Can nursing home require payment from non-POA family member of deceased resident?

Follow
Share

just because they signed the move-in agreement? I am the sister of a deceased nursing home medicaid patient who is being sued on behalf of the Nursing Home for fees of an unknown origin. I signed the move-in agreement as directed by nursing home staff. Six months after his death I received a letter from a collection agency that I was being sued for almost $6000. There is no indication of what this fee is for and no one in our family has ever received bills from the nursing home. I am now being sued by the nursing home. I am not and never represented myself as his legal representative....our sister has been his POA for over 20 years. The move-in agreement states that signing the form does not hold me responsible for the bill. Should I worry about them winning this case in court?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
8

Answers

Show:
Churchmouse, we never had any idea of any unpaid balance until 6 months after his death. No bills from the nursing home and no mention of it right after his death. The only notification I got was at the end of the year of his death from a collection agency. There were no details of what the bill was for or dates....nothing! My sister contacted Medicaid and was told that there were several claims for my brother that needed to be corrected are resubmitted but never were. The nursing home would not give any information because it was turned over to collection. There is not signed paperwork signed by any member of my family guaranteeing payment.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

katiekate, read the court documents for HCR v Pittas. The facility originally sued all the children, but it became apparent in testimony that only John Pittas had control of her assets. The judge in the case was not happy that Mr. Pittas was not forthcoming with information about her assets and answered only in general terms. Adding to that, he was the one who signed her in to the facility.
The court awarded a judgment of $93,000 to HCR, forcing Mr. Pittas to pay up and released the other siblings.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

KatieKate, John Pittas is a rich man. The only reason he had no contact with his elderly mother was that she scarpered off back to Greece, cheerfully leaving her bill unpaid. You are of course right, and I do understand that there is a ?growing list of States with filial responsibility laws (your link provides a good clear one); but average families with average means are not going to find themselves in the frame. Or not until governments get even more strapped for cash than they currently are, anyway.

Bbolka, do precisely as Pam Stegman says. Once you have done that, and have it in writing that you are not responsible for this debt, and have received an apology and redress (as appropriate) for the harassment you have undergone...

Do you, confidentially, believe that there are in fact unpaid invoices for services rendered to your brother? Have you spoken to the Nursing Home and asked them what is going on with this outstanding $6,000? Have you spoken to the sister who had Power of Attorney for your brother and asked her about it?

I would not - ha! Oh BOY I would not! - feel a waft of obligation to care for my brother. But if I became aware that a deceased member of my family had a bona fide creditor, I would want to see the debt cleared up, one way or another.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Are your in PA? Recent State Supreme Court decision makes adult children responsible to take financial care of their parents. Recent case of a man who had no contact with his elderly Mom..yet held responsible for her $60k bill. Several other states have this same law on the books.....check out this link... (forbes)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If they can't produce this agreement with your signature stating you would be responsible or something similar,then they're out of luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You need the original admission move in papers to check to make sure your signature and/or initials are not in the part where you assume responsibility to pay. All this should have been explained to you by admissions when you signed the paper.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Bolka,

When you got the letter from the collection agency, did you respond in writing w/i the 30 day period advising them that this debt was not your obligation? If not, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the collection agency could legally assume that you weren't challenging the debt.

Have you filed an answer? Lawsuits typically require answers to the complaint to be filed w/i a certain number of days. If you don't file an answer w/i that time limit, or in writing request an extension (say of 30 days), you can be subject to a default judgment. That's a lot harder to challenge, or in legal terms, "set aside" as you'd then have to file a motion to set aside the default judgment.

I'm not trying to scare you, but this is serious stuff!

Follow Pam's advice, but also get an attorney ASAP. Battling with collection attorneys is like navigating a pond full of hungry alligators. These attorneys have no scruples, and are vicious.

When you do get an attorney or file an answer, specifically cite the provision from the agreement that states you are not liable for the debt. And ask the attorney about countersuing for emotional distress. The suit may not go that far, but countersuing reflects that you're not going to let the nursing home's attorneys walk all over you and intimidate you.

And in addition to contacting your state's attorney general, you can contact the AG of the state in which the collection agency is incorproated; same with the nursing home. Some nursing homes are part of larger chains, so you might have to do some digging to find the state of incorporation; same with the collection agencies.

Good luck; my blood boils when I read about these kinds of abuses. Please let us know how this works out, and post again if you have further questions.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Never sign for someone unless you intend to pay the bill. Demand proof that you actually signed a responsibility document. If they can't find that, report them to your state attorney general for illegal collection activity.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.