Nursing Home Resident Trust Funds: Facts and Relevant News

What is a Nursing Home Resident Trust Fund? – A Brief Overview

A nursing home “resident trust fund” is an optional account that consists of the resident’s money. This account is managed by the nursing home on behalf of the resident and is used for expenditures.
It is important to note that this trust account is optional and that money can still be managed seperatly from the nursing home and that an incoming resident is not required to set up a resident trust fund with a nursing home. If it is desired that the nursing home manages the money of the resident, it is imperative that all necessary information is carefully reviewed to ensure that the nursing home is correctly manging the money according to applicable federal laws and state laws.

USA TODAY Investigation: Five tips to protect money in nursing home trust funds

A USA TODAY investigation has determined that there have been instances where money kept in nursing home trust accounts has been improperly managed in the past. It has also been reported that in some of these cases money was accessed by unauthorized persons and in some cases acutal money was stolen from these supposedly secure accounts. To better protect assets in a nursing home resident trust account, below are a few important suggestions (from USA TODAY) on how to make sure that the money is being properly managed:

  1. Watch quarterly statements: All nursing home residents who keep money in a trust fund maintained by the facility should get quarterly statements. Read the statements and watch for unexpected or unexplained charges.
  2. Ask how funds are managed: Find out if the nursing home performs audits on resident trust funds. If so, ask how often and whether the audits are available to patients and their family or guardians.
  3. Check the nursing home’s record: See if state or federal regulators have cited the facility for thefts or for mismanaging resident trust funds. “Deficiencies” can include failing to provide account statements, not paying interest, or not insuring the funds.
  4. Ask the resident to check all expenditures listed on the trust fund statements, and make sure he or she can access money whenever needed.
  5. Check for interest: Residents’ funds are supposed to be held in interest-bearing accounts. Check quarterly statements to be sure interest is being paid.

Read the full article here.

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associate’s Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

Horwitz nursing home abuse and neglect attorney states, “In Illinois, Nursing Home residents are allowed to maintain a “Resident Trust Account” that can be used by the resident to purchase items as needed. The resident who is on Medicaid is allowed to keep $30.00 per month and there is no limit to how much can be in a residents trust account. When a resident is discharged from the facility, the facility must return the remaining money from the residents trust account to them or their responsible party or POA within 30-days. The facility must provide the resident and/or POA a monthly accounting of the account and as this article rightly points out it’s very important for families to ensure the resident’s account accurately reflects the monthly balance. Many residents are targets by some unscrupulous employees who may ask them to lend them money from their trust account, and I’ve also seen instances where facilities were cited by the State for combining one resident trust account funds with non-resident trust fund accounts.”