Who is responsible for the nursing home bill?

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My mother was recovering in a nursing home from broken hip and decubitus ulcer that she sustained while living in an ALF. She recovered and moved into another ALF. One year later, we receive a bill from the nursing home where she was recovering, that she owed $9,500!! Apparently, she "used up" her Medicare days, and was self pay for one month, and we (me as POA, and my mother) were not informed. Had we been informed, we would have moved her into the ALF sooner. Meanwhile, she is now in another nursing home, and application for Medical Assistance is pending. I paid part of the old nursing home bill ($3,500 of the $9,500), but she does not have any more funds to pay the remainder of the bill. I've been receiving bills from collections, which I sent to the Department of Social Services to report "unpaid medical bills" for the process of getting Medical Assistance. Meanwhile, the nursing home is taking my mother to court, and we have a hearing on March 24. Do I have any grounds for defending our position that we were not informed that she used up her Medicare days nearly two years ago in this former nursing home; and she has depleted all of her resources and is Medical Assistance pending? Am I personally responsible for paying the balance on this nursing home bill? I cannot afford an attorney to represent her at this point, because she is below the $2,500 allowed by Medical Assistance. I am burned out completely by this situation. All I want to do is take care of my mother.

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taheger -?'s for you?
- for the admissions paperwork for the NH did you sign off with your name or sign specifically something like  "Jane Smith Jones as DPOA for Mary Smith" or "Jane Jones in her capacity as POA for Mary Smith"  
- for the lawsuit are both you and your mom named in it? or you as DPOA for your mom or some other way?
- your mom is pretty well judgement proof, are you as well? Like do you have income that could be attached or are you & your hubs retired on SS and retirement income?
- you & mom both in the same state ?
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BTW, my mother lived with me for nearly 3 years before her health became too poor for me to care for her (along with in-home aides).
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Yes, I signed as POA for my mother. Yes, I live in the States (Maryland) and I am requesting Medical Assistance pick up the tab (they would have needed to do so anyway, even if I had paid the $9,500 and just moved mom out of the ALF a few months early. It is complicated, and I am just trying to stay calm and take one day at a time. However, I can really understand why older folks facing nursing homes (or are already in nursing homes) commit suicide rather than have to deal with being poor and sick, unable to care for themselves, and lack control over their destiny. My parents had some resources, more than most people, and spending $8,000 per month for their care (my stepfather was in a nursing home, too, for several months before he died), and now my mother...she is bedridden with some dementia from a stroke (brain aneurysm) several years ago. No quality of life...and completely dependent on others.
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It is so hard for us adult children to try to figure out the huge maze of elder care.  How many days here or there.   Who pays what for this or that.   Makes you want to run into the night screaming.

Too bad the nursing home didn't have a meeting with you about what will happen at the end of 21 days or 100 days [whatever the days are allowed] and how the payment would be met. 

You mention Medical Assistance. Are you in the States? If yes, is this Medicaid? Wonder if Medicaid would help out with the nursing home payment, it would be worth checking.

As for you being responsible for payment, it depends on if your Mom signed the nursing home admission papers, or if you signed the admissions papers.  Hopefully if you needed to sign, you signed "tahager, POA for Mom's name". 
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