in place -- then it will be harder, but you could save lives. Also then the actions they took were pragmatic & needed, but technically optional.
6) Befriend a local or major news reporter. Develope a relationship of trust. You need to file charges and allow an investigation before it comes out in the press. But if you don't hear back in a reasonable time...people are down staffed & working from home. Go public!

It sounds like the extra charge is for basic daily/monthly rate. While they may have extra costs, like PPEs, they should have been using more of them already each Flu 😷 Season. Did they charge extra if a patient was immune comprised... because they should have used extra protection to protect that patient & prevent cross contamination.

Information is gold here! Is the total bill went up for specialized individual care, like extra resperitory therapy, that is allowed. Charging extra cause meals have to be delivered to the room due to CDC or State Requirements...not allowed!

Extra cleaning costs, not allowed! Besides with dining room closed, they are not sanitizing those tables daily.

If they are being price gouged by providers of PPEs or other essential supplies. Then it is their responsibility to file charges with the State Attorney General..not charge patients.

An analogy:
If someone stole there computers, wheelchairs, transfer equipment, and expensive PT equipment, then poured paint of urine on walls & floors it would be costly immediate expense. A criminal offence. A necessity of operations to clean, sanitize & replace immediately.

It would be a crisis for them. It would not be cause for raising standard rate of care!
Also, if they are only charging Self-pay patients for expenses provided to all, talk to an ACLU or private Attorney for Elderly Services. Ask them about pros & cons of going public. Best to have info from other families in any case!

Glad you brought this to everyone's attention! I pray your LO will be safe.
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Reply to GraceNBCC
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Savannagh Apr 7, 2020
Excellent advice!
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What reason does the ALF give for the 19% increase?

I think you'll probably find that most of the increase was decided on several months ago. Did you receive no advance notice of it?

How long has your mother been resident there, and what does it say about rent increases in her contract?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Neverending Apr 4, 2020
I am having a phone conference call with the director and head of nursing on Monday.  They did switch her level of care from a B to a C.  A level jump is $300 more, so where is the other $400?  There was no advance notice.  They only give you 10 days to sign the papers.  My Mom has been there 3 months and there is no contract.  I can take her out any time, but of course I am not going to do that.  The current rent is $3700 per month which I know is a good rate, not too high.
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Contact the Ombudsman's office in your area. If you get nowhere with that, contact the Attorney General's office for your state. That seems like a sort of gouging to me...at this particular time.
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Reply to my2cents
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Nncbb57 Apr 7, 2020
I agree completely!
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Great answers here already.

I noticed your reply to Countrymouse: '..they only give you 10 days to sign the papers.';  '..she's been there 3 months; there is no contract; and you can take her out any time.'  This may be a blessing in disguise or a hidden downfall by not having a signed lease.

Others may disagree, but if you don't sign any lease for her apartment for the price agreed to, you risk not being protected from outrageous gouging or worse, unwarranted eviction.  They can still go up on care needs if those increased significantly, but only with proper notice, and in line with the signed agreement between you and them.  I'd get all in writing, a lease for protection for the base rent and 'extra care charges,' with all charges and care levels outlined specifically.
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Reply to lilhelp
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Neverending Apr 7, 2020
There is no contract, no signed agreement. I have asked in writing for a description of the extra services, they would only tell me over the phone.
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