Do's and Don'ts - Nursing Home Contracts

THE DO's

DO make sure that the agreement includes a clear statement of what services are included in the home's basic daily rate.

DO include a list of charges for any items not included in the basic daily rate.

DO include a notice of the right to apply for Medicare and/or Medicaid and the right to appeal those decisions.

DO make sure the home's "bedhold policy" is consistent with Medicare and Medicaid requirements.

DO make sure that the agreement provides that the resident can be forced to leave the home only if it is necessary for the resident's welfare, the resident's health has improved such that nursing home care is no longer required, the health or safety of other individuals is endangered, the resident unreasonably fails to pay, or the facility ceases to operate.

DO address how decisions will be made regarding moving the resident to a different room.

DO make sure your attorney reviews the contract before you or the resident signs it.

THE DON'Ts

DON'T sign the contract as a guarantor or responsible party unless you intend to pay for the resident's care.

DON'T agree to a limitation on the home's liability in the event the resident is injured.

DON'T agree to a limitation on the home's liability for the resident's personal property.

DON'T include a provision requiring the resident to deposit all income directly into an account controlled by the nursing home.

DON'T agree to a requirement of private-pay status or other up-front money if a resident is eligible for Medicaid.

DON'T allow a clause restricting visiting hours.

DON'T include a provision requiring the applicant to consent to medical procedures, have a living will, or have a health care power of attorney.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified elder law attorney to help you and loved ones plan care and address problems.

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