There was a court case decided in Connecticut back in 2011 that is instructive to anyone who is arranging for a parent to enter a nursing home.
The case that we are referring to is that of Cook Willow Health Center v. Judy Andrien. In this case Ms. Andrien arranged for her mother to enter Cook Willow Health Center, which is a nursing home.
There is a law on the books that prohibits nursing homes from requiring that a third-party guarantee payment before allowing the patient to enter the facility.
Judy Andrien did however fill out paperwork, and there was an agreement that she signed promising to take certain steps to ensure that either Medicaid pay for the care or that her mother’s personal assets would be utilized if this became necessary.
As time went on an outstanding balance accumulated and the nursing home contended that Ms. Andrien did not follow through on the steps that she agreed to take when she entered into the contract.
The defense that was presented by Ms. Andrien was that she cannot be required to guarantee payment by virtue of the aforementioned law.
However, the court saw things a different way. They found in favor of the nursing home because the agreement was not something that was mandatory. It was not presented as a condition that had to be met before the patient would be admitted to the nursing home.
The thing to take away from this is that it is always a good idea to consult with a good elder law attorney before you enter into agreements that you may not fully understand. Given the fact that nursing home costs are exorbitant these days a single mistake can be a costly one.