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Q
What "Loop-Holes" Should I Look for When Signing a Contract?

A

Signing a nursing home agreement contract is not something that should be taken lightly. Be careful to read the entire contract and/or have an attorney look over it. Here are a few "loopholes" the nursing home may place in the contract to protect themselves:

Responsible Party Agreement

If a contract has a responsible party agreement, do not sign the contract. Nursing homes are not allowed to take money for bills from third parties, however, this agreement will require you to pay for the resident's bills.

The resident themselves should sign their contract. If they are not capable of doing so, you must sign as their agent. Failure to sign as their agent may result in piles of your loved one's nursing home bills that you will have to pay. Look over the contract for words such as "guarantor," "responsible party," and "financial agent." Be clear that you are not agreeing to pay for the resident's bills.

Arbitration Agreement

This agreement is not technically illegal, however, by signing a contract with this provision, you are giving up your rights to take any case to court. If you one day you have to sue the nursing home, you will not be allowed to take your case to court. It will have to be settled through arbitration, which is when a third party settles a dispute. If you do not want this provision, simply cross it out before signing.

Other Provisions

Nursing homes are not prohibited to:

  • Make the resident pay for the "private rate for a long period of time," nor can they make the resident confirm whether or not they have Medicaid or Medicare.
  • Evict patients for any other reason other than the fact the nursing home can no longer provide treatment, the resident's health has improved, the resident is dangerous to others, they have not paid, or the facility has stopped operating.
  • Waive responsibility for a resident's health or lost/stolen items.