Nursing Home Contacts
The nursing home contact you are being asked to sign is scary. It is a largely one-sided contract prepared by the nursing home’s lawyers who spent many hours drafting it to favor their client, the nursing home. It is appropriate that you have Attorney Gerhard review the contract before signing it.
Federal law prohibits nursing homes from requiring a third-party guarantor as a condition of admission to a nursing home. However, the facilities are not prohibited from asking you to sign as a voluntary guarantor. A general rule to live by is to never sign anything as a guarantor. We recommend that our clients not serve as voluntary guarantors of the nursing home bill.
The contract probably also contains a provision regarding mandatory binding arbitration.This clause essentially prevents you from filing a lawsuit against them in court in the event of a personal injury action. The nursing home contracts often contain an opt out provision that allows you to get out of mandatory binding arbitration if written notice of your opt out is sent to a certain address within a certain period of time, normally 30 days. If you fail to opt out, then the mandatory binding arbitration clause becomes stronger and more likely to be enforced. We always recommend that our clients opt out of mandatory binding arbitration.
These are two examples of nursing home contract provisions that merit special attention. Before signing a nursing home contract, have it reviewed by an elder law attorney.