Should You Sign This Nursing Home Agreement? Part 2

Today we continue our exploration of some of the potential traps for the unwary in the admission paperwork that Lawrence Street Health Care Center might ask you to sign if you have a loved one that needs nursing home care in their facility. If you missed the first part of this article you can find it here.

We will pick up with page 12 of the nursing home admission contract, section F “RESIDENT/GUARANTOR RESPONSIBILITIES.” Since your personal guarantee to pay for all of the care related charges is not enough, now they are telling you to pay for all the costs of collecting those charges, including legal fees. So the size of your personal financial guarantee just got bigger, did you notice?

The exact language they use to describe the Guarantor’s responsibilities is “paying all costs, expenses, and a reasonable attorney’s fee […] in the collection of any and all sums due and owing by the Resident […].”

And lastly we get to page 15 in section H “OBLIGATIONS OF LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE.” Here they write “unless noted otherwise, the Legal Representative has signed this contract as Guarantor. Therefore, the Legal Representative will incur personal financial liability if the Resident fails to pay for the services provided at this Center.”

Do you see what they did there? They shifted the burden to you to document that you are not signing the contract as Guarantor rather than them having to document that you are signing the contract as Guarantor. I wager the great majority of people asked to sign on a line that indicated they were only signing as Legal Representative would never imagine they were also making a personal financial guarantee, but in this case that is how this Lawrence Street Health Care Center nursing home admission contract is set-up against you.

So there you have it, some pretty tricky and dangerous provisions in the admission paperwork for Lawrence Street Health Care Center in Tomball. I do not mean to single them out or embarrass them but I have to believe that they stand proudly behind the document they are putting in front of you to sign or they wouldn’t be asking you to sign it.

They are not the only Houston area nursing home putting these kinds of provisions in their paperwork and I will be writing about others in the future, but somebody had to go first. And the way I see it, if Lawrence Street Health Care Center is embarrassed or sensitive about me pointing out to you the issues with certain parts of their contract then maybe they shouldn’t have it in there and maybe they should be a lot more candid with you when they ask you to sign it.

That is  just my opinion, what do you think?