ABC News: Regulators try to stop unlawful nursing home debt collection (September 8, 2022)
WASHINGTON — Nursing homes and debt collectors are flouting a law that prohibits them from requiring friends and family of care home residents to shoulder the costs of the facilities, according to a federal report issued Thursday.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said friends and family members have had to declare bankruptcy, had their wages garnished and their homes repossessed after signing unenforceable contracts called “admission agreements” with nursing facilities. As a result, they have been held liable as third parties for their loved ones’ nursing home stays.
The Nursing Home Reform Act prevents facilities “from requiring a person other than the resident to assume personal responsibility for any cost of the resident’s care.”
But why that seems to happen so often is due in part to lax government enforcement, said Eric Carlson, a lawyer at Justice in Aging. Carlson said during the hearing that agencies in charge of oversight rarely cite and fine companies that require third parties to sign admission agreements.