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Do’s and Don’ts of Nursing Home Contracts

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Placing a loved one in a health care facility or nursing home is a difficult situation for families.

As you register with such a facility, you will be asked to sign a legal contract. Both the resident and their families need to understand any contracts completely before signing. It is best to have all paperwork looked over by an experienced elder law attorney first, but the following are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to nursing home contracts.

Nursing Home Contract Do’s

Nursing home contracts need to have a very clear statement describing which services are a part of the facility’s daily basic rate. Be sure this is included within the contract.

In addition to the basic rate, be sure to include a complete list of charges for any items that are not a part of the basic rate.

Include a statement describing the right of the resident to apply for Medicare, Medicaid, or both. It also needs to state its right to appeal these decisions.

The facility’s “bedhold policy” needs to be consistent with the requirements of Medicaid and Medicare.

Make sure nursing home contracts provide that a resident can only be forced out of the home for the following reasons.

  • It is necessary for the person’s welfare.
  • Their health has improved to the point that they no longer need the care provided by the facility.
  • The safety or health of other residents is endangered.
  • The individual fails to pay.
  • The facility closes.

The contract needs to address exactly how a decision is to be made on moving residents from one room to another.

Nursing Home Contract Don’ts

Do not sign the contract as a responsible party or guarantor if you do not intend to take on the payments for the care of the resident. By doing so, you can be agreeing to make any payments the resident cannot.

Be sure you do not agree to any limitations when it comes to the facility’s liability in the case of an injury to the resident. You don’t want to give up your rights in these situations.

Do not agree to any limitations on the facility’s liability when it comes to the individual’s personal belongings.

Do not have any provisions where the resident is required to place all of their income into an account that is controlled by the facility. Residents should be allowed to continue having their own accounts and be in control of their own money.

Do not agree to any requirements for a private-pay status or any other up-front payments if the individual is eligible for help from Medicaid. An elder law attorney who is experienced in Medicaid planning can help determine this.

Do not agree to any clauses on restricted visiting hours. Friends and family should be able to see their loved ones at any time, night or day.

Do not include provisions that require the resident to consent to have a living will, consent to medical procedures, or consent to having a health care power of attorney.

Have questions or need assistance with a nursing home contract? Get help from an experienced Houston elder law attorney today.

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