Am I Responsible for My Mother's Nursing Home Bills After Signing an Admission Form?

Question:

My mother’s nursing home asked me to sign an admission form before admitting her. Am I responsible for the bills now?

Answer:

Both Federal and Illinois nursing home regulations clearly state that a nursing home may not require a 3rd party to sign and accept responsibility for payment of a residents bills. If you signed as a residents POA over finance of the resident the contract may require you to pay for the residents nursing home costs minus what her/his insurance covers, from the residents assets, but not your own. However, unless the contract clearly states that the facility is requiring a 3rd party to be responsible for all nursing home costs and the 3rd party signs the contract, some courts may uphold the contract. I strongly advise you have an attorney review the contract before signing it. You should also be alert to any language in the contract which uses the term “waiver” or “arbitration” these are terms used to protect the nursing home from lawsuits and in fact if signed will in most cases disallow a lawsuit to be filed in Court for negligence or abuse of the resident.